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New daddy diary, August 23, 2006

I'm not exactly a worrywart, but I do come from a long line of them (it runs in my mother's side of the family). Logic and Reason are the weapons of choice to keep that propensity at bay. But ever since my daughter was born almost seven months ago, Logic and Reason have been shooting blanks, my worrywart gene expressing itself like never before.

She doesn't sleep enough. She's been awake for 12 hours. Is this OK? She doesn't stop eating. How can she eat this much? Where's it all going? Is this normal? She's grabbing her ears. Could she have an ear infection? I've never heard her cry quite like that. Do you think she's in pain? How can we really tell?

But that's the easy stuff. I've lain awake at night wondering how I'm going to keep her from harm in its various forms. Falling objects.Swallowable objects. Sharp objects.Bad people.Gravity. Then Reason whispers, "Relax. Parents worry. She's your first-born. This is perfectly normal. Everything's A-OK."

The last thing I want to be is a chronically paranoid parent, expending energy on "what if" fears. That's not healthy for anybody. So I thought I had settled into a comfortable and rational zone. But the night before my wife and daughter were to fly to San Francisco, I caught myself Googling "earthquake survival tips." That's when I realized I'd gone completely 'round the bend.

My once-dormant worrywart gene had flanked Reason and was going in for the kill. So I stepped away, picked up my sleeping daughter, and whispered in her ear, "It's OK, honey.Daddy's going to be OK."

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