The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

June 15, 2013

First Father’s Day

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — There is no emotion to match looking into the eyes of your child for the first time.

For a number of Enid-area men, today is their first Father’s Day as fathers.

James and Randi Semrad, of Enid, welcomed their daughter into the world Tuesday. Talking from his wife’s hospital room, James said before Synthia came he was nervous and worried about how he would be as a father.

“Since she came, it’s the greatest thing that ever happened,” Semrad said. “I have a healthy, beautiful little girl. I’m lucky. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

This is the busy time of the year for Semrad’s business, but he is taking the time to spend with his daughter. He would like to hold her more often, but must allow others to hold her, too.

“If I could, I would sit and hold her all day, but everyone else gets jealous,” Semrad said. “It’s an amazing feeling. Before she came, I didn’t know how it would be. Now that she is here, it’s a great feeling.”

Josh and Nicole Winfield, of Enid, welcomed Mason into their lives eight months ago, and Josh admits he was worried.

“I was nervous, worried. I had a lot of doubt as to whether I would be able to handle all the responsibility of a parent,” he said. “It’s different when you are responsible for a human being like that, I had no expectations.”

Winfield said the experience has been better than any of his expectations. Worries and doubts vanished and he has discovered being a father is “kind of a natural thing.”

“It’s instinctual. It’s been a whole lot less worry since he’s been born than before,” Winfield said. “He’s been a pretty good baby since the word go. Since he was a month old he has slept through the night. If he cries, he’s either hungry or needs changing. He’s been pretty good.”

The only thing Winfield did not expect was how much he would love his son. He said he knew he would love him, but had no idea how much.

“Every day is a miracle,” he said.

Winfield works in the oil fields and puts in many hours. The first four or five months of the year are his company’s busiest time, and he was gone a lot, but he saw Mason when he got home at night and on weekends. This year, May was slow for the company, and he had more time, but business is picking up and he expects to be gone more.

When he is home, he enjoys sharing duties with Nicole and helping as much as he can. That helps him spend more time with Mason, whether giving him a bath or watching him while Nicole is away from home.

“I don’t work 9-5, and I’m really thankful she’s an amazing mother,” Winfield said.

Austin Miles, of Enid, is pretty proud of his new daughter, Evangeline. Miles and his wife, Heather, had their daughter April 8. She is their first child.

“I had no expectations, I didn’t know what to expect. I kind of relied on the stories of everyone else and their advice, but she is a great baby,” Miles said. “It’s amazing how someone so small can bring so much joy into your life without saying anything.”

Evangeline did not have a regular sleep schedule for the first couple of weeks, he said. She would sleep about 45 minutes and wake up to eat. That is difficult to become accustomed to, he said. She now is more regular in her sleep habits, usually sleeping about six hours per night.

Miles helps out with the baby as much as possible. He works from home, so helping out with the baby is convenient. He gets to bathe her and change her diapers.

“Now we have a routine down. It’s helpful. It gives us more bonding time,” Austin said.

1st Lt. Jon Clausen, currently stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas, spent a year at Vance Air Force Base. He and his wife, Karissa, welcomed Emery a few months ago, and Clausen said he had no idea what to expect as a father.

“I knew nothing coming into it. I had to learn it on the fly,” Clausen said.

Karissa had lots of experience with two younger siblings, but for Jon, dealing with Emery mostly was trial and error based on what made her happy, he said. The couple have friends with children, and Clausen watched them interact with theirs, but mostly followed Karissa’s lead.

“I’m learning a lot dealing with Emery, and it helped when she started smiling,” he said. “If she starts crying it’s not right and I switch it out that way, sort of feel out what works.”

Clausen said Emery is good at telling them when she is hungry or needs a diaper change, and he is starting to be able to read the baby. He was sent to training just after Emery was born and did not have much time to spend with her. Since he has completed training, he gets to see her more often and tries to do what he can to relive Karissa.

“I get one or two diaper changes a day. She stays home with Emery and is the lead. I try to help out,” Clausen said.

One of his favorite activities is giving Emery her bath before bedtime. It helps the two of them spend some time together. The couple currently are in Florida on vacation, so Jon is seeing more of Emery than usual.

“It’s nice to give her a bath in the evening and see her before I leave, and see her when I get home,” Clausen said.