Recently Mommy and I started going to a new Sunday School class, which mainly consists of other parents with young kids.
One young wife, who is very pregnant with her first child, learned that I daily document my experiences of parenthood with you, here on The Dadabase.
She responded, laughing, “Oh, well I guess that means we will be coming to you for parenting advice!”
I laughed with her, but seconds later, thought to myself, “Actually, I don’t really give advice. I simply just write about each baby step as well as every major milestone that I observe as a parent. But I don’t actually give advice, day to day. Not really.”
It’s been a process, for me, though.
I remember a couple of years ago, when I talked about and endorsed the “cry it out method” on a weekly basis.
By default, the cry it out method was right for our family, but it obviously isn’t for everyone.
I think it used to sort of matter to me that in my mind, my way was right, and the other ways were wrong.
Another example was how I used to be, in essense, anti-attachment parenting.
These days, I don’t want be known for what I am against, but instead, for what I do believe in.
This moment might be me trying to process that concept.
It’s amazing how little “being right” matters to me anymore. Maybe it’s because I’ve learned that for the most part, “being right” is a relative thing.
Back in 2011, I cared more about trying to convince people of stuff.
Not anymore. These days I just narrate my life and let the free market of freethinkers take its course.
And so it shall go for all other future events in your life:
I will talk about what’s going on, covering which personal decisions and lifestyle choices I encounter as a parent, but I don’t think there is any part of me that cares about converting anybody anymore, to whatever viewpoint I have.
Yet still, I am very passionate about what I talk about; it’s just that I only really talk about what I am passionate about.
It’s actually funny to me now, considering I used to care about “being right” in parenting.
The way I see it now, is that I don’t give parenting advice, I just simply go through new phases in my life, consisting of both baby steps and major milestones. If my perspective and narration accidentally serves as advice, well… then I will consider myself accidentally honored.
Something I am really enjoying about our vacation this year is that you have older cousins here to babysit and entertain (and “dote” on) you the entire time.
Granted, that doesn’t mean I have no responsibilities. I’m still helping with meals, baths, and bedtime. But for the most part, I sort of feel like I’m actually on vacation a little bit more than usual.
You’re having plenty of fun and it’s okay that I have more of passive role this week.
“My reasons for wanting another child, when I sporadically do, are never sincere enough or truly legitimate… If we’re going to grow our family, I want it to be ‘for the right reasons,’ and I’m not even sure what they are anyway.”
So since I wasn’t sure, I asked my friends on Facebook, “What are the “right reasons” for having another child?… What are the wrong reasons?”
My friend Alissa summed it up perfectly, in my opinion: “The right reasons are if you want another child. The wrong are if other people tell you you should.”
On top of that, my friend Rhonda gave me an answer I related to 100% at this point in my life:
“Someone asked me this the other day, and when I got honest it just came down to not wanting the responsibility & stress of more children. Selfish maybe, but true. No plans right now to have any more.”
I love her simple honesty.
It’s true for me, personally. Because it’s not that I can’t handle the responsibility and stress of a child. Instead, I am saying that the responsibility and stress of another child, in addition to one already, is enough of a reason to justify not having another child.
Others may disagree, but I don’t see anything selfish about admitting that.
I don’t see it as selfish for me to feel, think, and say out loud that you make our family complete and that if it’s up to me, at this point, I would choose not to take on more responsibility and stress like that. Again, that could change.
Like clockwork, Mommy could find out we’re having another baby around your 4th birthday. That seems to be the ironic plot line for families of three who plan to remain families of three, at least.
With today being a special day, Father’s Day to be exact, Mommy decided to make our family some of her magical vegan cupcakes.
You got lucky. She let you lick the cake batter from the mixing bowl.
To keep the chocolate “mud” from getting all over your clothes, Mommy and I decided it was best that we strip you down to just your diaper.
Immediately afterwards, Mommy went upstairs to fold the laundry.
That meant it was just you and me.
That’s when things got weird…
You placed the mixing bowl in the middle of the kitchen floor, then begin circling it while holding your spoon to your forehead. (Technically dangerous, though things often are when you’re on my watch.)
It didn’t help that you were by that point “toddler drunk” from the mix of the sugar and the missed nap.
I had a feeling I needed to capture this on video. I couldn’t have known what was about to happen during those 38 seconds I recorded you.
So, actually, here ya go…
Watch the clip of what happened:
That’s right. In the middle of your ancient tribal dance, you gave me the gift that keeps on giving… as you put it, “It was a gas!”
Thank you for my coffee cup. Thank you for my new swim trucks and t-shirt. Thank you for the cool dinosaur Father’s Day card you picked out especially for me.
And while I’m at it, I guess I might as well thank you for the… hilarious memory, too!
Last week as I was putting you to bed one night, in the pitch dark, I heard you say, “Here, Daddy…”.
Expecting for you to give me one of your half a dozen Hot Wheels cars as a parting gift before I made my way downstairs, I reached out my hand.
My instant response: “Ewwwww! GROSS!”
Yes, it was a big, long, slimy booger you had just picked fresh for me. It felt like the size of a caterpillar.
That sort of ruined the whole ambiance of the “settle down” part of the night.
Another strange surprise I experienced, also while putting you down for the night, was when I asked you which song you wanted me to sing for your bedtime song.
Your request: “Nooning.”
Having no clue what that was supposed to mean, I started singing the word “nooning” to a made-up tune I hoped would sound like some famous traditional Chinese folk song.
You interrupted my glorious musical number: “No! Talk about it!”
Talking about “nooning” was definitely more difficult than singing it; I must admit.
At that moment, I imagined you as a toddler talk show host, introducing the topic for the episode that day.
During those final minutes before I officially put you to bed before leaving the room each night, you basically just see what kind of random stuff you can say and get away with… and so do I.
To celebrate our mutual randomness in the pitch black darkness of your bedroom at 7:43 PM each night, I have now added Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 hit “Dancing In The Dark” to my list of bedtime songs to sing as I’m holding you.
When it comes to intercepting caterpillar-like boogers and trying to figure out what “nooning” really is, this gun’s for hire.
Well, you and I were recently having one of those kind of mornings…
You were physically struggling so hard with me as I tried to put on your pants, it reminded me of a WWE wrestling match. You were so upset with me you were crying and throwing a classic tantrum.
I’ve learned by now not to let myself get emotionally caught up in something like this: I realized you and I were not having a rational discussion or disagreement. Instead, it was very irrational.
You had to get dressed, so I continued to calmly communicate that to you as I pulled you shirt over your head.
Then, in your angst, you accidentally hit my shin pretty hard.
I didn’t react at all, because again, I wasn’t emotionally invested in our struggle- I just knew it almost time for us to leave the house and you still were not fully dressed.
The look on my face surely portrayed one confused dad as you tromped on over to the corner of the living room, putting yourself in time-out. You continued crying loud enough to wake our neighbors, stomping your feet and waving your arms in protest.
Yet… you were the one to place yourself in the time-out corner. I never said a word or even gave you my “mad dad” look.
I was too confused to laugh at that moment, so I used that opportunity to pack my lunch.
Then, as I turned my back to make my way to the refrigerator, I saw you strangely moving sideways like Boom Boom from Super Mario Bros. 3, still crying and flailing around, trying to escape from your self-imposed time-out session.
So I let you.
It was a peaceful and sophisticated car ride that morning. We talked about monster trucks and Cheerios, like nothing ever happened.