The List: Six things 6 months of parenthood have taught me
They say 3 is a magic number. Pffft, I say. Rubbish, even. Move over, 3. Hello, 6!
As in, here's six things (in no particular order) I've learned in the 6 months our twin daughters, Anna and Elise, have been alive.
1. My wife is a rock star. Not that I wasn't already aware of this, to some degree. But the patience? The commitment? The ability to cope with the fact that grocery shopping now feels like a social outing? The woman deserves a medal.
2. Sleep deprivation is no joke. You can mentally prepare yourself all you want (God knows I tried), but you simply can't fathom this phenomenon until you've experienced it. Going weeks at a time without getting more than 4 hours of sleep in a single night, then trying to fight through the baby fog at home and at work is the impetus for my tagline, "Brought to You by Caffeine." Without that magic stuff, there would be (more) errors in your paper each morning.
3. Patience. The judges also would have accepted "poise." Both are absolutely vital in the long (putting weight on 4-pound newborns) and short (rocking a screaming baby back to sleep at 3 a.m.) term. Those are just two of the hundreds of examples of scenarios in which the "p" words are paramount.
4. EVERYthing else can wait. In the past, you might have found multiple mugshots of me in the "W" section of the dictionary. But this workaholic has learned his job as dad is more important than any other. Interestingly, I'm also not the worry wart I once was. Of course, I'm always concerned for the girls' health and safety, but I no longer sweat any of the small stuff in my life.
5. It's more everything. My mother-in-law recently asked me if parenthood is harder than I expected. I thought about it and said, "It's more everything." More rewarding, more challenging, more hilarious, more tender. You name it. Life is a little more everything.
6. I am important, like I never knew. Truth be told, confidence is not one of my weaknesses. But two lives never depended on me before. And on a less dramatic note, two ladies have never made this guy feel funnier, or like a better dancer. Also, it turns out I'm a diaper-pinning idiot savant. Who knew?
But perhaps the biggest thing I've learned? I've got a lot to learn. The girls have taught me so much in 6 months, and I can't wrap my brain around the tens of thousands of things they'll teach me – about them, myself, and the world in general – the rest of my days.
Christopher Heimerman is night news editor at Sauk Valley Media. You can follow him on Twitter at @CHeimerman_SVM.