13
Aug 11

18 Months

A Girl and her Pine ConeYou became a little girl.

I wasn’t consulted on this, and if I had been I’m not sure I would have approved. You’re a wonderful little girl. The best little girl. But 6 months ago you just were finishing up with being a baby, and I thought I’d have more time to prepare for the next thing.

Years from now, you’ll want to know all about this part of your life. There’s change everywhere, and you’re not so hot on forming long term memories just yet so you’re counting on your mom and me to take accurate notes. We’re trying. We have a running log that Mommy tries to keep up to date with every new thing you do:

Lily gives lots of kisses now, sometimes when asked, and sometimes spontaneously! She kisses her toys, pages in books, and definitely people.

Lily loves to share things with her toys – they often to get to share her water or her snack. She also likes when we wrap them up in a blanket and rock them to sleep.

Sometimes she likes the water, sometimes she’s really hesitant about it. Mostly she likes to play with the toys on the side of the pool. Life jackets? Forget it.

You literally learn new words daily. Some of my favourites in the last week: Hospital (sounds like hoh-pitatah), aluminum (a-lem-in-nen), tilapia (dala-pala), and dirt (dut).

Your mom and I talk about you a lot. What kind of school you should attend, what kind of activities you might be interested in, what we can do to ensure we both spend as much time with you as possible. We know we can’t predict the future. We know that you’ll have your own opinions, loudly stated. We know that change is constant, and that it can sneak up on you. We do it anyhow, because the illusion of a plan gives us something to hold on to when the uncertainty gets overwhelming. I think you won’t understand this the first time you read it but, when you have kids of your own, you might.

Today you ate a mouthful of sand at the playground.

Today you refused to eat your sandwich until you dipped each torn up little piece into a blob of ketchup.

Today you lay with me on the couch and made me put on music videos and then told me which ones to skip.

Today I have something in my eye.

You became a little girl.


13
Feb 11

1 Year Old

1 Year Old“Da.”

It’s assertive, when I come in the door after work. A statement of fact. “Da has arrived, Mother, in case you were wondering.” And then you squeal, and crawl down off the couch backwards like we taught you, and you crawl over to the gate by the front door and reach up for me to pick you up. And then you remind me where every light in the house is by pointing to them. “Teh.” (pointing) “Teh.”

6 months ago you couldn’t crawl, now you’re starting to walk. 6 months ago you couldn’t talk, now you’re babbling constantly and have 4 or 5 words that are consistent and recognizable, even if they aren’t quite English. 6 months ago you were a baby and now… you’re not.

A lot can happen in 6 months, and a lot has. A lot of firsts, too. Your first tooth, first flight, first foreign country, first beer. Yeah, that’s right, beer. Why? Because you won’t tolerate not having any. Every food that Mommy and Daddy eat, you want; and you’re fearless. Olives, pickles, pizza, steak. You are fearless, in everything, and it scares the crap out of me.

Parents think stupid things, Lily. You’re fascinated with light, will you be a photographer? You love books, will that last, will you read everything you can get your hands on, like Daddy does? You love food now, does that mean you’ll be a foodie, or that you’ll end up flipping a switch and getting really picky? We try to predict the future from the scraps of information we have, because you so constantly surprise and amaze us; we’re desperate for some ability to understand what the future will be like. It’s exciting and scary and foggy and incredible. I don’t want to rush things, but I can’t wait for you to start talking more, because I see the things going on in your head and I want to know all about them.

I asked Grandma when it stops. When each week stops feeling like there’s a brand new kid in the house. Grandma said, “it stops?”

When I write the next one of these, you’ll be 18 months old and, for all I know, you’ll be in college. Go easy on me, Lily. Gently. I love you more than anything in the world, little girl, but it’s all I can do just to keep up.

Love,

Daddy


13
Aug 10

6 Months

ExpectantIt’s been 6 months since I wrote you this. 6 months. And in that tiny little amount of time, you have turned into a person. It’s hard for me to guess which things you’ll find interesting later in life if you’re reading this letter, and you’re moving so quickly right now that, by next week, it will all be different.

