daves first fathers day went well, i think. again, nothing fancy but we got to be together. X performed her first 6 hour sleep stretch as her first gift, and we all stayed in bed until about 10a. then i took her for a walk for her first nap of the day and when i got back we regrouped to head over to the seafood festival that was going on. we tasted some great crab cakes from the "five fishermen" restaurant and some decent halibut by the "delta barrington" restaurant. after viewing the ho-hum oyster shucking contest, we left and headed over to the nearby garrison brewing company. they were having free beer tastings for dads. we picked up some beer for dave (and a chocolate soda for me to try. yum.) and headed home. we spent the rest of the day at home, which was fine with everyone.
so thats what we did on fathers day, and this is what dave has been doing as a father...
we had heard lots of male "advice" before and while i was pregnant that "dads dont start to have any fun with the kid until at least 6 months." so, thats what we were expecting. but that hasnt been true for us. while i do feed X and she needs me for that, all other aspects have been shared or unique to dave. she sleeps best on/with me but she does get daddy sleeping time (both on him and in his sling), plus he changes her diapers, puts her to bed, burps her, and gets in the bathtub with her. and while i list them to appear as duties that get robotically performed day-in, day-out dave doesnt approach them like that at all.
while she once HATED diaper changes, dave has found ways to capture her attention and distract her. she even smiles on the changing table now. he puts her to bed at night, in her swaddle, because he is calm and patient and i think she absorbs that warm, fuzzy feeling and it helps send her into sleepyland. he burps her because im just not good at it, and he seems to be great at it. in fact, give her to dave and she will burp, spit-up, fart, poop, hiccup, etc within a minute. she'll never be constipated. and bathtime...they both love it. he gets in the tub and holds her while i wash. he plays with her and encourages her to kick around and feel comfortable in the water. she really seems to trust him.
as for the non-vital baby activities, he has exceeded my imagination. neither one of us was super calm when she was always crying in the first few weeks. i wondered if we were both going to be high-strung. but, as things have calmed down and we have more confidence, dave has really come into his own. first, when she was still crying a lot, he would often relay to me different things he was noticing about when she cried, how she cried, and his beliefs about why she was crying. i was able to put them together with my observations/intuitions and we were able to come up with our current pattern which seems to be making her cry much less. i have continually been amazed by just how observant he can be. first of all, men are notoriously non-observant (sorry for the jab guys), but more importantly its been a 10 year work-in-progress to get dave in particular to be observant about things like the cleanliness level of the bathroom or for him to see when i am upset about something (he is actually getting WAY good at this now. kinda scary actually). so for him to be so highly in-tune with X is just fascinating to watch.
he has come up with so many ways to help her calm down (many of which only work on her when he does them) that its amazing. when he carries her in his sling she often pokes a hand out and squirms. he finds by giving her his thumb to latch on to she stops fidgeting and falls fast asleep. he calls it her "gripper." she doesnt seem to need it or want it from me, its strictly something they share.
and just as he can calm her down, he can also extract lots of focused energy from her with the games he plays. she smiles and moves her little body and learns more about herself and her surroundings from him. he has one way of holding her where she just stares, transfixed, at his face for what seems like eternity. she knows his voice and seems as equally interested in him as me. and im the one with the food!
boiling it down: dave is already an idyllic father-type and i cant wait to see how it transforms in the future. i always knew anyone would be lucky to have him as a dad, and now i know that X is one little girl who is going to know, every day, how special she is. back when i was pregnant and he mused that he would be able to calm monster down with just his presence...well, he was right. he chips in with more than his fair share of baby duty, finds ways to make his "tasks" fun for her and him, listens and adjusts to her needs, and finds ways to entertain her and show her she is loved. how can a being not thrive in that type of relationship/environment?
thanks for being who you are dave. it never ceases to amaze me how limitless your abilities are. you give all of yourself to us and you arent shy about it. and we cant help but be the best people we can be under that kind of influence. i love you. always.
(a safe and fun place to be)