Sunday, June 19, 2011
Papa Said V.1
It has been so hard not to post this months ago when the first "Papa Said" arrived in my inbox, but I knew that I wanted to wait all the way until Father's Day to share this new mini-series with all of you. And now, today's the day! For the next eight weeks I'll be posting special words of wisdom from some of my favorite ladies' baby daddies, as a companion to the original Mama Says project. And today, we'll be hearing from mine! Before we get into that though, I have to say thank you to the wonderful Jess over at TART for allowing me to use this adorable photo of her hubby D and their daughter Rowan. I've always loved this picture, and it's truly the perfect choice for this series' feature image. So thanks Jess! We''ll be hearing from them in a couple of weeks too.
But today is all about my wonderful husband, Hank. We've been together for seven years, married for three, and since becoming parents, I don't think I've ever loved him more. It's amazing to see Hank as a father, and I may be biased, but I think he's the best Dad in the entire world. He's a total family man and always puts us first. I love the way he loves Henry, and it's been beyond amazing watching him become a Dad and and to watch him fall so in love with his son. Our marriage was always great, but I feel like since having Henry it's on such a different level. I don't think there's anything that melts my heart more than seeing them together, and no matter how long his work day is, he always finds time to laugh and play and roll around the floor with our little guy. Henry adores him and completely lights up whenever he comes into the room, and I just feel so lucky to be married to someone who will always make parenting his priority. I can't put into words how much I appreciate him.
So, happy first Father's Day, Hank! We love you.
And now, here's his "Papa Said" advice!
When Danielle asked me to do this I was so excited. I get to share a few things that I think are key?! As I thought about it more I realized this was a big task. There are a lot of things that I wish I had known or someone had said to me before we had Henry. Then I realized, I was over thinking the whole thing. It's actually really simple and for me it's getting back to the basics!
The first thing I realized is you can't be too cool. Trust me, I'm too cool a lot of the time. It's probably kind of annoying actually, but that's me. Here's the thing, that all goes out the window once you have a kid. You have to embrace it because you will do whatever you have to to make your kid laugh or smile. I realized for me it's actually about being a kid again. Kids are never scared of being funny or silly. Yeah, sometimes I dance around to make Henry laugh. Sometimes I sing whatever it is I'm doing because I feel like it's good for him to know what's going on, and for some reason it seems like a song is maybe a little more fun for him. It can really be anything. All I know is this, I love him more than life itself and I will do whatever it takes to get a smile or laugh out of him. Did I ever imagine I'd be at a swim class singing "wheels on the bus" with my son? No, but I'm sure glad I am! I think in general being light-hearted and not being too cool for anything is what makes for an awesome parent. As Henry continues to grow I will embrace it all. If he wants to see those kids movies that make me cringe, I will do it. I love him, I just want him to truly enjoy his childhood and always know that dad was stoked on everything we were doing!
Another aspect if having a baby I found to be really interesting was how everyone likes to tell you how they went about raising their kids. How so and so liked this or that so you MUST need it. Here's the bottom line, we got so much stuff when Henry was born. We have stuff still in the packages that has never been used. Once we decided to listen to Henry things got a lot more clear. He doesn't like to be swaddled, he ended up not liking the sleep sack, he just wants his old run of the mill footie pajamas (I don't blame him, I wish I had some too!). This isn't to say that I don't appreciate advice, because I do. It's to say that once we started listening to Henry and his feelings this became a lot more clear. We know what makes him happy and we know what he dislikes. We try new things out but we aren't so quick to rush out and get this or that. It was a epiphany for me when I realized we should listen to him.
The last thought I had, which seems like the most obvious, is this: do not let one second slip by without saving some little part of it in your head. When i was growing up I would complain about wanting to be 18 and my parents would always say it goes by so fast, you'll be there sooner than you realize. Well sure enough they were right. It goes by so quick and I never understood until I was a parent how true that was. Henry will be 7 months in a few days. That is beyond mind blowing. It was just the other day when we brought him home. Now he's crawling around, making cute noises, trying to figure how to stand and starting to be really amused by his parents. Honestly the time has gone so fast. It kills me. I squeeze him and just try to take it all in. I'm not going to have this time back, ever. I know that's such a harsh thing to say but it's reality. I realized now why my parents said that and why it would make them sad when I would say I couldn't wait to grow up. Treasure every moment possible. Thankfully for me Danielle is a master of documenting so we have so much of Henry's life on video or in pictures that makes it slightly less painful. Not by much though. There have been many moments that weren't caught that I just tried to soak in. He's brought me to tears a few times and those amazing memories will live in my head forever. I could go on but you get the point, treasure every moment.
I hope this seems like some okay advice. I know starting out being a dad can be a little crazy, you're not sure what to expect or what you should even be doing. Go with your gut and be light hearted, I think these things are keys. Good luck!