It’s 12:34am. The baby screams. It’s not one of those “maybe he’ll get over it and go back to sleep” kind of cries. My wife rolls over, mumbles “siggh rohrt urghn [fart]” which i take to mean it’s my turn to manipulate, bargain and beg the midnight banshee back to slumber.
Every single time that it’s my turn to put the midnight baby back to sleep I moan and groan and hate it. Everything in my body and mind resounds with a single: “This is going to suck.”
I go to the crib, and pick him up Put-Down 2.0 style and start gently bouncing… I’m 45 seconds into it and my back already starts to hurt; light perspiration in my armpits.
I’m looking around the dark room at nothing in particular, whining petulantly in my mind, begging the poor sleepy child to give in, retreat, return to unconsciousness.
My eyes start to adjust to the faint glow of the hall light coming through the cracked door – enough that I chance a look at the quiet bundle I’ve been hefting about for what feels like hours…. I look down…
He’s looking right at me, directly into my face, not moving, not arching his back and barking, not flitting his head side to side, or any of that. Just perfectly, peacefully staring into my face.
I stare back. It’s lovely. I’m in the moment with my son. We’re having a moment! We’re just there together staring at each other… And I’m not even thinking about my back pain.
It’s simply amazing.
It’s a dad law and one of the prime lessons of early fatherhood: every time it’s my turn to coddle the midnight banshee I whine and moan and hate it in my heart, but in the end, after all is said and done, I end up glad to get to have this kind of moment with my son.