Sunday, aka. REAL Father's Day, was the longest day ever. Literally – our day was 39 hours long, and unfortunately about 24 of it was spent in travel. Not such a fun way for Kevin to spend his first father's day, though he did get to eat Burger King and El Pollo Loco, watch almost all of a movie on the plane, and sleep for at least an hour. Or was it half an hour? Anyway, we decided it would be best to have an honorary Father's Day on a day that involved a little less travel and a little more sleep.
In honor of Kevin's first honorary Father's Day, I thought I would share a few of the ways I think he is already a great father. In no particular order...
*He changes a lot of diapers. I know there is that whole stereotype of men never changing diapers, but from day one Kevin has changed tons of diapers. I think he has officially gained expert status.
*I really, really appreciate our similar parenting philosophies. I know some guys hate to have a baby sharing their bed, but Kevin has been totally cool with co-sleeping. He hasn't wanted to do 'cry it out,' even though it would probably be the easiest solution. When I threw out the idea of doing a little Elimination Communication (infant potty training), Kevin was like, “Ok, let's start today.” When we go on walks, he's more likely to go for the baby carrier than the stroller. When I talk about the weird/non-traditional parenting ideas I read about, he doesn't just say, “That's crazy!” Except maybe when I was explaining placenta encapsulation...
*It's obvious that Juliana loves her daddy! Even if she is in the middle of nursing, she gets totally distracted when Kevin comes into the room. She twists all around to follow him with her eyes and tries to catch his attention so she can beam at him.
*Kevin plays fun games like 'toss the baby in the air' and 'blow rasberries on the baby's tummy' that can make Juliana's fuss turn into giggles mid-cry.
*He doesn't shirk from 'nighttime parenting.' After I get Juliana ready for bed, Kevin sits with her, pats her back, sings to her, and helps her go to sleep, even when it takes an hour. When she wakes up during the first part of the night, Kevin gets her back to sleep, even if she wakes up 5 times in 3 hours. If I have been up with her for two hours and am about to lose it, he takes over. Sleep has definitely been the most challenging aspect of parenting this child, and I don't think I could have stayed sane without Kevin's nighttime help.
*Like every new father, Kevin felt very hesitant about his parenting abilities at first. It took him (and me!) a little while to figure out how to handle the baby. I don't know if he still feels completely confident, but I think he acts like a natural. He can do pretty much everything except nurse her, and can do most things with ease. When I have been bedridden with a stomach bug (which has happened several times), Kevin has taken care of Juliana all day long and gotten up with her all night long.
*I know it is often more difficult for guys than girls, but Kevin is learning how to multitask! He has learned how to heat up baby food one handed while holding the baby. He can work on the computer while Juliana plays, pausing to interact with her every few minutes so she doesn't feel neglected. He can hang up laundry while entertaining the her (once he let her play in the washing machine, haha!).
*He is usually patient with me when I am complaining about the difficulty of being a parent, even though I complain a lot more than he does.
*He rarely gets frustrated with Juliana, even though she can be quite frustrating at times (say, wide awake at 2:30am).
*He has taken at least 242353425345 pictures of Juliana over the past nine months. No doubt that she is well documented. I'm glad that we have captured so many of her funny actions and adorable expressions.
*He is a great example for our students. Most of them are very surprised that Kevin is so involved in taking care of Juliana. They are used to men who have no idea what to do with a baby, and many of them have very distant relationships with their fathers. I think it's awesome that they can see how much Kevin loves Juliana (especially “even though” she is a girl).
Thank you for all your work and help Kevin. I'm so glad that Juliana gets to have a father like you!