Sunday, December 17, 2017

Does A Baby Make Me Happy?

Posted by theboat On December 17, 2017 16 comments
I've written a lot about the costs, stress increases, etc. associated with having a baby. I haven't really written much about the positives. I don't know how to do that well, but I attempt it here. How does a baby affect your happiness?

baby happiness

Happiness is really hard to capture with any sort of metric and even difficult with anecdotes. I can't say 'he's worth $64/day in happiness'. In thinking about how I'd explain it, I settled on just sharing a list of things that I remember positively about him that will hopefully convey how he's become a positive and integral part of my life. These are roughly in order from his birth until now.
  • When he was a month or so old, he would seek out a nipple for food. Part of this process involved clamping down on anything (e.g., my collarbone) and shaking his head and growling like a dog.
  • When he was a baby, he would get really painful gas. He'd scream and we'd feel terrible. I eventually realized that if I massaged his stomach and carried him on my forearm, he'd fart really loudly then pass out on my arm like 8 seconds after the fart.
  • We have tile floors. When he was learning to crawl, he was a bit afraid of them. His nap bed is just a 6 inch mattress on the floor. Before he was confident enough with the floor to crawl on it, he'd lean over the edge of the mattress and slap the floor with one hand. He finally slowly eased off after slapping it with both hands, and then was comfortable going from nap bed to floor and vice-versa
  • He's always loved grapes. Since they're choking hazards, you have to cut them into tiny pieces to feed them. One day we were playing in the floor and my wife was feeding him grapes. She'd tear them into pieces then feed him. She reached over to find a toy, and when she turned back around he'd shoved like 7 grapes into his mouth and had them stuff in his cheeks like a hamster.
  • Once after we started leaving him to nap by himself on his nap mattress (he was ~9 months old), we noticed that he was napping for longer than usual. We got a little worried and were about to check on him when we heard a giggle and noticed that he'd crawled off the mattress and sneaked into the room we were in.
  • When he around one year old, he learned that he could avoid eating what he didn't want. If I put him in a high chair with food that he didn't want to eat, he'd stare at me while slowly pushing the food onto the floor. When it fell, he'd scream 'UH OH!' like he was stunned about what happened.
  • When he was roughly a year old, he moved on from 'dada' to 'dadoo' as my name for some reason. At around 15 months old, he finally started saying 'daddy', and 'dadoo' was gone forever.
  • He figured out how to trick us. He often feeds us, and one day he said 'daddy' to offer me food. When he got it an inch or so from my mouth, he ate it real fast and laughed at me.
  • He was scared to walk and was very delayed with it. He didn't walk until 17 months old or so. However, we knew he knew how to since he was 11 months. He proved this by running full speed within a week of walking comfortably the first time. There was no awkward toddling phase.
  • When he was ~16 months old, I got a giant stuffed gorilla. He was absolutely terrified of it. Over the course of a few months, he warmed up to it a bit until he got to the point where he'd kiss it, wrestle it, etc., and now he really likes the gorilla.
  • When he was ~18 months old, we were in Wal-Mart and he saw one of those giant inflatable balls in the rack. He managed to get one out somehow and carried it around the store (it was a bit larger than him).
  • He loves watching videos on his tablet or laptop. The first one he really liked was an animal sounds one, and his favorite line is 'can you hear the sheep go baa baa baa?' Because of this, he started referring to computers as 'baa baa baa'. When he was 18 months old or so, he was pointing out things in the room. He pointed at my wife and said 'mommy'. He pointed at his shirt and said 'baju' (Indonesian for shirt). He pointed at the computer and said 'baa baa baa'. His laptop is blue, and he calls it 'blue baa baa baa'. Mine is black and he calls it 'black baa baa baa'.
  • When he was around 20 months old, he was climbing on some boxes that he isn't supposed to climb on. One of them fell and made a loud sound, and when my wife came in to ask what happened, he just sprinted away to his room without saying anything. It was very reminiscent of this scene:
  • When he was learning to count, he'd start really softly with '1, 2, 3...' and get progressively louder as he got close to 20 and then scream 'YAY!' when he arrived at 20. He would then repeat it.
  • When he was learning the alphabet, the last part he learned in the song is 'L M, N, O'. He would try to cover that by going 'H, I, J, K, eh, eh, eh, eh, eh, eh, eh, P' and hold the P out for a long time. It took him a while to realize how many 'ehs' to say.
  • He's never slept enough, and especially never napped. We thought he was napping well in his toddler class at daycare, but when my wife was there one day she noticed that all of the kids have empty mats that they sleep on except for him. He has books to read on his mat so that he doesn't bother the other kids while they sleep because he looks through books instead of napping.
  • Around his second birthday, he started blaming us for his farts. He'll fart, and then scream 'daddy poot' or 'mommy poot'. Sometimes, he even tries to blame his toys for them. I thought he might have been saying the name to let the person know he farted, but he only does this with farts. Everything else he says the owner rather than the person he's talking to.
  • He was roughly two years old the second time he flew in an airplane. We were so scared that he would freak out and cry the whole time, but he really loved it. He sat calmly in his seat, and just told me to move so he could see better (I was by the window).
  • Right around his second birthday, he figured out how to tell the difference among two items, three items, etc. He very rarely uses this ability, and thus far has reserved it for specifying how many pieces of chocolate he expects ('NO! Three Chocolates!').
  • He learned the phrase 'Oh goodness' at daycare and he says that when he's excited about something.
There's more like this but this is hopefully enough to give an idea of the goofy stuff babies will do that you'll remember forever.


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