Men's Health

Fatherhood, at 1:10 a.m.

MY SON, TIMMY, is just over two months old—nine weeks to be exact—and he won’t stop crying. He seems to hate his brand-new world and all things in it, including his crib and his rattle and his mother and me. Colic, say the doctors, but the kid hates eating and he hates not eating. He hates sleeping and he hates not sleeping. He hates being held and he hates not being held. He hates light and he hates dark. He hates hot and he hates cold and he hates all temperatures in between. He is full of fury. I have fathered Jack the Ripper. At the moment, in these early-morning hours of August 28, 2003, I’m taking a break while my wife, Meredith, sits in the laundry room with our howling little hater. A pediatrician suggested placing him in a basket atop the clothes dryer. The machine’s warmth and its humming motor have worked their magic, to be sure, but only on my exhausted wife, whom I last saw in a state of semi-consciousness.

Meredith and I are first-timers at the whole baby thing, a pair of rookies, and we are not only incompetent but we’re getting scared. I’m scared, in fact, at this very instant. In a few minutes I’ll be shutting down my computer and returning to duty, except I have no clue as to what my duty actually is. Right now it’s 1:10 a.m., and Timmy has been crying since…well, since he was born.

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