She’s warming up to me

As has been pointed out many times in the past, Kayleigh is a mama’s girl. It’s kind of hard to compete with all of the time she spends with The Woman, so I figured it was best to just give up and hope for a boy next time around.

Kidding! I’m only kidding. You know he’d be a mama’s boy anyway…

Lately The Moppet has seemingly taken more of a shine to her old man. Beyond merely accepting me as a substitute for when the preferred personnel is unavailable, she actually appears to desire my company on occasion. First it began with some late mornings. Sleeping in past 8:30 left me with no option but to head off without a hug or kiss or even a demand that I leave the room and get Mommy. Much to my surprise, once awake she asked where I was and wasn’t I joining in all of the festivities.

And here I thought she didn’t even know I existed.

Today the expansion of my role continued, thanks to a half day at work so The Woman could flex her bread winning ways. Who would have guessed that the girl who popularized the phrase “No, mommy will do it” would express joy that I came home early. She even let me hold her after her failed nap, despite The Woman being readily available.

Just to emphasize how buddy-buddy she was acting, the night concluded with a father/daughter dinner at Whole Food listening to a jazz duo. Sure, she was totally bonkers from the lack of a nap, but I had a blast chasing her around the store and dancing with her in front of the crowd. They were clearly jealous of our moves. I’m hoping this becomes our “thing” – a way for us to bond while simultaneously combating the overexposure to Billy Joel courtesy of her mother. Sooner or later she’s got to pick up something more from me then screaming “holy cow” at the TV whenever certain sporting events are on.

Supra Genius

I’m sitting here in front of my computer with some “spare” time thanks to my new morning routine (it’s only sort of working, but much better than before, thank you very much) and can’t think of a single thing to actually write about. So I start diving into the drafts to see if any unfinished thoughts can get themselves finished. And the first one to tickle my fancy is date… JULY OF 2009?!?! Brilliant. Sprucing it up for now would entail a complete rewrite, so I’ll just start with what was here already:

I never want to become the kind of parent that completely blows every little thing their child does out of the water. The kind that insists that their precious baby is the most beautiful or the most athletic or the most intelligent. But the fact that Kayleigh is the most beautiful baby girl makes that a little hard to do. And now I’ve got to deal with the fact that she’s just too frickin’ smart for a 1 year old.

Let’s preface this by saying that all babies are smart. Really smart. Seriously. Just ask any parent. We’re amazed at the level of genius they reach that allows them to pick up a straw and not poke their own eye out. They master the hand-eye coordination necessary to throw their toys without smacking themselves in the face and they deserve mounds of praise. Hell, parents go crazy when they manage to poop – something

Kayleigh hasn’t been that interested in the whole mobility thing. At about a week past her first birthday she’s just now getting frustrated with not being able to reach items on her own. Instead she’s been focused on more intellectual pursuits – such as which words will bend Mommy and Daddy to her will. She’s also learned how to turn and wait for the appropriate praise upon completion of a task as difficult as pointing out a circle. As I said, she’s becoming quite the intellectual.

Her brain has just started moving at a ridiculous pace lately. One day a couple weeks ago I’m watching her play with a wooden puzzle – this typically involves her taking out all of the pieces and tossing them over her shoulder. This time, however, she suddenly decides to start putting them back. In the right place! She matches the blue circle piece with the blues circle hole and the orange square piece with the orange square hole. DO YOU KNOW HOW CRAZY DIFFICULT THAT IS?!?!

Okay, it’s not like she did the whole thing or does it on a regular basis, but these are the minor activities that send parents over the edge. And I totally get that now.

It’s kind of a shame I didn’t just pot it as is. That was a pretty solid entry. My point was that watching babies do things isn’t that exciting – but watching a baby grow up is. Crawling, walking, talking, etc. – pretty much all babies get around to doing this. But that doesn’t change how awesome it is to watch one figure it out.

