Lessons Learned

It’s been three days since my life has changed 1. While it may just be a side-effect caused by lack of sleep, I feel I’ve learned some lessons in that time.

I have no idea how to read my teenage daughter

I have to say I had some concern about how my daughter was going to respond once she met the baby. She’s got feigned teenage indifference down so well I often have no idea what’s going on inside her skull 2. So when she met her baby brother I felt genuine relief, she was great.

When we got home my wife turned into the baby’s day suite 3 and exclaimed, “Oh look, \ painted a new picture for him!” Sure enough, she’d placed a new painting among the baby books we have presented on a shelf. It was pretty cool.

Painting of a turkey, nestled in among children’s books
Panasonic G7 with 14-44mm lens • 21mm • ISO 800 • ƒ/5.3 • 1/30 sec

It’s nice to see the person beyond the facade on occasion. I suppose fathers are better off not knowing what goes on in the mind of their teenage daughters.

My (oldest) son is a creative

I’ve known my oldest boy had a creative side for a long-while, but he lets it out only on occasion 4. He used to create carnival games out of tape and old boxes for fun, has dabbled at making board games, and picked up 3d modeling so fast it made me jealous. But, much like his sister, I’ve only been able to see these depths in fits and spurts.

A couple of weeks ago he came up to me and announced, “I’m going to write a novel!” I thought it was a fabulous idea and offered to teach him how to use some of the tools I’ve found helpful in my own writing. I haven’t had much time to sit with him since then 5, but on Tuesday night he sat with me on the couch and explained a rather complex setting for his story. Then, last night, he announced, “I’m going to write the first chapter of my novel!” This morning I found what he had written in my in box. It wasn’t so much a chapter as it was a 1200 word setting description. His imagination had come up with sociological distinctions, over-arching mysterious concepts, history, and potential character motivations. I was impressed!

Holding a sleeping newborn is great for blood pressure

I had no idea how I was going to adjust to rejoining the ranks of “parents with newborns.” It’s been a long time, and I was worried I was a bit too old to handle this again. But now I’m finding myself on the couch listening to the baby breathe, and I notice my body relaxing. Sometimes I’ll look down and see his eyes staring up at me with that distinct wide-eyed newborn stare and I’ll can only grin. There are many bumps and turns in our future, but right now I’m feeling good.

It helps that the other two humans we’ve raised are showing signs of genuine person-hood.


  1. Again
  2. She’s a great actress as well, which makes it more difficult on me. 
  3. Don’t ask, really. 
  4. Some of the creative writing exercises back in elementary school got him all twisted around and he’s just getting over it. 
  5. Newborn’s suck up one’s attention span. 
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