Maybe the reason I was so afraid of having kids was that I was really afraid of babies. Well afraid isn’t the correct word but I had very little experience with them; they intimidated me because I had no point of reference with how to deal with them. I saw two nephews and one niece as babies but I rarely was left in charge or even held them for that matter. I was so afraid I might break them they were just so helpless. Of course my experience didn’t go past a weekend visit so I didn’t have the 24/7 exposure that a parent is subjected to.
So now after over five months my eyes are truly open to the wonders of babies and I’m not really sure what it was I was afraid of. Sure the first month is pretty tough with a learning curve that is basically straight up but it levels off over time and these babies are far better designed than I ever expected. As long as you don’t take to poking the soft spot on their heads with a Bic pen they can put up with a lot more than any adult can. Once they can hold up their own melon these little marvels are really quite amazing.
My little girl loves, I mean loves having her feet in her mouth and when she’s naked on the change table that’s the first thing on her agenda. She can do it dressed but I guess the fabric from her sleepers or her socks doesn’t quite taste the same. A sure-fire way to get her laughing is to sing her a song and while following the rhythm put her feet to her face. What adult other than a gymnast or contortionist can do this? These little marvels are just that and have abilities and powers way beyond grown ups. There is nothing I mean nothing that can top the feeling you get when your daughter smiles at you because she’s happy to see you. There is nothing in nature that can elicit that feeling other than your own child. JoAnn recently said to me she guessed she was now number two in my life but as I pointed out to her I was also number two in her life also. I’m ok with that and I accept the fact that this little girl is the most important responsibility our lives for the next couple decades. This five and half month nearly sixteen pound pink food processor that demands constant attention and drools a lot had taken full custody of our hearts. It really doesn’t matter how much I love my wife or how beautiful I think she might be this little girl had moved in and taken over big time.
What I think really gets me is I can’t remember a time where Katie wasn’t in our lives and yet JoAnn and I have been together over thirteen years now. Is there regret we didn’t do this sooner, maybe a little now but I wouldn’t trade the pre baby years we spent together for anything different now.
Every week Katie discovers something new. Be it finally realizing the power of opposable thumbs to undo her diaper as fast as her mother puts it on her or trying to master motorboat sounds with her tongue (this is a work still in progress but it’s not from lack of trying). And now she’s onto solid food so I get the chance to feed her. Of course this has so far had the positive side effect to slow down the hot potato game, as she doesn’t have as many poppy diapers. In fact she’s gone over a week between full shorts but it hasn’t hurt her ability to pass gas and now they have all the benefits of any good fart, they smell. No more little cutesy baby farts for my little girl she can clear a room like no one. I’m afraid this looks like it’s only going to get worse so I’m shopping for a full-face gas mask to help make diaper changes a little less painful.
She took to solid food so fast you can’t load up a spoon fast enough she’s already waiting and snapping at the spoon as it approaches. Better yet using her opposable thumbs to grab your hand and ram the spoon down her throat. That is a problem there are simple things you take for granted that kids have to learn and it seems it’s usually painful. Painful as a parent to watch and painful for the baby as they learn limits like how far a spoon can go into your mouth before it gets uncomfortable. The great thing is again they are so resilient that a few consoling words and a little hug and were right back to shoveling more food. They really aren’t as delicate as I ever thought they were and now that Katie is sitting and able to grab I take great pleasure in holding her in the air over me as I lie on the couch or hanging her upside down which makes her laugh while she tries to reach out to you. I know JoAnn cringes when she see’s me rough housing with her and that’s not going to get any better as she gets older. I’m sure she’s just waiting for us to break something so she can tell us to cool it.
One thing Katie still won’t do with me is fall asleep. She can be so tired rubbing her eyes lying on me but she will fuss and whine till she’s handed off to her mother where she promptly falls asleep. I think we are getting close and I’m sure we’ll have a break through soon enough. When JoAnn hands her off to me already asleep and I hold her it’s such a gorgeous feeling I couldn’t hope to describe it here. She will wake ever so slightly see it’s me holding her and she’ll drop her head and close her eyes and that just sends me knowing she approves. It’s pretty sad a five-month-old babies approval means that much to a grown man but it really does. It’s magical knowing she trusts me and feels she’s safe and secure, of course she may be just to tired to give a crap but I tell myself it’s the former and we both feel good.
I’m not sure what’s next on the development front as I leave the book reading to JoAnn I just take it as it comes but I know she wants to walk. If you hold her by her hands she immediately puts one foot in front of the other and starts walking of course she has to perfect this whole standing thing first. I guess you have to learn to crawl before you run but I feel she’ll be tearing up the hardwood in no time. She is taking interest in anything new and now if you have her on your lap drinking anything it can be a challenge as little hands try to grab your glass or hot mug. This is when you start to look around and realize what a death trap for children we really live in. I know before I write another word here in the future I’ll have had to go to town child proofing the house not only to protect her but to guard personal property from emanate destruction. It’s something I always thought was a little silly but now I see how little curious fingers have no boundaries and it’s up to us to build them.
Everyday as she grows and learns we as parents grow and learn how to react to her both to further stimulate her but also to protect her. This is my life long commitment to her to look after her and I fear that day when I have to let her go forth on her own. We can equip her with knowledge best we can but sometimes you can’t control outside influences. Now when I see distraught parents on TV news pleading for the return of their child I can relate with the feeling of loss as I know I’d be frantic if I was in their position. For now I’m not ready to cut that cord.