I remember in those innocent days of my 20s having no clue want parenthood was about listening to people ask questions like “Is he playing peek-a-boo yet?” All I could think was who cares? He’s probably not playing tic-tac-toe either, is that really a big deal? And then one morning on the changing table Kayleigh pulled a cloth over her head and pulled it down to play peek-a-b00 and suddenly… HOLY CRAP, MY BABY’S A GENIUS!

It all came together that these little milestones really show off how newborns, babies and toddlers learn. Realizing that for the first time she was deliberating trying to hide meant way more than simply a new game in her repertoire. It was a demonstration of her understanding the world around her and how it works.

So this post may seem a tad ill-timed considering Kayleigh is now a “fully functional” toddler. But those moments still come. Whether it’s figuring out how to put together a jigsaw puzzle or realizing why we want her to sit on the potty (seriously, peeing elicited a response you might think would be reserved for pony rides or a shower of puppies), there’s still plenty more to discover.

And also, my girl really is a freakin’ genius. But I’ll talk about that later…

Wake me up before you…

I used to be a morning person. Alright, to be fair I was an anytime person. The Woman has said that I’m the only person she knows that you can wake up in the middle of the night and expect to be completely functional and rational within 2 minutes. Some call it a gift, I call it… useful.

But while I could easily stay up until 2 and still be bright eyed and bushy tailed at 7 am for years, that came screeching to a halt at the most inconvenient time. A few months before the little moppet was born sleep started to become an issue for me. And then she was born. And, I don’t know if you know this, but newborns can cause trouble for your sleep habits. My night times went from only needing 5 hours or so to needing 8 hours to only getting 3 hours. Kids sure are inconvenient.

I don’t feel like rehashing the whole sleep progression thing again. Kayleigh has become an excellent nighttime sleeper these days, and that means that we get to sleep in past 7 am 99% of mornings. Of course not much further than that, mind you, since my internal alarm clock is now pretty much permanently wired for 7:15. Initially we were so afraid of this new morning routine not lasting that we packed our evenings with as much TV watching, Internet surfing, time wasting activities we could muster. That started a very bad habit of staying up later than was good simply to maximize the adult time – but without really doing anything beyond clearing the DVR.

So now I’m thinking that I need to re-wire myself back to being a morning person. It’s time for me to get up before Kayleigh and actually accomplish things. When she wakes up I should be sitting at my computer writing and listening to music while already showered, shaved and fed. For this to work some boundaries need to be put in place. Stop watching the umpteenth rerun of Scrubs simply because it’s on TV. Don’t try to start typing up a post at 11:30 with eyelids already drooping. And for goodness sakes, give Angry Birds a rest already!

Seriously, those green pigs can wait ’til tomorrow.

Portrait of the young girl as an artist

It’s difficult for parents not to project every little activity a toddler enjoys into her future life. Humming along to a song on the radio? Future singer. Kicking a ball across the yard? Future soccer player. Petting a cat? Future veterinarian. Painting a picture? Future artist.

image

My little girl loves to paint. She loves to color. She loves to stamp ink. She loves music and singing and dancing. Are any of these the future that lay ahead of her? I don’t know. But it seems to me that they will play a part – even if just a small one. And that’s enough to make me smile. If the little scrawls and doodles that adorn our walls at home and even my office are launchpads for nothing more than weekend watercolors in her backyard while taking a break from the daily 9-5, I will still gladly hang up the results.

There is much beauty and creativity in this child and she will learn to express it in whatever terms are best for her.

But sometimes it’s too easy to get wrapped up in 20 years from now.¬†Beyond projecting adulthood endeavors from such simple childhood fun, parents have a tendency to search out their own aspirations in their little ones. While I will happily encourage her to pursue any dreams that come her way, I’ll make sure not to mistake mine for hers.

In the meantime, it’s lovely to simply watch her begin this self discovery – hopefully just part of a very long journey.