Your emerging personality

You’re six weeks old, and this is what I notice about you so far:

You have no shame in peeing on our guests. You pee when you want to, where you want to, and on anyone you want to. You pee on me, and you even pee on yourself. Devil may care. Pee and be damned.

You are not afraid of strange bearded men in dark robes, the rabbis we brought over to the house to conduct the Pidayon Ha’Ben ceremony. You were not in awe. You farted right in their faces.

When you sleep, you stretch your arms out above your head, like a boxer after victory, like a champ – confident and imperious – staking your territory. You’re not afraid. Do not disturb.

You have my anger. It’s quick and nasty until you get what it is you’re after. Mostly it’s your mother’s nipple. I know how you feel man. Hang in there.

You love going head-to-head.

Like Winston Churchill.

 

You’re smart and resourceful: you’ve figured out how to feed yourself; no hands. You clearly crave independence and freedom.

You’re little, but you have charisma, confidence, strength and courage. Like a Jedi.

But you’re not all tough and cunning. You love being massaged, you love bathing in warm water, you love being bounced, and you love being held.

I love you. Stay just as you are.

Father’s Day

My son, it will be many years until you read this, and probably some years after that still until you fully understand what’s written here.

I write to you from outside of time – so that in the future you will know me as I am now, and not just as I am then.  I’m addressing you as the man you will be, with God’s help.

My son, we cannot know the future, we can only live in the moment. Not very long ago my heart broke, literally and figuratively, but Your Mother saved me, literally and figuratively, and God gave me a second chance at life, literally and figuratively.

I didn’t stay down for long. One mustn’t stay down for too long.

I took my second chance gratefully, as one must be grateful everyday for the gift of one’s life. Remember that, live by it, it’s very important.

I’m stronger now, and wiser about my body, my food, my stress, my blood, my heart; I’m healthy, and happy.

But I cannot tell my future. The shock of a heart attack for a young man, for any man, goes deep; it is still with me, and the fear that it will happen again is never far away.  That’s the thing to remember about fear: it’s always there, but it is entirely your slave. You are entirely its master.

I try not to think of what was. Instead I think of the eternity in every moment that you and I share.

I look at Your Mother, and at our families and friends: I stay close to them and so must you – they are our angels.

I look at you, now one month old, and my heart… it…heals.

You melt me completely. You build me up completely.

When you fall asleep on my arm you make it ten times stronger.

When you lie on my chest it becomes a mountain.

When you wrap your hand around my finger no force in the universe can dislodge us.

I am father: giant, impenetrable, invincible, timeless, ageless, all seeing; cunning, determined, and when protecting you, utterly ruthless.

This is who I am now; this is whom you have made me.

So my son, thank you for this first father’s day.

Love,

Dad

 

You’re a cheap date

You’re such a cheap date.

Tonight Your Mother went off gallivanting with your grandma and aunt and left us men alone.

The cats were away and the mice were going to play.

I fed you. A whole bottle. An entire bottle of the best stuff.

Then I massaged you. With oil. A full body massage with oil. Both sides of your little body.

There was quiet Mozart in the background, to set the mood.

Then I bathed you, in warm, quiet water. 39 degrees, just the way you like it.

The music was still on in the background. We were just getting started.

I clothed you, put you on my shoulder, and started bouncing you on our favorite giant ball.

I whispered sweet nothings into your ear.

Daddy loves you. Daddy will always love you. I’m here. I’ll always be here.

And then, after all that wining, and dining, and massaging, and music, and sweet nothings…

You went out like a light.

I gave you some of my best stuff. I was hoping we could play a bit.

It’s ok though, daddy always liked cheap dates.

Goodnight my little man, see you in a few hours..

Your Mother

Your Mother says she doesn’t understand why I’m so tired all the time, as she’s the one that gets up most of the times at nights to feed you.

She says my tiredness is fake, and must be psychosomatic; yeah, I also don’t know what that means. Maybe she means soma-somatic, that would make more sense, no?

She should look these things up before she says them, she’s not a doctor, wouldn’t you agree?

In any case, you should know that I also get up to feed you at night, not as much as your mom does, of course, who could ever get up as much she does??

But I do wake up when you start squealing for food. I may sometimes fall back asleep straight away, but I do wake up, to make sure everything is, you know, in order.

Sometimes I get up just to look at you. I walk over to your cot, lower my face to just above yours, and hover there for a few minutes. Scanning every millimeter of your face. Lovingly stalking you, you might say.

And sometimes, get this, your mother is too tired to feed you in the middle of the night and she jabs me with her elbow, right in my ribs, sometimes also in my neck, and tells me to make you a bottle.

I take these midnight blows without complaining. I carry the bruises inside, quietly, as a man must.

So don’t believe her when she tells you, years from now, that I wasn’t really tired, and that I was involved in some complex psychological sleep conspiracy.

After all, who would you believe, someone like me, who takes the time to set out the truth here for you to see, and who takes blows for you, or someone like your mother, who doesn’t even write a blog?

Just saying.

Praying for Poop

My kingdom for your poop,

If you poop, daddy will buy you a pony, a race car, an aeroplane.

When you poop you are happy. Don’t you want to be happy?

Daddy will be happy if you poop. Don’t you want to make daddy happy?

