They did not know how to do babies until rather recently! Nothing quite humbles a self-assured man like an infant who is his own.
Before the Teachers of Much Wisdom came into their lives, these men were from time to time a bit critical of how people (including their own parents) do parenting. How could people let their children be noisy at times, and disobedient? Also the children of certain others were mussy, messy, and sometimes stinky. Poorly managed, disorganized, and unacceptable, our sharp guys figured. Was that any way to let the little so and so’s behave?
It turns out that we flawed humans have to eventually come upon a teacher who can bring us down to ground level with a slam. This usually does not happen in college. Sometimes not until a lot later, in this age of late marriages and mid-aged child bearing.
Take a good look at that wee teacher shown above (top) teach the value of eye contact! What is the father learning from the studied gaze of his brand new son? What is the little one finding out that his father needs to be taught? How many kinds of eye contact will they have together before words finally begin to come? The baby will soon let the father know that he is a complete person, even though he doesn’t “know” even one “rope.” And his father will know in spades that he doesn’t know the ropes about the business of babies, either.
The father with eyes closed(second down) is by nature very active and energetic. I know for a fact that he finds life full of things to do and attend and support and investigate. Not a napper. Well, not until…
Babies can stay up later than anyone on the planet, including college grads! They can stay awake for days. They can sleep peacefully for a while you are getting ready for bed and then cry from 9PM until noon the next day. Only warriors, sitting in airports, having a brief respite from endless military duties, know better how to sleep standing up than new fathers.
Once a father (like the one at the bottom) gets over the gooeyness of putting his finger in the mouth of his tiny daughter he finds out that it works when the pacifier is lost. It stops the noise for a time. It works also when teeth begin to push through. Then a father can investigate how the teeth are arriving by feeling around on a baby’s gums and the baby likes the pressure. A lot, actually. They bite. If the tooth is in, the father learns something about innocents inflicting pain. There is eye contact here, again. They are understanding one another in a new way.
Feeling like a dope seems to be the beginning of wisdom, and the nadir of the experience of feeling like a dope is to be taught by someone who is truly ignorant, illiterate, inexperienced and dumb. When you have bottomed out, recovered your sensibilities,you find you are beginning to “get it”! You sense the goodness of being sent this relentless Teacher of Much Wisdom whose class you cannot cut , whose course you cannot drop.
These three smitten men are mellowing, now. Their feet are to the fire! They find they utterly love, yes, and even respect, little mussy, messy, sometimes stinky people beyond anything else in the universe.