On January 28, 2014 my Life changed forever. My wife and I welcomed our son into the world. Here are my thoughts as I progress through fatherhood for the very first time.
Thursday January 7, 2015:
Reflections of a First Time Father, Part 16: “The Irrational Pursuit for Rationality.”
It’s been 4 months since I last did one of these. And with Milan turning 1 in just 3 weeks, I figured it was a good time to continue my parental thought processes.
One of the funnier aspects of parenting is our deep rooted desire to instill logic in an attempt to justify every childlike behavior. It makes us feel better. It makes the chaos sting just a little less.
“Oh, he’s cranky? That’s because he didn’t sleep enough last night.”
“Oh he won’t eat today? That’s because he’s teething.”
Damn. At this rate, we’ll be using that “teething” excuse until he’s 47.
Even though I’ve only been a Father for a limited amount of time, I’ve been able to come to one magnanimously profound conclusion:
“Sometimes? Shit. Just. Happens.”
While it’s nice to trade tips with your friends, every kid is different. Some are really different.
‘Just accepting the unknown.’
I think that is the hardest part about parenting. And I know it has only just begun.
It’s a good thing I’m tall enough to ride this roller coaster….
Friday September 5, 2014:
Reflections of a First Time Father, Part 15: “Teaching The Young Lad The Soothingness in Chaos.”
Company. Guests. It’s all second nature to us.
The “Namakarana” is a rite of passage in Hinduism. It enters an individual formally into the Hindu fold by presenting the name of the person to God for blessings.
A ‘naming ceremony’ if you will. This weekend Sir Milan will embark on this little journey.
We opted to keep this a family affair. So, no offense to our close friends. Still, between the Narayanans and the Shahs, we’re 50 people deep.
Split between various NJ houses, family has poured in from both domestic and international locations. As far as California. As far as India.
I think the greatest value my parents have instilled in me is the concept of “Guests.”
I remember being little and hearing our home being referred to as “Grand Central Station.” At the time, it was me, my brother, my parents, my grandparents, my aunt, my uncle, and 2 golden retrievers all living under one roof.
I suppose we can attribute this to Indian culture. Bonding to the nth degree.
We can’t go more than one month without having several overnight folks. While some may get a little anxious over this, it doesn’t even phase us. In fact, we welcome it.
“So and so are in town. They just called me. They are coming over in a few hours and staying over.” Oh okay. Cool. Do you need me to do anything?
To be honest, I find a totally empty house quite unsettling.
Milan is constantly surrounded by love. Love that goes way beyond his mother and father.
I hope he grows up with the same admiration for family and friends.
“Hospitality” is the greatest asset a Man can possess….
Sunday July 7, 2014:
Reflections of a First Time Father, Part 14: “Out of Fear a Father/Son Tradition was Born.”
About a month ago, Shivani and I took Milan on a stroll around Thompson Park. It was our first time taking him there. A nice 4+ mile loop around such luscious greenery. A very relaxing and pleasant time.
The following week, I was excited to do it again. At the last minute, Shivani backed out. She had to take care of some things.
So she says. In reality, I think she was secretly “unhooking the training wheels.”
You see folks, up until that point I had never been out of the house alone with Milan.
Eager to do this walk, I hesitantly pressed on. As I tied my sneakers, I was overwhelmed with anxiety.
What if he cries while I’m driving? Being helpless in the front seat, what if he throws up? 2 miles into our walk, what if he loses his mind?
As it turned out, that first solo trip was absolutely amazing. The vibration from the stroller put him to sleep for the first mile. But, miles 2 through 4 were magical. Always inquisitive, he kept looking around and taking it all in. He was just as relaxed on the car ride back and he was going in.
Him and I had so much fun that I have now permanently ‘banished’ Shivani from ever joining us!
And so a ritual was inadvertently established. My “Sunday Triple Headers” as I like to call it. 3 mile run by myself, 3 mile hike with Bailey, and a 4 mile stroll with the little guy.
I look forward to this tradition maturing. Eventually, we’ll be hitting this park with Milan walking along side of me. And when he gets a little older than that, we can even jog it together.