Daddy and mommy feed you, bathe you, soothe you, caress you, kiss you a thousand blessings, bounce you on a big ball,

And all we ask in return is that you poop.

I know it’s hard. I know it’s new to you, and you’re still trying to figure out how to use your new body.

I see you trying, straining your little stomach muscles, pushing it down, trying to get it out. You try so hard.

But my son, here’s the secret: Like so much in life, you’ll learn, things happen easier when you relax, when you let them happen.

So poop my little man. Relax, and poop.

Because when you poop the angels smile, and all is good in our house.

Because when you poop we can all go to sleep. You love to sleep. We love to sleep. Everyone loves to sleep.

Poop my child.

 

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Our song

You’re two weeks old today. And I know this about you already, you love Chopin, especially the Nocturnes. And especially this piece:

I can play it for you over and over and over, and every time I do, you turn your lovely little head to listen. It calms you when we’re changing you; after your bath; or just because; I love to play it for you.

Sometimes I play it for you in the dead of night after I’ve changed and fed you, and I stand in the middle of your room, you over my shoulder [I’m waiting for you to burp], and I sway slowly with you to this music. Until you burp you’re not so comfortable and you squirm and wiggle; and I dance. Once you’ve burped, you calm down; and the music surrounds us, envelops us in its sweetness; I kiss the top of your head and slowly you fall asleep.

And we dance together. My beautiful boy. This music was written for us.

What does your dad do?

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My boy, I think it’s important that you know what your dad does for a living, because I’m in the kind of profession that is more than just a job – it’s a calling,that means it is who I am, not just what I do – and that will affect you, which is why I’m telling you this.

I work in news. I make news. That means I write and edit words and images about what’s happening around us.

As you see in this picture (taken by your grandmother) you fell asleep on your dad’s shoulder while I was reading a newspaper. Yes, sometimes they make me fall asleep too. But they live with us. Our house is always full of newspapers, and you will grow up in a house where newspapers are delivered outside our door every morning, where dad and mom read the papers over breakfast and coffee, and on weekends we read them from cover to cover; you’ll hear and see news played on the TV and radio quiet often – usually at 8pm (if you are still awake); where Twitter is always on (I will probably buy you a dog for your first birthday and name him Twitter), and dinner guests always talk about the latest news, especially after dad gives them a lot of wine.

What does working in the news mean? And how does this affect you?

Working in the news means that you watch and listen to see what’s happening in the world, and especially about the things that are important to you. Most importantly: you ask questions. My son, you can never blindly accept what people are telling you – except for what your mom tells you. Working in news means that you ask why things are like they are and what can be done to make them better. And once you have the right questions, and once you are up to date with the news, you try and find an original idea about an issue or story, and then you work on it to tell people what’s next in the story, and how the story affects them.

This kind of work is very interesting, and makes me feel like I am doing something constructive to make the world a better place. It is, also, very demanding of time and attention. This is the home you have entered, and the kind of father you have. But don’t worry I won’t expect you to become a news junkie like your dad. And don’t worry about not having my full attention, to me you are a constant source of news, and I have plenty of angles to explore in you.

Introducing Yonatan Mizroch

My son. There, I’ve said it.

It’s been an intense week since you joined us. This is the first time I’ve had a few minutes to write.

Your mother and I agonized over your name for nine months. Agonized is too light a word. We diseased about it. Yes, that’s better. DISEASED. That’s what we did. We both wanted different names for different reasons. But all the names we thought of didn’t suit you one iota once you came into the world and looked at us, and we looked at you, and you looked at us, and we looked at you. In the end [or, as far as you’re concerned, the beginning] we agreed on Yonatan, because it’s the name that suits you most. You are a Yonatan, you have been given to us by God.

The truth is – and we’ll always strive to tell the truth to each other –  that in my diseasing I even thought of calling you Yoda, because that’s just me, and you look like a little Yoda [minus the green], and you’re as strong and collected as he is.

Do you see it?

But alas, cooler heads prevailed.

So maybe not everyone thinks you look like the Grand Jedi Master whose wisdom has shaped your father’s life, but you do have your father’s body.

Anyway, you’ve been sleeping really well, relatively speaking; getting up every few hours to eat. You don’t cry when you’re hungry – you grunt, snort and squeal. Your mom is much more sensitive to your middle-of-the-night audio signals than I am, but once she wakes me up, I’m up, relatively speaking.  She now sleeps so lightly. When I met your mother, she was quick to slumber and was a  heavy sleeper! Now the slightest signal from you wakes her. It’s incredible, scientific, mystical, biological. Female. Maternal.

Now we take turns feeding and changing you at night and I’d just like to thank you for being such a gentleman about it all.

At work during the day I walk around like a zombie in love: Dead tired but elated.  And I can’t wait to get your little hands around my finger. My little Babywan Kanobi. My little Jedi. We’re besotted with you; every little part of you.

Hello world!

In November 2010 I had a heart attack and survived. Since then I fell in love, left a stressful job, started working in a much healthier environment with truly amazing people, ran 10km in 75 minutes, got married, moved house, run three times  a week, ride 9km to work and back most days, and do a million other little things that fill as much of my life as I can with meaning.

I started this blog 8 days after my son Yonatan was born. This little person is the biggest thing that’s ever happened to me. And it’s only been a week!