3 months of fatherhood in 5 minutes

This week, my son Grant turned three months old. And we’re finally starting to get some sleep. The early days of having a newborn are well in the rear view, and now Sarah and I are trying to get used to balancing work and day care, while making sure the little guy also gets into a routine.

As we head into the holidays and the New Year, we are thankful that our 3-month-old boy is doing everything he should be at this point — not to mention a few things he isn’t supposed to do for another month or two.

At about 26 inches long, he’s a tall and skinny but sturdy little boy. He’s dangerously close to outgrowing his car seat, and he’s fitting neatly into clothing supposedly designed for 6- and 9-month-olds. Though, as just about everyone tells us, “Well, he’s a Monke.” It doesn’t shock anyone that Grant is already well on his way to being a big guy in a family where the shortest man is 6-foot-1.

People who know us well and see Grant regularly describe him as an extraordinarily strong baby and say he holds his head up better than most babies. Seemingly from birth, Grant never struggled with this. Now that he’s getting a good chunk of tummy time, he’s only becoming stronger.

Grant has a smile that’ll warm your heart, and he’s discovering a laugh that already sounds a lot like his dad’s. Right now, his favorite activity is blowing raspberries, though he can sometimes get a little carried away. Blame me for introducing that act right at the onset of the mimicking stage.

Toys are just beginning to become a part of his world, and he has found a goofy little cow that he likes to clutch on to. That is when he isn’t holding on to his item of choice — his burp cloth. It’s not worth the noise to try and take one of those away when he has a grip on it.

Grant is just now starting to roll over on his own, so we still have some work to do there. That’s when he’s awake though. He has no problem rolling himself into a corner in his bassinet.

While Grant’s doing well, we’re still adjusting. Sarah recently went back to work, and it was a painful day to say the least. This night owl, meanwhile, has rediscovered what it’s like to experience darkness before sunrise after having slept through the night.

Just a few years ago, I’d still be up when the sun was coming up.

Never in my life have I been awake this often and this early in the morning. It seems that one way or another, Grant’s body clock alerts him to force either Sarah or I out of bed around 4 a.m. for a diaper change and a bottle.

I’m not going to say it isn’t annoying, because it can be. I’m not one who can easily jump out of a deep sleep, but I do what billions of other parents before me have done — change a diaper and make a bottle while half-asleep, hope that we get through the routine without any hiccups (figuratively and literally) and rock our little guy back to sleep.

I’ve found one of the best moments of fatherhood so far is the short time after when he’s done with his early morning feeding and is drifting off to sleep.

There’s nothing quite like Grant sinking into me, his head nuzzling into my neck and his little body splayed out across my chest for a back-to-sleep cuddle. Typically, however, as we’re doing that, there’s a puppy dog quietly looking for attention not far from my recliner.

Some people ask us, “What does Noodle think of the new baby?” Though we’re still not quite sure, because he’s a relatively smart dog, we can see he understands his reign as baby of the house has come to an end. Still, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t like Grant.

Noodle will take any chance he can to lick his toes or face, and has already started trying to protect him.

They’ll both probably enjoy each other a lot more in a couple years. Until then, the dog will have to put up with far less attention than he grew up receiving.

As we venture forth into the winter, and enter the era of teething, crawling and solid foods — not to mention a much busier work schedule for both of us — we can only hope the next three months go as smooth as the last.

Author: Dustin Monke

Former newspaper editor. Now I market the best baked goods and donuts in America. But every once in a while, I write a cool story too.

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