The other day I remarked to a friend now that I am a dad I celebrate over things that I would have considered pretty unspectacular a year ago. Now, I’m ready to declare a parade or throw a giant New Year’s Eve-sized celebration. The problem is that the only other person who shares in my excitement is my wife. I really don’t care too much that almost no one else appreciates these accomplishments I’ve had with Everett, because as a dad, I know each one of them are marvelous events.
Getting Everett to drink all the breast milk from the bottle: Remember how last week I cried and moaned about how great a challenge it was to get Everett to drink any milk from a bottle? His stubbornness to drink from a bottle meant that it limited how long I could look after Everett without Emily, or at least, it meant that after about two hours, our time together would start to become a little less enjoyable than sticking my head into a bag full of rabid badgers (or I assume, because I’ve actually never tried). We decided to start using a new bottle, and hallelujah, a miracle took place. Since that torturous night I recounted in my column, I’ve fed Everett three times with a bottle, and I seemed to have convinced him it is a fine way to have your meal. Four months ago, I would not have thought getting my son to drink from a bottle would warrant me screaming for joy and running laps around the house.
Everett lifting his head up high during tummy time: I’m not even sure if I knew “tummy time” was something you did with a baby a year ago. Now, it is a daily routine, and one that I’ve started to get very excited about. Initially, “tummy time” meant five minutes of Everett lying face down while he created a pool of drool. Then it became time where Everett lifted his head long enough to cry out that he did not enjoy it. Now, Everett not only will laugh and talk during “tummy time” but he’ll elevate his head and shoulders high off the ground. I’m a big Chicago Bears fan, but I think I was filled with more excitement when my son had a successful “tummy time” than when my beloved team made the playoffs. I’d never thought my son’s ability to lift himself a little bit off the ground would fill me up with so much pride and joy.
Making my son laugh to the point he shakes: Everett has been talking and laughing for a while, and that first smile still ranks as one of the most magical moments of my life. Recently Everett has not only done his “cooing” and “ooing”, but he has unleashed laughter that gets so strong that he’ll start to shake. It makes me feel like the greatest comedian in the world. Not only is it a great boost to my ego, but it is a delight to see my son enjoy himself so much. Being able to make a baby explode into a fit of laughter probably doesn’t mean I’m ready to tour comedy clubs, but it is one of the greatest pleasures for a parent.
I admit the things that thrill me as a parent may not seem too impressive. But they’ve become some of the greatest highlights of my life. My son’s little accomplishments are now the most important part of my day, and this is more proof I’ve now completely entered into the world of parenting.