February 14, 2005
Happy Birthday, Molly
Molly's been around for a year now, but I've aged about three. Caring for her has been an education and a challenge, a spiritual rejuvenation and a physical stress, a delightful scientific experiment and a wrenching self-examination. The commitment is utter, but the reward is tangible, almost as if a final missing piece of my heart has been found at last.
She's cruising and babbling with gusto now, and it won't be long till she speaks her first word and takes her first step. She's over twenty pounds, which puts her on the low end of the size scale, but well within normal growth parameters. We've even turned her car seat around so she can face forward, which makes her happier (yes!).
Our early luck in regard to her sleeping all night has run out. She wakes up pretty regularly during the night, and, if she can't be quickly soothed, Mom or I have to sleep with her on our chest on the couch. Only fellow parents can empathize with the feelings of aggravation and affection at those moments.
My current favorite behavior by Molly involves food. Molly absolutely must have a bit of whatever we're eating. She'll crawl over, under, into, and around anything to get to her prize: my plate. In the morning, when I'm sitting on the edge of the couch and eating cereal, her face appears, grinning, in the space between my knees and bowl. The beast must be fed!
The work I anticipated as a new father--changing diapers, feeding, dressing--has proven to not be the true parental labor. The real challenge has been more abstract and personal. What and how to teach her? How to balance work, personal time, and caring for Molly? How to share the workload with Momma? Is this TV show appropriate, even for a one-year-old? The decisions, not the physicality, of child-rearing drain the energy.
Thank you, Molly. In your short life, you've taught your parents what they're made of and what you're capable of. In one little body, you manifest the primal act of passing on the genes, the spark of life that makes us greater than the sum of our parts, and the limitless human potential embodied in all of us.
Happy Birthday, Molly.
Edit: Added pics.Posted by tat at February 14, 2005 10:15 AM