I feel like I’m doing a poor job documenting my constant evolution into parenthood. My co-parent has written a couple of eloquent and humorous posts about our adventures as parents, and I both love him for it and have to stop myself from becoming actively resentful of the fact that he’s doing such a great job. My only consolation is that I take better (or maybe just more) photos.
And it’s not just the literary documentation of parenthood that T has been doing better. He has dropped into parenthood with nothing short of extreme grace. Maybe he’s like the proverbial duck, paddling like crazy beneath the surface, but he’s just so damn good with Pippin. I’m so used to seeing new fathers sort of bumble about, not really knowing what to do with their babies, but not T. There’s no doubt in how he interacts with his son; he seems to instinctively know that, as long as he’s doing his best, he’s doing it right (which he is, judging by the way Pip lights up any time T enters his line of vision).
Part of the equation, by my judgment, is that T has no frustration-to-anger trigger, or if he does, it hasn’t been discovered yet. A screaming baby doesn’t phase him, and he can move from one potential solution to the next with no dismay about the ones that don’t work. Perhaps his greatest asset is that he doesn’t expect a baby to follow any sense of logic.
I am not so graceful.
I often joke about the fact that Pippin waited two extra weeks to arrive until the astrological calendar flipped to a fire sign — Aries. A calm, tranquil water baby he was not meant to be. No, sir — he would be stubborn, adventurous and feisty, just like his Sagittarius mother.
And while he has his father’s ability to make friends with just about anyone, he also has his mother’s tendency to get pretty darn cranky when he can’t do something he feels like he should be able to do. His wants are many — to grab, roll, crawl, stand, walk, fall sleep when he’s tired — but these physical abilities come more slowly than his cognitive capacity to understand what he can and can’t do.
I feel his frustration, too, because I also want these things for him, and patience has never been one of my virtues. I catch myself saying things like, “Come on, Pip, you know how to do this. I showed you yesterday.” And somewhere in his developing mind, I think his sentiments are the same.
I can’t count how many times people have told me to enjoy every moment while it lasts, that it goes by so fast. It’s not that I don’t believe them. It’s just that, no matter how hard I try to enjoy the present moment, I can’t help wanting to fast forward a bit.
I want to fast forward to the time when we can have conversations, even if they’re simple or one-sided ones, where I can experience his expression of the connections his brain is making for the first time.
I want to fast forward to the time when we can run around outside together and have adventures where we marvel at how mysterious and magical and weird the world is.
I want to fast forward to the time when I can teach him how to kick a soccer ball or throw a baseball or ride a bike or climb a tree.
Mostly, I want to fast forward to the time when the fact that our personalities are so similar means we get to connect instead of exhausting each other.
And then I want to pause. Because those are the times I know will go too fast. For now, though, I’ll keep looking for gems and hold tight to the ones I find (his honking laughter, his babbling, the way his breath sounds when he falls asleep on my shoulder after a particularly tiring fit). I’m new at this, but I think maybe that, rather than shaming myself for not enjoying every moment, is the way to a fortune.