Thursday, July 21, 2016

Life of a Father Alone at Home on Paternity Leave with Baby - 3 months with Baby YC

What better way to celebrate your son's 3rd month than bringing him to ICA and collecting our passports (mine renewed; his new) together?

Taking Baby YC's passport photo was vastly challenging, and it is not just because I no longer have white walls (passport photos require a white background) at home. He had became a sinister to our phones. When the phone was on our hands, it meant reduced time on him, and he was definite that this is a zero-sum game.

Fortunately, we found a cupboard which was white. My wife held him to his upright sitting position, leaning on the cupboard, and used her hands to support his pendulating body. 

Lesson #1: Never use a lagging Samsung phone with limited storage space when your wife has an iPhone. But which I did. With each lag after each shot taken, it was frustrating. Lucky for me, out of the spam shots, there was a few to choose from.

Baby YC looked very stunned on one, and had a smirk on the other. We chose the latter. And that printed photo on the passport never failed to make my family laugh each time we look at it. The ICA Officer was also smiling when she checked out Baby YC's face with the passport photo.

Here's the contented YK Junior trying to beat my travel records. I am sure he will.

Baby YC has a passport!
Don't ask me where's the missing sock

In days leading to the 3rd month milestone, my wife had to return to work from her maternity leave for 3 weeks due to a major work event. My mother and I took turns to take leave to be home to tend to the little one. That is what Paternity Leave is for.

Taking the same bus to work together after a long long time

Spending an entire day with the little one exhausts me to the last bit of my battery. It also gave me a chance to experience for myself how my wife had to manage caring for our son single-handedly when the confinement nanny left.

The typical day usually starts on an exceptionally high note. Baby YC wakes up gleefully, giving us his best smiles and laughters almost every morning. It is like he had received his full dose of charging and he is ready for the day.

Sunbathing. Showering. Feeding. Nap.

And the window opens for me to clear as much work as possible on my laptop. If I am lucky, I have 1.5 hours to settle some of the urgent matters. If not, I will be pacing around the entire home with Baby YC in my arms until he falls into sleep. If I succeed in transferring him to the bed, hurray. Most of the time, Walk. Sleep. Repeat. Because my arm beats a Dunlopillo.

In fact, I think my walkabout had probably worn off a nanometre of flooring. And my right biceps are probably thicker than the left.

Give me my drumsticks! Nom nom nom...

If only milk bottles came in the form of a baby's fist. At first, Baby YC struggled to place his fist on his mouth. The fist would fly up, go one big round, and might miss the mouth. After a while, he mastered the skill. And there goes snacking on his favourite "drumsticks" (as my Mother coins them). The cutest thing is he also likes to share and feed his Father with these "drumsticks" when I'm near.

One day, few days after Baby YC turned 2 months of age, he started to pay attention and connect eyes-to-eyes with us. It is an amazing thing. He would look deep into us and send love straight into our souls.

The afternoon programme features Mozart music, storyreading, and talking. Baby YC has started to experiment his vocals, though I have given up after repeating "Papa" to him for the umpteenth time. He makes the sound that resembled "Uncle" (more like Angkor) and "Al Gore" (does he even know this is Election Year 2016?). He enjoys being talked to and reciprocates with blabbers (speeches). Children's books are getting more sophisticated. Some left me deep in reflection after reading them out to Baby YC. 

In this month, several unbearable news of bad things happening to other 3-month-old and 2-year-old bothered me, and I believe many parents. Shan't share the negativity. Thankfully, such news were balanced by postings shared in the U Circle of Dads Facebook group and other pages that were useful to pass time and for me to gather some inspiration and energy to sustain the day.

Baby YC dreads being ignored. Attempts to leave him in the bouncer so that I can read some emails failed when he realised someone is around but not talking to him. When I flashed out my phone for a quick check, he would be casting his pitiful eyes on the device. 

He dreads being placed on the mattress, but is surprisingly reasonable and accommodating if I were to rest beside him. He would keep kicking me, while staying peaceful, while I doze off for a while.

The maternal grandfather finally met Baby YC alongside his official visit to Singapore with his delegation. My sister-in-law had also just delivered to a second son. Excited to bring Baby YC to Vietnam to meet his cousins.

Although I often tell friends and colleagues, even my wife, that I so look forward to returning to work, some part of me want to be part of my son's growing up, every day and every moment. I was reminded, when I was lamenting the tireness to someone, that my son will be growing up very fast and this will be a phase of his growth that I will come to miss in due time. 

And indeed. It had been 3 months since I first saw my son.

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