Five things I've learned recently since becoming a dad again:
1. Never sit down to feed the baby without a burp cloth. On more than a few occasions, I've sat down in the recliner, positioned my son in the perfect way for a bottle and then realized I have no burp cloth on my lap. Instead of getting up to retrieve one right away, I take a chance that he won't spit up and just give me a nice, clean burp. Nope, I pay for it every time and usually with a little extra. It's an example of "Murphy's Law" in action.
2. Take caution when using kitchen appliances. Plugging in the food processor to shred a cheddar cheese block, the second I turned it on, screams from the playpen could be heard. Mom was watching him at that moment and apparently he froze, his eyes got big and then he let out a scream that I'd rather not ever hear again. I immediately stopped the shredding and I've since opted for the old-fashioned method of doing it by hand. I'll refrain from using the food processor until he's a little older. I don't want to be the source of trips to a child therapist.
3. Socks don't stay on his feet. As my son has grown a little older (he's 4 months old now), his clothes have transitioned from wearing "footie" pajamas all day to putting on more outfits with shirts, pants and socks. Pretty much after every nap or playtime session or whatever, I pick him up noticing that a sock is now missing. Quick to blame the sock companies for poor craftsmanship, I realized that he likes to kick his feet up in the air, which usually means he's rubbing them together. Inevitably, one of the socks comes off. No big deal ... it just means I have to put the sock back on five or six times a day.
4. Diaper-changing is different, which is good and not so good. Back during those first weeks of life, a baby's poop goes through a few stages involving its color and frequency. Now that he's 4 months old, he's not pooping as much, usually having a pretty good one during the late afternoon or early evening hours. What hasn't been a lot of fun, however, is the amount and the stronger odor. I don't remember it smelling that strong about a month ago. However, changing diapers has become a lot easier and a special time to interact. He doesn't cry at all like he did when he was a few weeks old and didn't know what in the heck was going on. Now, he smiles a lot and we always spend some time talking to each other.
5. Being away from the baby can be scary. For the first time last week, my wife and I went on a date without our baby boy. We left him with a trusted friend who we believe is a great mother herself with a husband who lives for his kids. My wife's employer takes out his managers every year for a special dinner and the spouses are invited along because the job impacts our lives as well (my wife is basically on call 24/7 and those texts and calls can be more of a disruption than an infant). It's a very gracious thing for an employer to do. I missed last year's dinner because of a school board meeting but was able to make it this time around thanks to our friends willing to take the baby for a few hours. It was a bit of a challenging experience and I tried to secretly look at my cellphone during dinner to make sure she hadn't texted with a question or concern. Of course, I had poor cell service in the restaurant where we were eating so I wasn't sure if I'd even receive any possible texts. Naturally, it all worked out and the baby was just fine. The same friends actually took him the previous week when I had the unexpected trip to the hospital, so it wasn't the first time we were away from him, but it was still different because this was a planned social occasion. Anyway, he did just fine and it worked out in another good way. He had that substantial, smelly evening poop on someone else's watch (to the point that a clothing change had to occur).