When spending time with Maddie and going through the daily details of the parenting life, I often find myself wanting to press pause so I can commit to memory the fatherhood flavor of the month: time goes by so quickly and Maddie changes so rapidly that I always wonder if I’ll actually remember the particulars of whatever routine we are experiencing at that moment.
To that end, I thought I would record a pithy list of what fatherhood looks like at five months. Hopefully I can repeat this often so I’ll have more snapshots to look back on. Here we go.
Fatherhood is coming home from work (all week!) to find my stay-at-home wife and daughter hanging out like they have been all day.
Fatherhood is eliciting a smile as she recognizes my face and voice.
Fatherhood is getting a good hour of quality evening play time in before she turns into a pumpkin.
Fatherhood is being a human chew toy for Maddie’s two lower teeth, which seem to grow more razor sharp with each passing day.
Fatherhood is eating a home-cooked dinner that Theresa made before I got home while Maddie joins us at the table in a hybrid seat/high chair.
Fatherhood is holding Maddie after she gets a little antsy while Theresa finishes her dinner. Sometimes Maddie even cuddles into my shoulder and rests her head on me!
Fatherhood is changing Maddie into her PJs and changing her diaper before she gets fed to sleep.
Fatherhood is playing with her in her crib and starting to play little games with her. Last night she was on her stomach and I would say “I got you!” and kiss her repeatedly on one cheek. She would then turn her head in the other direction and I would do the same thing on that side. Every time I did it, she would smile or laugh and change directions again. It was amazing.
Fatherhood is tickling her stomach or rubbing my stubbly face on her little knees to make her laugh.
Fatherhood is increasingly about laughter. A few days ago I started talking to her in a cartoonish voice and she started laughing. This is opening up a whole world of possibilities for a ham like me.
Fatherhood is running a mile on our new treadmill to fight the Dad Bod.
Fatherhood is sitting down to watch some TV with Theresa (after I shower, of course) after Maddie is asleep.
Fatherhood is trying to decide if Maddie needs to be comforted when she wakes up a half hour to an hour after going down.
Fatherhood is going into her room and patting her on the butt until she stops crying and falls back to sleep.
Fatherhood is helping Maddie figure out how to use her hands. She’s so close to understanding them, but still so frustrated sometimes by her lack of coordination. She’s also frustrated by the fact that all she knows how to do is put stuff in her mouth…and sometimes those things aren’t satisfying or soothing when they arrive at that final destination.
Fatherhood is checking in on your family from work thanks to the motion alert setting on your video baby monitor. Several mornings recently I’ve been able to watch Maddie and Mommy getting ready to start their day from my cube in downtown Chicago. I can even communicate with them thanks to the monitor’s built-in microphone. What a world!
Fatherhood is sopping up her drool with a cloth diaper.
Fatherhood is having a wet shoulder from all that drool.
Fatherhood is wondering how she could possibly still be awake and fussing in her crib at midnight.
Fatherhood is carrying Maddie around the house on a seemingly endless tour when she’s reached the point where she won’t play on the floor and just wants to be held.
Fatherhood is frustrating when Mommy is the only answer.
Fatherhood is marveling at what a good mother your wife has become.
Fatherhood is dancing in the kitchen while holding your daughter to the essential throwback sounds of the Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons Pandora station.
Fatherhood is being able to leave her with your Mom and her uncles so you can sneak out to an afternoon movie with your wife.
Fatherhood is sporadically thinking about how she might be doing when you’re supposed to just be watching the movie.
Fatherhood is holding Maddie during Mass and laughing when she decides to vocalize by randomly yelling throughout the homily or Eucharistic prayers.
Fatherhood is sitting with Maddie in the living room glider and watching YouTube videos on your TV. Eventually she crossed her feet in the cutest little way and drifted off to sleep as she sat in the crook of my arm.
Fatherhood is trying to keep moments like that in your heart forever.
Fatherhood is even better than advertised.