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Adam Had'em (A Parenting Diary pt.3)

By Adam Thomas

Friday May 29, 2009

Month 3

Dear Diary:

There is something strange going on in that little brain of that daughter of mine. If you read the books, which I suggest you do sparingly, there are typically two kinds of babies. The sleep-for-fifteen-hours-a-day kind and the sleep-at-night-up-for-the-day kind. Ours is the latter. She sleeps, for the most part, through the night and on occasion her mother and I have woken up high-fiving each other because we got a good seven, maybe even eight hours of dreamtime ourselves. But these days that’s it. Once our precious little drooler snaps open her lids, she’s on the go, with the exception of a couple of 20 minute milk-drunk burn outs right after feeding, for the rest of the day. This is apparently both good and bad. A suspicious and recurring theme that seems to apply to everything babies do. Everything except for when they pee on you because you are holding them up without a diaper on. You’ve done this because they peed 2 minutes ago and so it’s got to be totally safe to hold them without a diaper on now because they couldn’t have to go pee again so soon. Wrong. Be warned, they will pee. And it’s neither good nor bad but apparently it’s some kind of inherent, built in form of infant payback. Like marking territory.

While it’s amazing to see the daily changes, her evolving moods and unrelenting desire for entertainment, or as we call it “a desire to be part of the action,” can be, quite frankly a little draining. At this point she’s just a little above totally useless, and that’s progress and now that she no longer needs the neck splint I jerryrigged to keep her head from flapping about, she is keen to take in everything this big old world has to offer.

But the tough part is that she still really can’t do anything. Sure she can flap her arms and make eye contact. Maybe kick her doughboy legs and grab things and drool, but so what? Big deal. She still can’t control these things, let alone put her mind to any one task, so it’s easy to imagine that it must be pretty frustrating for her. To a degree she is trapped between two states. She is beginning to become aware and she is now aware that she is useless. This I suspect, would be the reason for her sudden mood changes. From gummy grin to raging hellion in seconds flat. Hell if I was stuck in a diaper all day with only the most basic use of my body, I would get pretty bored, pretty fast too. She does seem to like watching movies though, which is not a recommended activity, but then neither was the neck splint and that worked out pretty well.

What’s really changing is not her, but me. Yes, she’s changing and sure all this development is awesome, but it’s to be expected. I mean if it wasn’t I would definitely be thinking about bridges and burlap sacks. Her mom would come home after a walk and I’d be all “what baby?” Like if a baby didn’t develop, and all you got for life was this super-cute, super-dependent, crying little useless thing that never grew or changed … well that would be fucked and the human species would have died out centuries before we killed off the dinosaurs.

But what’s happening now is that I’ve found myself becoming more like a coach than a father. At this age there just isn’t much to father, she’s too young for preteen pregnancy counseling and so instead I end up on ground level, encouraging her movement, guiding her hands and cheering when she does something, anything, that resembles a normal human body movement. And this I suspect is a careful, unconscious, though ultimately selfish effort to increase the speed of her development. In all honesty, I just can’t wait for her to walk. I don’t care so much about the talking, quite frankly I imagine the talking, while surely cute to others will often be frustrating because it will probably be years before she has anything interesting to say. I know, I know, but honestly, while it may be cute hearing little children struggle with words and it’s amazing as a parent to see your child’s brain working overtime to access the language database it has been compiling, there is bound to be a certain amount of incessant nattering about things I will not understand, not because I can’t grasp the wonder, but rather it won’t make actual sense.

Regardless Sylvie is not there yet. She’s still “cooing” and “ahgaahing” and I’m still on the mat with her coaxing her little hands to grab, and touch and helping her understand the basic realities like legs have other functions other than being spastic wands with feet.

We are in training. All this fundamental motor-function stuff is just the foundation so that she can get up off the floor and like the human she was born to be, stand up on her own two feet and run towards her future. Then I can also start getting her to bring me cold beer from the fridge in the garage.