Our most recent arrival (number 13) is three months old today.
After having so many babies around for the last 17 years, I guess you could say we have become somewhat experienced on baby raising.
We certainly have our own opinions about loving and nurturing little ones. Not that we are always right, just most of the time. 🙂
I often tell Vikki that I get a little prickly when I hear about all the annoying things modern parents think they “have to do” for their little rugrats. I sometimes get a little flustered while listening to the latest methods new parents are using. Sigh. This is the way I see it:
Humans have been having babies for millennia. Children were birthed and fed successfully long before there were birthing plans and more than 20 different varieties of Similac. I am pretty sure Einstein didn’t listen to Baby Einstein to build his reasoning ability and I doubt Beethoven had a baby swing that played his fifth symphony to lullaby him into an intellectual rest. I also believe it is highly unlikely that Cain and Abel were fed organic vegetables. Wait a minute…
Either way, God made them little boogers of some pretty resilient stuff. They are made to endure our trial and error parenting, but make sure you dilute those essential oils before you lather them up, ok?
Parenting is an amazing life-changing adventure. There isn’t a field guide for the intricacies and details of this journey and probably the best way to learn is by trial and error.
Anyhow, as I mentioned before, when Vikki and I got married we were an instant family (just add a dad and poof! A nuclear family! Amazing!) Kris and Kristen were well out of diapers by the time we had our first little one together. So when little Sami came around, my newly acquired (and somewhat weak) parenting skills did not extend to the extremely small and helpless kind of human child.
I really had no clue what I was doing. I had never changed a little girl’s diaper before. (Wipe down, not up!) I didn’t know babies couldn’t eat honey. (No, I didn’t feed her any) I had no clue how to buckle a baby seat into a back seat. (Put your full weight on it, buckle, tighten the belt, and it will be snug as a bug in a rug.)
Maybe worst of all, I had no clue that putting Sami to sleep with a bottle or a sippy cup would totally rot out the back of my precious little one’s front top teeth. Actually we were totally oblivious that anything was even going on back there. We never inspected the back of her teeth. Does that make me a bad Dad?
Vikki noticed she started getting these tiny little cracks on the front of her teeth. Uh oh. Off to the dentist. The verdict was given. Those teeth needed to be capped. We could pay for white caps or go with the much less expensive silver.
I would have paid for the whites if I could afford it. I was making just slightly more than nothing back then. Sorry Sam, it is the silvers for you.
I will never forget the day she went in to have her dentist work done. She was between two and three. I was working at a school at the time and couldn’t get away, so Vikki took her in.
Little Sami bravely made it through the setting of her new silver teeth that would be around for a few years.
When it was all done, having experienced more than enough trauma for the day, in tears she reached out to her mom to lift her out of the dentist chair.
“I want my Daddy! Daddy!” Oh, my honey!
So before heading home they made a quick detour to give Daddy the privilege of comforting his Little Sami.
That was a long time ago. Sam is turning sixteen on Friday. Those silvers that caused her so much grief and pain (she refused to smile for pictures for the entire time she had them) have long since fallen out and been replaced by new pearly whites. She is studying to get her permit this summer. In just a couple of years she will don the cap and gown forever kissing her childhood goodbye. What a blubbering mess I will be.
Even though she is on the cusp of womanhood and becoming more mature and responsible every day, there are still moments when I feel a soft face on my shoulder and I get the privilege of a warm embrace. I still get to enjoy good night kisses and the heartfelt “I love you’s” from my little girl.
Even though I haven’t heard “I want my daddy!” from Samantha recently, I know there are plenty of times she needs me and the comfort only a daddy’s love can bring.
I have made a ton of mistakes as a Dad. Including rotting out my child’s teeth by putting her down to sleep with a bottle.
But one I refuse to make, is to not be here for her.
So grow on, Little One. Continue to spread your wings and learn to fly. Just know when you need me, and you will, I am here.