Corrie Street Aug. 18/13

Father of the Year

father Gary-by-bassinette“I can feel it across nations – people wanting to give Gary a good smack.” Such is the opinion of my husband about Gary’s reaction to fatherhood. Gary sees the baby crying or fussing as being a personal rejection of him. Get over yourself, Gary, it isn’t always about you.

On Monday, the first day of seeing Gary at home with Izzy and infant Jake, we could barely watch because it was first so annoying and then scary. Gary is nervous about holding and handling the baby, which, in itself, is not surprising. Even though they spent lots of time with him in the hospital, Jake was in the incubator much of that time. It’s different when he’s home, with you and no nurses around.

However, Gary seems to be feeling that the baby has bonded with him less than with Izzy. Probably that is because of the period of time during which she would not let him see baby-jakeJake/Joe, let alone hold him. Now, nervous and resentful, he is probably passing on his tension to the child. It’s likely a relief for little Jake, as it is for all of us, when his father passes him back to Izzy. As well, the baby is just doing what they all do – crying and fussing sometimes for no apparent reason.

Gary’s nervousness is one thing; what might come next due to it is quite another. He has shown before that he doesn’t do well with pressure. His petulance while putting the crib together was a foreshadowing of what would come. When he holds the crying baby, Gary trying-to-do-my-bitis so tense that, one time, I feared he was going to fling little Jake across the room. Afterwards, my husband said he’d thought the same thing. Mikey North’s acting is superb. He does not need to speak, his body posture tells the whole story.

What frustrates me is that Izzy doesn’t see the full extent of Gary’s anxiety. She isn’t remembering that he may not cope well, or at all. Keeping her captive in her apartment because he was worried about her? Totally freaking out during the tram crash? Diagnosed PTSD?  Remember all that, Izzy? Anna?

Izzy is trying to be supportive. But it isn’t enough to say ‘there, there, it just takes some getting used to’ when you’ve got a guy who is so tense he’s ready to pop. Also sometimes her issues collide with his.

When Izzy started to lift the crying baby out of his bassinette, Gary said he would do it. No, she said, she could. Gary was having one of his insecure moments and he needed to Izzy-lifting-babydo the looking after for the baby. But Izzy insisted. She, I realized, needed to show herself, Gary and the baby that she could lift him out of his cot from a sitting position. Her lack of muscle strength was the reason having a baby at all has always been in doubt for her. So she has to prove she has the physical strength and stamina to do it.

The poor baby, a preemie at that, is caught between two people desperately trying to prove that they can do what they fear they can’t. My husband says it’s Izzy and Gary who need monitoring by adults.

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