Exactly one year ago today, Kate and I sat down to watch the State of the Union but had a hard time focusing due to the fact that we would be at the hospital inducing labor in less than 12 hours. All four grandparents were in attendance, Obama was on the tube, and Max (then “Zig”) was sleeping upside down in Kate’s belly. My stomach was in knots, not from anything said by the President or anything political…I was simply scared about the idea of giving birth. Would it be crazy? Would Kate be okay? Is the baby okay? What if Max is ugly? What if I suck as a husband and this is where Kate realizes it? Am I ready to be a parent? What if…? What if…? What if?
So many questions were answered the next day and over the next year. Turns out parenting is pretty awesome – it helps when you have a kid as sweet as Max and a wife as calm as Kate. Simply put, giving birth was stressful…but the moment Max was in my arms life was better. He made everything more fun.
When I started writing about Max it was because I felt the information out there for soon-to-be dads was belittling. Books talked to us as if we were emotionally stinted children who shoved our feelings in the corner and believed the Stork brought babies to parents. Statistically moms feel like “Mom” the moment they become pregnant but dads don’t feel like “Dad” till they hold the baby…or months after. Women tend to visualize their new child as a newborn that relies on them while men tend to visualize their new child as a toddler or kid they can play with and converse with. I think that is why dads are always excited to see kids progress to new levels of development while moms are sad to see their babies grow up. Max…is growing up.
Tomorrow he will be 1-year-old. He is already on the verge of eating us out of house and home. He has learned sign language and can communicate easily these things:
- I’m hungry
He also waves hello/good-bye, high fives, low fives, clinks cups when you say “cheers,” imitates our moves, points, claps, and can say simple words like:
Last night in the bath he grabbed his rubber duck and looked at Kate to clearly say “Ducky.” He loves lights, chandeliers, lamps, fans, etc. and is obsessed with turning them on and off via the wall switch. If you ask him “What does the Incredible Hulk do?” He promptly shakes his fist and makes an angry grunting sound…followed by bouts of laughter. He is very ticklish on his neck, in his armpits, and the bottoms of his feet. He loves yogurt, fruit, and eggs. If you are eating food…he wants what you are eating. The cat now tolerates him as he has learned to pet the cat gently…for a while. He pounds on the window every morning when I get in my car to go to work and runs to the front door every night when I get home. He thinks kissing means drooling on your face so don’t ask for a kiss…though he may oblige you with a quick hug, he’s usually too busy to pause for a hug. His version of blowing a kiss is placing his hand over his entire face and then making a loud spitting/farting sound. His babbling sounds are:
- Dirka dirka dirka…dirkeeeeeee!!!
- Ba ba ba ba…BA BA BA BA!!!!
- (whispering) dee dee dee da da do do dee dee…
If he falls down he cries for a minute then looks to see if you are paying attention…if you are not he stops. When scolded he does a weak attempt at fake crying that is akin to an old lady asking a question with a long “ehhhhh” sound. He loves Tupperware, plastic bottles, boxes, and paper. Swinging is his favorite at the playground but this week he did his first solo run on the slide and WOW! He likes his shoes, plays well by himself, loves bath time, loves books, and when placed in his crib while still awake…he goes to bed on his own. When he draws he pokes the paper with the crayon instead of dragging it. He still seems to be left-handed though he is showing proficiency with both. He has some sweet dance moves. He loves being sung to. He holds his own sippy cup and rarely needs the binky.
He is…almost a 1-year-old. A few hours left of being a baby…but he’ll always be my baby boy. My Max.