There are routines in me that have become subconscious. One of them is bringing my computer home from work. I fear that I will someday leave my computer on the ferry or on the bus. I have forgotten other things. Once, I left my contribution to the office white elephant Christmas party gift exchange hanging on a hook in the men’s room.

And yet, when I am going to or leaving the ferry, I never think about this fear. In fact, I don’t think much about my computer at all. I will often use it on the ferry and pack it up when it’s time to leave. The actions of strapping it around my shoulder, putting it in my bike pannier or car trunk, taking it out and bringing it into the house are not anything I remember with clarity the next day.

I drove to the ferry yesterday. I’ve been doing that more and more since Finn was born. Time is precious in the morning. I hurried home from the ferry yesterday because the new dog sitter was meeting us at the house to get some operating instructions. When I went to bed last night, I thought that I left my computer in the trunk of my car. When I went to retrieve it this morning, it wasn’t there.

I started a low-boiling panic. I looked through the car, then the living room and office. I could visualize it hanging on that hook in the ferry bathroom. I started going through a checklist of all the things I would have to do to try to track it down in the last day before my vacation, right before the release of a project I’ve been working on for the last seven months.

Then I found it in the bedroom.

I must have brought it in yesterday, as is my habit, and set it down before I picked up Finn in the nursery. It all happened automatically, in the background of my conscious thought.

It happened again yesterday. I was cleaning out this special nursing bottle that Taya uses. We have this cord that she uses to suspend it from her neck and, in order to not lose this while I was cleaning the bottle in a public restroom, I put it around my neck. Later, I clipped the clean bottle to the cord — I distinctly remembered doing that. When she was looking for the cord at 3 a.m. this morning, though, I had no memory of taking it off. I looked around, half asleep, for five minutes before I remembered that I took it off and put it with some of his other stuff when we were cleaning up to leave.

The difference is this: securing the cord was important (so I remembered it); placing it with his other stuff that would be coming with us was not important (so I didn’t).

Why does that happen? Is it a good thing? Being a new parent means that I have to focus on so many little details. I can’t retain them all.

God. Becoming a parent is a whole new level of anxiety. Again, that’s something I would have known in advance theoretically, but the experience of it is still surprising.

When I’m changing Finn, he seems indestructible. He doesn’t really like being changed, so he flexes his body and either stretches out his limbs or curls them up. It’s such a relief. I can curl him back, change his clothes or diapers and all I have to withstand his is complaint.

After he’s fed, though, he seems just like a cooked noodle. It’s as if all of his bones have dissolved and his breathing seems labored and shallow. Shit, I think, I’ve got to keep this kid alive somehow. I’ve got to keep him moving, awake. It’s like that scene in the movie when the character is over-dosing on a drug or is hypothermic. “Don’t you die on me, man!”

And there’s SIDS! I don’t think you can imagine how much of my brain cycles are devoted to calculating the risk of SIDS. Let’s just say that I think about SIDS about as much as I used to think about sex…when I was 17.

I love him dearly. He’s the most important person in my life, and it feels like his tenuous survival is in my hands. What can I do to manage all of this anxiety?

Part of me wants to respond with: endure. Get through this. Calculate the percentages and realize that as long as you hit the milestones — each day he lives — increases his odds of survival.

But another part of me thinks this is wrong, that there’s something broken in my anxiety — a break that will take attention away from what a gift this time with him is. Like someone once said, worry is a prayer for what you don’t want. He is both fragile and strong and I’m doing all the right things to take care of him. Trust in that.