Perhaps I’m getting a little too ahead of myself, but I’m just that fired up.
Although he can not comprehend it now, this will be his constant in our ever changing world. His rock and mine….for as long as Life affords us this opportunity….
Wednesday June 11, 2014:
Reflections of a First Time Father, Part 13: “Learning Your Own Statistics For Almost The First Time.”
Having my parents around 24/7 is truly a blessing. What I’m finding to be the most advantageous lately is getting the play-by-play as to who I was and where I came from.
It’s such a beautiful sight. While my mother holds Milan, she sees me and she relives those moments as a young mother. Likewise with my father.
While many of our parents used to tell us stories of how we once were, you don’t truly get the in-depth analysis until you have a child of your own. Today, for example, I just learned how much I weighed when I was 4+ months old. And the bullet points only go on from there.
I’m finding myself through my son. And I don’t think I have ever experienced such an awakening before.
Education never stops. In fact, it has only just begun….
Wednesday May 7, 2014:
Reflections of a First Time Father, Part 12: “Everything Has a Time and Place.”
I found out that I was going to be a father on Father’s Day. It was such a perfect time to discover that my Life was going to positively change forever. Besides the obvious emotions of joy and happiness, I began to reflect on where I was in this world.
In the months leading up to Milan’s arrival, I began to second guess certain decisions we’ve made thus far.
We waited 6+ years into our marriage to have our first child. We had our reasons. But, were they valid?
Should we have just had a baby much earlier?
Were we selfish in our decision to wait?
Yesterday afternoon, I found myself staring at the baby as he napped. And it was at that point that all the answers to my questions came to me.
An emphatic “Yes” smacked me upside the head.
Milan was meant to arrive on January 28, 2014.
If we had gotten married sooner instead of having a long engagement, it would not have been Milan.
If we had a child in say Year 2 instead of Year 6 of our marriage, it would not have been Milan.
I can’t imagine Life without him now and yesterday I finally received the closure that I so yearned for.
Everything has a time and place. Everything….
Monday April 21, 2014:
Reflections of a First Time Father, Part 11: “The Mad Dash To That Honorary PHD in Gibberish and One Way Communication.”
Take the most studious intellectual individual, put him in front of a baby, and he’ll melt like a stick of Land O Lakes butter. Well? Maybe not. I think the GMO grains will preserve its state of matter for like an infinity x 10. But, let me not digress.
Are we talking to the child for their benefit or ours? Think about it.
Milan cries hysterically when he’s hungry. He cries so hard that one might think we’re beating this poor kid, So, what do we do? We talk to him as if it will make him feel better.
“I have to make the bottle Milan. I’m almost done! I’m almost done. Don’t worry. You’ll eat very soon!”
We’re carrying on as if this 3 month old understands it all.
“Well shit. Alright. Why am I crying for then?! I’ll just wait here quietly and wet my diaper in the meantime. Fine weather we’re having.”
Clearly, we’re loudly talking to ourselves to prevent any sort of emotional breakdown from hearing this baby weep. After all, who enjoys seeing a child in distress?
I think parents need as much as education as babies. We live and we learn. Together….
Sunday March 30, 2014:
Reflections of a First Time Father, Part 10: “0 To Drama Queen And Back in 2 Seconds Flat!”
Let me first preface my thoughts with this — I understand that this is not new news to most of you. But, you have to understand one thing. Prior to Milan, I’ve never been around babies on a regular basis. At all. In fact, we’re bordering on close to never. So, traveling one inch is like traveling 1 mile to me. That all said….
My son’s ability to go from happy to pissed off to jovial to aggravated absolutely astonishes me. There’s nothing like it. Breast stroking through that emotional gamut like an Olympic swimmer? Holy shit. Total insanity.
But, God bless ADD. Milan can be winding up for a poignant outburst. And all I have to do is shake his legs, rub my nose in his belly, thwart complete gibberish out of my mouth, and bam! Smiles from end to end.
