Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Partnership

According to the doctor on her 2 month appointment, Julia was failing to thrive in the weight-gain category - she's gained 1 lb in six weeks and she should have gained about 2 lbs, if I understand correctly. I'll deal with all the emotional components later but the practical end was the Dr and a lactation specialist came up with a couple of game plans to help Julia get to her benchmark 1 week later (gain 6 oz) which she exceeded by 2 oz! The gameplan is for Tara to feed herself and the baby and do little else for the next 10 days or so. Which means either the house isn't clean and food is not cooked or I do it. We chose the latter. With a whole lotta help from friends I am picking up the slack.

What does that mean? It means I don't stop moving. Its only been a couple of days but damn! Here was my President's day looked like:

8am - change & feed Julia
feed Johnders, nurse Johnders (he came up a little gimpy Sunday evening) & show him some love, eat
feed Tara while Tara pumps.
drive to/from doctor's office
change Julia, prepare lunch while Tara feeds Julia
wash dishes & eat
feed julia
fold laundry
prepare dinner, change julia
feed johnders, eat
clean bathrooms (while the women goes to a La Leche Meeting)
laundry, dishes
feed julia
1am - change julia, go to bed

Today I am at work and I can't help wonder how Tara is managing and therein is the rub. I have been surprised to hear how complimentary, genuinely pleased and maybe even surprised that I am willingly pitching in at all, let alone that much.

But seriously what else am I supposed to do? Why would I respond otherwise, why would I not do whatever is in my power to help the woman I asked to share my life with and the child we created together? Is it that hard to understand that feeding a baby is serious work? The way I see it is right now Tara is responsible for 99% of Julia's physiological growth (the other part coming from exercising, kicking, crying, etc). Her muscles and organs need food to become stronger and more efficient. Tara is her sole source of food. Tara needs food to maintain her metabolism so that she can pass on the good stuff to Julia. That means Tara is working hard (invisibly, I might add...it looks like she's just laying there) but I can tell how hard she is working.

Is this a representation of the 21st century man? Am I redefining manliness or masculinity as being able to feel the tenor of a situation and then respond in a determined, serious yet compassionate and understanding manner. At the very least Tara and I vowed to each other, and yes, we did it before God, community and government, to "have & hold, through good times and bad". Why are people so surprised to see this happen? Why is it so difficult to do this, if you aren't doing it?