For months now, Mommy has been the lucky recipient of the vast majority of Maddie’s kisses. I am absolutely delighted to see all that affection heaped upon Mom. However, I have to admit that I would like to share one once in a while myself. But kisses are one of those things that you hope for instead of ask for.
I have always showered Maddie with kisses and she has rewarded me with a long successful stint on the hug list. But this week, something changed. Without knowing how or why, I got promoted to Maddie’s priority kiss list. The kisses just come out of nowhere. We can be walking up the stairs or getting out of the car and all of the sudden my little angel is kissing me on the cheek.
For those of you who don’t have children but plan to, you are in for a real treat. There is something terribly overwhelming about being kissed by your little one. No matter what you are doing, it stops you dead in your tracks. You have a little celebration and thank the baby for taking time out to show some love.
As with anything else, I know it’s possible that the baby kisses could dry up tomorrow. So I’m stocking up now and saving them for the next dry spell. You never know when dad might land himself in the doghouse.
With all the mayhem with Maddie at the Short Hills Mall yesterday, a couple of friends reached out to me about the fear factor associated with having a baby. This is when I realized that I left out a few critical components in telling yesterday’s story.
First let’s recognize the obvious points of my poop adventure at the mall.
- It was pretty nasty.
- It was relatively embarrassing.
- It definitely sapped every ounce of energy out of my body.
But believe it or not – there were multiple positives that came from this uncomfortable situation. Spending time with your daughter is an amazing experience even when everything is going to POOP in front of you.
Number One: When you are walking through a public place and the baby is screaming – you are much more focused on soothing the baby rather than the stares that are coming your way. That focus on the child makes this walk of shame much more palatable.
Number Two: Many other parents were very kind and offered words of encouragement as Maddie and I passed by. One guy even stopped and said, “I’ve been there, man.” Another woman held the elevator for me and assured me that things like this happen from time to time.
Number Three: When Maddie and I finally made it to the car – She gave me a big warm smile and fell asleep right there in my arms. There is no feeling that compares to that in the world.
So despite the day’s trials and tribulations, I was practically swimming in my love for little Maddie. No matter what adventures we enjoy or are forced to struggle through together – the love for the baby overcomes all difficult or unsanitary situations – even when you are slugging it out through a poop storm at a mall in Northern New Jersey.
Maddie has been schooling her father this week in the art of negotiation. These negotiating sessions have become part of our nightly culture when it’s time to put Maddie down to sleep.
We’ve had a few tussles, but I have enjoyed the upper hand in two respects. Number one is the fact that when it comes right down to it – the baby wants to go to sleep anyway. Number two is the excessive heat my body generates. As soon Maddie gets picked up, PaPa’s heat is already doing its part to induce drowsiness.
But last night, Maddie switched tactics and left PaPa at a distinct disadvantage. Just like we do every night, Maddie and I were doing a slow shuffle around our darkened house. I watch her very closely during this time, because those giant wide-awake eyes can turn on a dime and slam shut within seconds.
We were just completing our second lap when Maddie looked up at me with her biggest smile. Of course I was powerless, I smiled back, told her how much I loved her and was grinning like a jack-o’-lantern from ear to ear. I tried to shake it off, but I was in too deep. She gurgled a little bit and hit me with that same hypnotic smile. Again, I was putty – stuck in the moment of the gaze and those penetrating eyes.
OK – time to get serious, dig deep and let’s get that baby to sleep. But it didn’t take long to realize that as long as she was enjoying our stroll and giving me that perfect smile – we weren’t going anywhere for a while.
PaPa tried a few tricks of his own – he lightly blew on her – and she actually thought that was funny. Even stroking Maddie’s hair just added to her delight. We had been at it for more than ten minutes now – far past the usual time it takes to settle her down for the night, but I was loving every second of it. I wondered how long she could hold out when I noticed that she was already out cold.
I put her down for the night, but as I went into the other room, I caught myself smiling like a lottery winner with each step. My little girl is far too cute for her own good and it dawns on me every night that with her, we hit the jackpot!
As my wife and I settled onto the couch to watch a movie last night – I had a 7-pound, 5-ounce little bean clinging intently to my chest. This particular bean is not a member of the legume family, but rather my tiny daughter named Madeleine. She wasn’t the least bit tired when we sat down, but was completely content to hang out on Dad’s chest while he manipulated the television controls.
I looked down and she was staring straight up at me with those penetrating dark eyes. During our little stare down, it was hard to determine who was paying closer attention. We chatted briefly, well, I chattered on and she just sat there and watched.
I winced on multiple occasions because her little hands have mastered the art of partially ripping out chest hair. Her proficiency with this particular activity vastly improves on a daily basis. It’s stunning to me that such a little creature has the ability to inflict so much discomfort onto a fellow human being that outweighs her by more than 200 pounds. (think of the mouse that helped the lion with the splinter)
But despite the rapidly dwindling population of my chest hair – this is one of those precious moments that will be forever etched into my memory. Holding your little girl close to you seems to slow the time around you. Fatigue, anxiety and any conceivable negative emotion just seems to shrink and fade into the woodwork as you feel undeniable bond between you and your child.
The connection is unmistakable – and even though I just met this tiny person a couple of weeks ago – she already fully comprehends that she owns the rights to me.
Maddie evaluated her father and took in the sights and sounds around her for about 30 minutes before she began the descent into dreamland. I watched with rapt attention – taking in each blink and twitch until she was completely out.
There is no question that this little girl is more work than I ever could have fathomed. But by the same token, never has so much work paid so many dividends in such a short period of time.