All things considered, I have to say I am absolutely happy being a dad and would have it no other way now. I know at one point that I couldn't envision myself where I am now, but having arrived and living the life of a parent, I have to say I enjoy it. Is the balancing act always easy? Not at all, but I find that when I look at everything in perspective with family placed number one on my list, the balancing isn't so hard. Sometimes, the easiest way I have to look at everything that needs to get done is through the lens of my family. If what I am doing does not benefit my family directly, then it can be postponed. For me, it is as simple as that. Yes, the demands of work are always there, always present, always creeping in from the edges, but they don't matter nearly as much to me as my family does. In any case, I don't just want to talk about my happiness as a father today although I could go on that tangent for quite some time. As always, my thoughts drift to our son and his life, his growing, his developing, his character. And also the surprises. Two days ago, as I was about to start writing my blog, I was startled by a blood curdling scream that erupted from the baby monitor we have in our kitchen. There was no build up to it, just a spontaneous high pitched screaming that came from our son. Instinctively, I thought it might be a nightmare as he had never screamed like that before or woken up that quickly. Needless to say, I jumped up and had to go see what was wrong. When I entered his room, he was standing at the edge of his crib, gripping the rail, and screaming. As soon as I picked him up he started calming down. I held him and rocked him for a few minutes at which point I figured I would try putting him back in his crib to try and sleep some more. Stupid dad, what was I thinking. As soon as I stood up and moved towards his crib, his grip on me became like the jaws of life and he screamed so loud by my left ear that I swear I lost half the hearing on that side (at least temporarily). I quickly retreated to the rocking chair where I continued to rock him for about a half hour at which point I knew he wasn't falling back asleep and the rocking motion was almost putting me to sleep. At that point, we went downstairs a little earlier than normal and started playing. Despite that one incident, he was perfectly fine and got right back to normal.
So despite that minor hiccup, I am truly amazed with our son's understanding and ability to execute requests when asked. In fact, when he is getting a little out of hand, a little high strung and manic, it seems if we ask him to do something, he calms down and actually enjoys carrying out the request for us. Obviously it doesn't always happen that way, but when it does, it is nice. It seems that sometimes he just wants to help out and if we can give him small little things to do, he enjoys it. Yesterday, as I was watching him in the evening, he indicated that he wanted some water, which he calls gaga (I have no idea where that came from). As all his water cups were in my wife's car, I grabbed her water bottle instead and gave him that to drink from. Sometimes it can be a little tricky for him as the water flows out easily once the bottle is tipped, a big difference from having to suck on a cup to get the water. Occasionally he takes a little too much water and ends up in a coughing fit from having it go down the wrong pipe. Yesterday, though, he didn't really have that problem. He walked around the whole house, water bottle in hand, trying to drink while walking. At one point, I was putting something away in the refrigerator when I turned around to seem him holding the bottle upside down over our living room carpet and shaking it. Luckily he had just started and not much water had poured out, but it was kind of cute. I took the bottle away and explained that we don't pour water on the floor. He started to get upset that I took the bottle away but I turned it around, grabbed some paper towel and asked him to clean up the mess on the carpet. He took the paper towel, ran over to the carpet, and started wiping up the water. I was amazed that he did that as we have never asked him to do something like that before. When wiping the carpet, he didn't stop when he got all the water, he wanted to continue wiping the carpet. Before he shredded the paper towel on the carpet, I stopped him, told him we got it all, and asked if he could throw the paper towel in the garbage in the kitchen. So off he runs to the kitchen, opens up the cabinet under the sink, and throws the paper towel away.
Its amazing to watch how much he is understanding. What makes it easier now is that he nods his head yes when we ask him a yes or no question. He hasn't quite figured out how to shake his head no, he just remains silent instead. However the shaking of the head yes makes it much easier to ascertain exactly what is wants. He doesn't say the word no yet, however, we think that his word for no is oww, as if he is getting hurt. His focus is getting deeper when playing with toys and he is slowly becoming less dependent on us for his playing. We are obviously close by whenever he is playing, but a lot of times now, we just have to sit there, watch, and be there if he wants our help with something. His frustration during play is diminishing, however, and that is a big however, it is increasing when it comes to not getting something that he wants. There are even little flashes of anger when something really doesn't go his way including pushing or pulling, or squeezing really hard all while having this ticked off look on his face. Hello, terrible two's. In all honesty, though, I find that it really isn't that bad especially if we take the time to explain why he can't do something or why things are the way they are. It seems to help him settle down a little and move past the anger. Hopefully we can keep all of his anger to a minimum, but I know it will get worse before it gets better. For now, I just love watching him learn, grow, and develop. It is so exciting to see his knowledge of the world quickly expanding and how he is truly becoming his own person. He is a little nutjob to be sure, but he is our little lovable nutjob and we would have it no other way.