August 15, 2006

What's It Like To Be A Dad?

Dear Kaia,

It has been a while since I have written you, and that is because you are making time on the computer precious. You have been in our lives for a little over five weeks and gone are the nights when your mother and I stayed up terrified of what to do next. We have found our groove, and it feels good to not be scared of breaking you every time you make a sound.

Many of my friends keep asking me what it feels like to have a baby, and I want to answer truthfully, but I am caged by clichés.

It is life changing.

The list goes on, but I guess as a writer it is my job to try and bring some authenticity to our new relationship and shared experience. First of all, everyday starts and ends with you. How is she? Is she eating? Did she sleep enough? Does she need to be changed? Should her feet be this cold and purple? Ever since I have gone back to work, I feel this strange pull. From the second I kiss you goodbye and go to work, I count the hours till I can come home and hold you.

I give you your afternoon bottle and we often fall asleep for a few hours. Another “thing” we do is bath time. I put on the Jack Johnson CD, (I am working on several baby friendly CDs) and warm the water. Some nights you are so calm and we talk, sing, dance, and wash, while other nights you scream your head off as soon as your feet touch the water. After the bath, I dry you off and get you dressed and swaddled for your big bottle and ready for bed. We sit together for about an hour, while you eat, I stare at your facial expressions, you have begun to stare back, we rock, you spit up, I think about my day, you burp, I burp, it’s all good.

Your mother and I switch up the night feedings, but she has been taking more of them since she doesn’t have to go to work yet. But I sometimes take the 5am feeding, so I can see you before I go to work. We sit in the dark and listen to world lullabies. There is one from Haiti that we love. We giggle about the one from Cambodia. The African ones always work.

When people ask what it feels like to be a dad, all I can say is that I have been ready for this for a while now, and it is everything I expected. You are teaching me so many things, like patience, living in the now, appreciating life, not cutting corners, and so many more, that I love to spend time with you because you make me be the man I want to be. I have never in my life felt this type of unconditional love, and it feels right. I assume this type of love feeds and nurtures other types of affection and compassion, but I see so many people with children, and I think about the all the emotions we all go through on a daily basis, and I am amazed the world is still so lost. Staring into your eyes as you stare off into space, nothing seems to matter, but the fact you are in my arms. I smell your cheese breath, give you a kiss and hold you close enough to hear every breath. Nothing I have ever experienced compares to this sensation. So I cannot compare it to anything else. As cliché as it sounds, until you have your own child you will never know what it feels like to cherish life so intensely.

In other news we have already a long list of nicknames for you after five weeks, let’s see which ones stick:

Kaia face
Kaia Baia
Kai Kai
Kaia Bear
Pumpkin Face

Now that grand ma Mahin is here I assume
Kaia joon
And Kaia Khanume will take hold

1 comment:

  1. It is wonderful to read and see what fabulous job parenthood is bringing to you. Of course, those who know you both just KNEW you were going to do an amazing job anyway.

    It is also great to hear that you have found your 'groove' and life is taking on the balance you both deserve.

    Kaia is absolutely gorgeous and I can not wait until I see her in the flesh! Congratulations again on your beautiful family :-)