Babies don’t hold grudges. And that’s a very interesting concept. Why then as adults do we complicate Life?
Wednesday March 19, 2014:
Reflections of a First Time Father, Part 9: “There’s No Touch Like a Mother’s Touch.”
Earlier this afternoon, Shivani took off on some errands, leaving me and Mr. Milan to fend for ourselves. It was a rather comical departure.
“It’s so sad that I’m actually excited to go to the dry cleaners!”
Not sad at all my Dear. You deserve some time out of the cabin. But, damn stop making me digress.
When the wife took off, Milan was happily relaxing in his rocking chair (Sorry. I totally forgot the “official” Babies R Us word for that contraption). 10 minutes later? Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
Logical Rajeev reporting for duty Sir! I pulled that mental scroll out of my back pocket and just went down the list. I held him. I fed him. I changed him. I burped him. I repeated everything. Still, this 6 lb 11 oz nugget continued to test his vocal cords. He just would not settle down.
By this point, it had been 3 hours since Shivani had left the building.
Folks? I seriously didn’t know what was harder — Trying to make him stop crying or admitting defeat and accepting this new found level of hopelessness!
Finally, I punched my ego square in the face and succumbed to texting the Mrs.
“Will you be home soon?”
When I got that “Yes. In about 15 min” reply? Holy shit. It was like an ethereal orchestra waltzed into my bedroom and filled my ears with musically spiritual nirvana.
Shivani then thrusts into the room. She scoops up the young lad, and within 3 seconds he’s smiling. He’s sighing. He’s relaxing. He’s just so innocently relieved to be “home.”
Shivani 1. Milan 1. Rajeev 0.
It’s okay though. There’s always tomorrow. Challenge accepted….
Tuesday March 11, 2014:
Reflections of a First Time Father, Part 8: “A Different Kind of Road Rage.”
A few days ago, I was driving to Holmdel Park for a run. A car several yards ahead of me turned into a development to make a u-turn. Instead of stopping to look both ways, he continued back onto the roadway. I had to slam on my brakes and came 2 feet away from hitting him. We both roll down our windows.
“You fucken asshole! I could have had my son in here!”
That roar just rolled off my tongue as if I was a seasoned father. We exchanged a couple of other “pleasantries,” then we both went our separate ways. I reach the park and started on my jog.
As my pulse started to rise, I contemplated that experience.
“Driving.” It’s a whole different world when there is a child involved. I used to look at “Baby on Board” bumper stickers with complete indifference. Now? I won’t get so pissed off if they’re going a tad bit below the speed limit.
But, this whole ordeal goes way beyond actual driving though. It’s deeper than that.
For the first time, I truly realized that I’m now living for someone else. No longer am I the focal point of my own existence.
And that? That’s scary and exciting all at the same time….
Friday March 7, 2014:
Reflections of a First Time Father, Part 7: “Dad, Let Me Be a Dad!”
Those were the exact words I threw at the Man I respect most in this world. I had just sat down to dinner. Milan started crying. I wiped my mouth and headed upstairs. My father met me there with a complete game plan. He holds him while I make the bottle. In a not so polite way, I told him that I got this.
For those of you who don’t know, or who haven’t picked up on it yet, I live in a multi-generational household. Except for the 4 years during my Bachelor’s Degree, I’ve lived under the same roof as the folks who brought me into this world. And when I got married, we added a new Narayanan to the fold.
I’ve been criticized several times by several people for this arrangement. From folks near and far. “You’re pathetic.” – “You’ve played it too safe your whole life.” – “You’re not a real man.” I’ve heard it all.
Honestly, I don’t understand Life any other way. Your parents are only with you for a short amount of time. Why in the living Hell would you want to distance yourself from them? As much as people don’t get me, I don’t get folks who move across the world from them. To each their own I suppose.
Milan has live-in grandparents. The values and education he will receive will be priceless.
But, I’m digressing now. Let me get back to what I wanted to say.
This was the first night that I was truly “on duty.” Shivani’s first night out of the house with friends. I fed him. I changed him. I talked gibberish to him. We bonded in a way we hadn’t done yet. It was awesome.
