Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Pop" Goes the Little Girl

About a year and a half ago Jodie asked me what I wanted to be called by our then gestating daughter.  I hadn’t even considered it.  I had always called my father “Dad.”  It hadn’t even really occurred to me that there were other options.  Of course I knew there were other options.  I just had never even thought that I might diverge from how I was brought up.  In a fit of whimsy I mused that it might be entertaining to use something retro, even bordering on archaic, like “Pop.”  I can’t imagine any circumstance since the days of Dennis the Menace, Leave it to Beaver or Father Knows Best (and honestly I don’t even know if those are good examples) where I know of that that appellate was used without a sarcastic level of irony.
I largely forgot about it for months – until December arrived – when Jodie started using it at least as much as she used “Dad.”
Yesterday evening just before sitting down to dinner Jodie asked December (as she often does) “who is that?” while pointing at me.  Typically the best responses we get are either a big smile or, if she vocalizes, it’s with the “Bap!” with which she refers to almost everything – though her vocabulary of nonsense words has been expanding around the foundation of “Bap!”  Last night she said, barely above a whisper, “Pop.”  It was tentative but clear, as though she were trying it out for the first time... which presumably she was – though perhaps she’d been practicing when we weren’t around (like that ever happens).  Both Jodie and I heard it – we were both pretty certain.  We both reacted with surprised and encouraging yelp.  Jodie prompted her again, “who is that?”  After a moment, she confidently and unambiguously declared “Pop!”
Oh how the heart melts in moments like this.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Happy Birthday

It is your birthday today. Or rather, your birthday party. You will actually turn one year old on Monday - two days from now. I still have several hours to figure out what to write on your card, but it occurs to me that your card won't survive long the way you go at things these days and it would be nice that if manage to say something awesome that it might have some chance at posterity. ...not that I feel like anything profound is about to spring forth. It has been a very fun year, and one with a continuous cascade of change. Indeed the change began nine months earlier and by one year ago your Mum and I were nothing but ready... which really means we were ready to move forward - we weren't prepared in any way but superficially with a crib and change-pads (and a few other necessities.)
Yeah, I already miss the days when you would curl up on my chest and sleep - that didn't last long. But I wouldn't go back to trade it for the delighted Calvin-esque smile on your face when you are proud of yourself, or excited to see your Mum or I come home - even if we just ran downstairs to the market.  No doubt that small joy will morph into something else before too long.
It has gone so fast, this first year, and yet so much has happened.  It hardly seems possible from either perspective - that it could have gone so fast; or that you could have gone from a fragile ball of sleep to the non-stop walking, jabbering, explorer you have become.
I can't imagine the scope of what the next year will bring.  I only know that with Jodie finished maternity leave that things are now "normal" - whatever that means.  We can't really tell yet as the routine, such as it is, hasn't even finished one full week's rotation.  Even if it had, it will take some time to truly settle into something regular.  I can expect that you will run and climb sooner than we can possibly be ready for it and that by this time next year you will be talking in some manner.  Beyond that, I'll just be relying on the experts to tell me what benchmarks to watch fly past... though it seems usually by the time the experts are telling us to look for them you've already left them behind and are onto the next thing.
I am sure we will have a lot of fun.  That you will meet the world with a sense of wonder and glee which will be matched by my fascination at watching you experience a world of possibilities for the first time.

I love you Padawan.  I look forward to sharing your next trip around the sun with you, and now I have to go figure out what to write on your birthday card.