When my to-do list became a coaster.

It took me a few months to realize that my to-do list had become a coaster. After my daughter was born I was a hopeful, green grasshopper. I believed that despite having an adorable, small human strapped to my body almost all the time, I’d still get shit done.

I am Bapa.

I went to a therapist to figure out what my kid should call me. I know what you’re thinking. How could it be that difficult? Aren’t there only the 2 choices: Mom and Dad? And they aren’t usually choices, but assigned titles you get based on your sex and parental status. For me, it didn’t feel so simple.

My parenting instincts never showed up.

When my child was born, I was certain my parental instinct would wake from whatever depths it had been lying latent. I had the impression that a parent’s intuition was all part of the parenting package deal. Surely mother nature has figured out how to provide us with the tools of the trade within our very own biology.

The exhausting vigilance of parenthood.

The entire first year of my daughter’s life, I watched. With all of my attention and energy, I watched. Even when I slept, I was still “on watch,” ready to wake and respond. The vigilance was constant. What appeared from the outside to be a peaceful, domestic scene in reality felt like a I was always standing guard. I had to make sure the baby stayed alive.

The poop, prose, and poetry of parenting.

There is this video my wife took of my daughter when she was a few weeks old. My wife is adoring our child with the camera. She’s recording all the minute changes of her facial expressions. How she so easily goes from a furrowed brow to a look of surprise. Her tiny coos. Her drool. My wife is wholly and obviously in love with her subject. And you can hear me in the background.

What's with all the gauzy, amber-tinted newborn photos?

A few hours after our daughter was born, a hospital photographer offered to come to our room to take photos of our newborn and us. My wife had just pushed a human through her vagina. We hadn’t slept in 32 hours, and wouldn’t sleep for another 10. So, sure, why not come to our darkened room where my wife is grabbing her boob and shoving it in my daughter’s mouth as my wife’s catheter bag mysteriously fills with yellow liquid and take pictures.

There was a chicken in the house when my wife went into labor.

There was a chicken in the house when my wife went into labor. An Araucana to be precise. We keep a wee flock of 6 chickens in our yard (less when there’s a hungry gray fox about). She had somehow cut the spot right above her beak and was bleeding profusely. I had brought her into the house to clean the wound when I heard it. It was the undeniable sound of someone experiencing holy-shit-it’s-time-to-go-to-the-hospital-contractions.

Hi. I'm a Monster Hugger.

I have learned one glorious and awful lesson since becoming a parent: it’s that a broken heart is beautiful. When a heart breaks it’s not falling apart. It’s breaking open. I believe being broken hearted is a natural state of human existence.