I’ll admit. I was a little nervous. But, the smile he gave me right before Shivani walked back in was all I needed. It was reassurance. It was Milan’s way of telling me “Hey. You’re going to be a great Dad.”
Reflections of a First Time Father, Part 6: “Fabric.”
You know something folks? Baby clothes are significantly more stylish than any adult outfit. Period. Exclamation point!
Monday February 24, 2014:
Reflections of a First Time Father, Part 5: “The Hierarchical Graduation of Authority. ”
Last night Shivani and I were sitting in our bedroom just staring at Milan as he slept comfortably in his bassinet. As all new parents have experienced, you wind up doing that quite often. We hit the topic of role models.
Parents. Grandparents. Managers. The list goes on. No matter how old you are, there’s always someone you ultimately have to answer to. I am an adult by age, but I’ve always felt like a kid at heart. And while I will never lose my love for the simple things, having a kid changes you mentally and emotionally.
Milan is surrounded by love. He has a support system that would make anyone jealous. But, at the end of the day? He will look to Shivani and I for guidance. We’re the ultimate decision makers for him. He’s our child. Our responsibility. Our everything. We’re his #1 authoritative figure.
And while I’ll still continue to answer to other folks in some capacity, I have a new 5 lb employee on my hands. One that I can never lay off. One that is mine to forever manage.
I’ve been promoted to Father. Is there really any better accomplishment?
Saturday February 22, 2014:
Reflections of a First Time Father, Part 4: “The Senior Citizen Laugh.”
So, a couple of hours ago I had some alone time with the little man. Once Shivani came up, I headed down to grab some dinner.
My Mom: “So, how did it go?”
Me: “Fine. Except every 5 minutes I tried to put him in the bassinet and he would cry. He just wanted to be held.”
My Mom: “And WHOSE son is he?! You were like that until you were 2 years old!!!”
Folks? If there is ever a such thing as “Grandparents Revenge,” THIS would be it….
Friday February 21, 2014:
Reflections of a First Time Father, Part 3: “Hellooo I’m adorable!”
Whenever Milan poops, he sheds a tear. And we all smile and find that cute.
If I cried every time I took a shit, Shivani would have me committed.
Life’s so unfair….
Monday February 17, 2014:
Reflections of a First Time Father, Part 2: Loyalty.
One of the first lessons I will teach my son is the concept of “Family.”
I define family as people who have your back no matter what. No questions asked.
Blood relation is irrelevant. You have the best of both worlds if you can also call a family member a good friend. But, that’s not always the case.
I try to always surround myself with positive people. And I hope one day Milan will follow suit.
Life is too short to adopt someone else’s negativity….
Sunday February 9, 2014:
Reflections of a First Time Father, Part 1: The First Night.
*Milan was in the hospital for 11 days before being discharged to come home.*
Well? Having a whiny attention whore of a dog definitely complicates things. These two need to learn how to sync up their tantrums.
Add a baby to the fold and naturally there’s more commotion and movement around the house. That causes Sir Bailey to wake up and cry hysterically because he’s not part of the action.
I made several trips downstairs to comfort the pup. In my daze, I think I actually tried to burp him.
But, I must say folks. This is the greatest kind of chaos there is. Life is good.
DNA Test Cancelled
So, Milan received a Little Tikes Basketball Set for Christmas.
I figured it was time to show him how it works.
I toss the ball towards the hoop. I miss.
I hand the ball to Milan. He begins to eat it.
DNA Test cancelled….
So, I passed gas that was unfortunately not too fragrant. Milan cringed and his level of disgust reached a solid 8.5.
Shivani’s DNA Test cancelled….
The look of pride and utter satisfaction on Milan’s face after he poops is rather priceless.
DNA Test cancelled….
Milan has recently discovered his wee wee and yanks on it with such ambition and fervor.
DNA test cancelled….
Milan just snatched the glasses off my face and stuck it in his ear as if he was satisfying an itch.
DNA test cancelled….
Milan now lifts his legs up to fart.
DNA Test cancelled….