Last week, Lyn and I had a crisis of sorts. Really, it was just a late-night breakdown in which we grappled with the difficulties facing us as we deal with having a new baby. My big revelation came when we were talking about the long list of things I have on my plate and Lyn told me that she wanted me to put baby Ira at the top of the list. I realized that instead of being at the top, he was probably fourth, after taking care of Leigh, taking care of Lyn, and taking care of the house. Not good.

So I decided to put Ira first instead of fourth. But I also realized why and how he had dropped so far down on the list. Back when Leigh was a newborn and I was the gestational parent, I didn’t have a choice. When Leigh was little, I got enough time during nursing (which Leigh wanted to do 24 hours a day) to solidify my bond with her. I never had to choose to spend time with her. In fact, it was best for our family if I left much of the non-nursing time available for Lyn to wear her and snuggle with her so that she could develop a bond.

As an non-gestational parent, I’m required to do exactly the opposite. I must choose to spend time with Ira in order to bond with him. This isn’t actually something I’m good with. Time with a baby is too unproductive for my tastes. I’d rather be making some sort of progress around the house or feel useful to the family in some other way. Time with a baby is just time sitting around being useless. I felt this same way when Leigh was a little baby, but I didn’t have a choice then. I had to be with her, and thus I came to love being with her. I am having trouble choosing to spend time with Ira.

This week has been much better. I’ve decided to put him first and it’s making a difference. When he fusses, I go to him instead of assuming that Lyn will take care of him.  Once he’s happy, I take time just to hold him, or sometimes feed him.  I’m hanging out with him more and falling in love with him more. As a result, I’m less available for our daughter Leigh, but Lyn is more available, which is helping their relationship, which did take a bit of a hit during late pregnancy and the first weeks of Ira’s life.  A lot of the pressures that we anticipated dividing our family are very real. Being an NGP is harder than I expected, even with all of my advanced preparation. But this week I feel like I’m starting to hit my stride.

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