On Fatherhood: Eight(ish) Months
The Best and Worst Journey Ever
Rosalyn is nearly 8 months old now. (She will be next week.)
It's hard to imagine the tiny red bundle of wrinkles that looked up at us on January 5th is the active, chunky, tall, and sweet baby we know and love today. I had no idea those many months ago how much more tired I would be, and how much more in love with my daughter.
Rosalyn is clapping, sitting up, eating food other than bottles, and quite chatty. She's also been fussy lately. We think she's caught a mostly harmless childhood illness (roseola) and she's been very snotty and fussy lately. Of course, anyone who struggles to breathe through a never-ending stream of snot would be tired and fussy, as well.
The magic of fatherhood, for now, has been watching her grow. Rosalyn is intensely curious about the world around her. She examines items and people closely, and experiments with everything. If she can get her hands on it she's going to smack it against something (generally her forehead or knees, somehow) or shove it in her mouth. I cant help but feel some strange sense of wonder when I watch her turn a toy over and over in her hands, examining it with the seriousness of an archaeologist.
I think some of her recent frustration and fuss is the result of her being ready to get a move on in the house. She is spending more time on blankets on the floor, where she has more freedom to move and play and explore. She is not yet crawling, but it will not be long before we have a mobile ankle biter in this home.
I guess I'm okay with that.
The thing is, the faster she grows the more I want her to grow so I can talk to her and share things about life and the world around us. Yes, right now she approaches things with curiosity, and though I am able to talk to her about them, she is not yet able to articulate her own thoughts back to me. What will my daughter say when she's mastered speech? As she waves her hand back and forth in the air in a sort of dismissive motion, I can't help but imagine she's going to make her opinions quite clear in the near future. I think this is a good thing. As she chats with us we encourage her to keep speaking and keep working.
We need more women to speak in our lives, to share their ideas and dreams and wonders. We need our boys to speak to us too, but I've got a daughter right now, dammit, so I'm all about making sure she has everything she wants and needs in the world. The ability to speak and be heard is so important to me.
Megan and I (mostly Megan) have started a little family tradition. We're writing her letters in journals for when she turns 18 in the far, unknowable future. I hope she takes these writings at that time and sees the love we feel for her. I hope that bring her comfort in difficult times as she goes about her adult life. I think it will. I certainly have to believe in the power of words.
At nearly 8 months, I'm feeling, as a father, more than ever the weight of caring for this tiny wonder. She is no longer so small that I can hold her in a single comfortably. She is into whatever she can reach. She is curious. She is full of smiles. For now, all I can do is love her, and read to her and sing and dance, and show her what love is. We raise her in a house and family of love so that she'll recognize true love when she finds it, and, should she encounter something other than love in her life, know how to recognize that and take care of herself.
She is a fascinating person to watch, and I love her dearly, and I hope to learn even more about her in the future. What an adventure we're having.