New Dad

By Rick Benger

vignettes about fatherhood.
~ 8 emails per year.

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8

issues

#8・

Music

Music is a parent’s cure-all. I play music or sing or hum to entertain (him), engage (him), distract or sedate (us both).I cannot sing well so mostly I sing-talk. Lilting, running commentary like:This is a sockAnd this is a sockTwo socks, on your feet they go…

#7・

In His Dreams

He is one day old and asleep. His face is calm and healthy pink. Now REM-charged eyeballs pulse his eyelids and he frowns, his brow tensed, grown-up and troubled, now the tension releases quick as an archer’s bow and his mouth curls up, a little more on one s…

 
#6・

A Step-by-Step Guide to Calming a Fussy Baby

Insert milk.Not hungry? Sniff butt.Diaper smells fine? Change position. A baby’s digestive system is manual not automatic—often a simple tilt, shift, rub, or stretch will help the milk and air on their way.That made it worse? Ah ha, it must be air! Try your p…

#5・

More With Less

Our child is here and so is the life of more with less. More errands, necessity, urgency. More love required. Less time, energy, choice. Less control and space. Before our son was born I feared these conditions. Can I be and do more with less? went the worry.…

#4・

Getting Some Sleep

“I hope you’re getting some sleep” is the polite and expected thing to say to a new parent. It’s spoken as a sympathetic punchline. It’s “I hope you stay warm out there” chirped to someone who has to work all day in the snow, or “I hope you don’t stay too lat…

 
#3・

He Is Testing Me

It’s funny the first time. You’ve wiped and dried your baby and applied a soothing tea-tree oil spritz to their undercarriage. You say something cute like “there you go, nice and clean, little pudding”, as you unfold a crisp nappy. Baby wriggles and kicks off…

#2・

His Eyes Are Becoming

Nine days old and I still can’t tell the colour of his eyes.In his olive-green jumpsuit, they’re most certainly green.Sometimes I spot veins of caramel and gold—they’re hazel.When his mood turns his eyes are infinite black. They suck all light from the room.H…

#1・

He is Born

Compacted, pickled and purple, cradled by our doctor whom I’ve come to know by her lip-chewing, head-tilting inspections between each round of pushing, as though contemplating a chess board, as the Grandmaster.Our boy is trussed up in his cord. The Grandmaste…