You’re adorable. Daddies are known to lack objectivity on this point, but I have it on good, impartial authority that you are an absolute delight. You smile when I come home at night, you smile when someone picks you up, you smile almost any time mommy speaks. You have learned how to splash in the bath, you shove basically everything into your mouth, and you’ve become ticklish. You are mere seconds away from learning to crawl – already getting into position but then not quite knowing what to do and faceplanting out of desperation. Sometimes you use the faceplants to drag yourself forward. You’re an odd duck. I love that.

You’re also terrifying. You don’t sit still, you roll directly for the edge of whatever surface we put you on, you bonk into stereo cabinets head first. The other day, in the bath, you managed to dump a cup full of water down your throat before I could stop you, sputtered, and for a second that lasted 3 years, you looked like you weren’t breathing. Don’t do that any more, okay?

You’ve rewritten us. Every time I see a parent with a kid, especially a dad with a daughter, I sort of nod, like we’re part of the same club now. I’ve always liked kids, but now I spot every one of them, everywhere I go, and make sure there’s a parent nearby watching them. I’ve noticed that I’ll often be swaying gently back and forth when I’m standing around, regardless of whether I’m holding you, or some groceries, or nothing at all. I’ve noticed other parents doing it, too.

I’ve taken 1,387 pictures of you since you were born, posted 76 of them publicly, and forced taxi drivers, coffee shop baristas, and every single one of my coworkers to admire them. I think that’ll probably slow down a little, if only because you’ll start to lose patience with me, but it’s hard to resist capturing every moment, especially with the speed you keep growing.

Your mom and I are very fortunate to have a lot of love in our lives. Family, friends, coworkers – there’s a lot of love to go around. But I was not ready, I was not ready for the way you would multiply that. You are a tiny, ticklish, ever-blonder force to be reckoned with, Lily, and I don’t even know how to imagine what the next 6 months will hold.

Love,

Daddy


16
Feb 10

A Letter For My Daughter

babyLily,

There’s a lot you don’t know about how you came into this world, little girl, and I plan to tell you all about it. I’m not holding on to details too well right now, though, so I thought I’d write some of it down, just in case.

First – the practical stuff. You were born at 5:44pm, February 13th. You weighed 8lbs, 6oz, which is on the heavy side of normal, and measured 22″ long which is on the long side of normal. Your head was 37cm in circumference, which is on the big side of normal, and it took Mommy 24 hours of labour to deliver you (your love for consistency held fast: this, too, is normal, but longish). You were positioned face up (“sunny side up,” said your doctor) which is normal, though more difficult. You needed some vacuum help (normal, though more difficult) and then some forceps (normal, though more difficult). You had a bit of jaundice which kept us at the hospital for another day (normal, though more difficult). In every way that you could, you tried to tell us that you were bigger than life, and you were right.

There’s more you don’t know, though. You don’t know that daddy cried when you were born or that he’s thinking about crying now as he writes this. You don’t know that we’ve been working on you since 2007. You don’t know about your mommy and daddy beating a regular path to the fertility clinic before work most mornings; mommy getting bloodwork and ultrasounds on day 3, 10, 12, 14, 15 and 16 of every month – for nearly 2 years; or that the month you did show up was the one month we had no treatments at all, because mommy’s body needed a break. You don’t know that you weren’t our first positive pregnancy test.

But you’re here now, and we are happier than we’ve ever been. We can barely stay awake, we jump every time you make a noise, but we are awfully smitten with you. We haven’t had many visitors because it’s all still a bit overwhelming, but when visitors do show up, we are the proudest parents, showing you off. We barely recognize your daddy any more – he impulse buys onesies with dinosaurs on the front, and today he boiled nipples.

I can’t wait to tell you all about the world, and about your arrival, and about what an amazing woman your mommy is. I can’t wait to introduce you to the incredible village that has risen up around you and supported us three since the beginning. I can’t wait, but I’m going to try because I don’t want this to go any faster than it has to.

I love you, Lily Margaret.

Daddy