Keegan turned 18 months old last Saturday, and I thought I'd take a moment to reflect on the past year and a half. A lot has happened in the time the little guy came into the world, new house, illness, learning, etc... Here is a quickly compiled list of ten things I've learned as a dad for in from my son.
10. Do not be deceived by newborn poo For months before K was born (pretty much as soon as Nat got pregnant), people teased me about poopy diapers. I wasn't ever too worried about it. When K was first born he had the typical meconium (tar poo) which was completely odorless, I knew this would pass in a couple of days. When his first real number twos came they were completely tolerable. No bad smell, and easy to clean up (once you get over the fact that you are getting crap all over your hands). Here is where my warning comes in. This does not last!!! As soon as K moved on to solids the smells moved in. Sometimes I wonder how a boy so small could make a smell that could gag an ox! Potty training here we come.
9. Their brains never turn off It amazes me how when you just sit back and watch, you can almost see the gears turning in their heads. Eyes constantly moving, hands always feeling things, switching switches, pushing buttons, dropping things just to watch what happens. I only hope this kind of curiosity continues (at least until I find my cell phone in the toilet).
8. Nap time is fleeting Routine is a integral part of parenting, but don't get too comfortable. When K was first born he slept all day. As he grew a little older he would take two nice long naps, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. This consolidated to one 2-3 hour nap around noon. Now that nap has moved to around 2:00 and only lasts 1-2 hours. *sigh*
7. Baby Einstein is both educational and magical I don't know what the people a Disney do to these DVDs. But no matter how upset K is, putting on a Baby Einstein DVD is enough to calm his nerves and put him in sort of a trance. My wife uses this trick to get ready in the morning in an attempt to avoid the Q-tip tornado.
6. When you are a baby talking funny is cute The same things that get you shoved in a locker in high school are adorable when you are two and a half feet tall (NOTE: not sure if this is true of adult little people). Also, you can get away with saying curse words or crass euphemisms. For example, calling sticks "dicks".
5. No matter how many "cool" toys you buy, its the simple things Keegan has a ton of toys that we (Nat and I) think are cool and end up purchasing because a) its something we wanted as a kid b) its something we think we would have wanted as a kid c) its something we want to play with as an adult d) K played with it the entire time at the store
D usually ends up in Keegan forgetting about it 12 seconds after he gets home. A and B work out for a little while (a few weeks usually) and C, we end up playing with the toy more.
Yesterday, I was playing with K in the playroom and out of nowhere in the middle of making a block tower he asks for his stick. So we spent the next fifteen minutes looking for his stick (Me: "Keegan where's your stick?", Keegan: "Doah Know"). The rest of the afternoon (until Nap time, err Nap attempt) I watched him hit whiffle balls around the room with his stick (which was the cardboard tube from a wire hanger).
4. Food preferences change The quickest way to make a toddler not like something is to buy a lot of it.
3. They expect you to know what their gibberish means My advice, if you don't understand what they're saying, fake it. I've read it teaches them how to hold a conversation (taking turns talking) and if you don't you are likely to have a frustrated little one on your hands.
2. They'll imitate anything they see you do/say For the most part this isn't a problem and it's neat to see how quickly they learn. The first time Keegan picked up a toothbrush and started "brushing" his own teeth was hilarious. But Be Careful! One slip up and your toddler will likely recite your choice words at the most inopportune time.
1. The conundrum of growing up On one hand you want them to get just a little bigger so you can do this or that, but they'll never be the same age again. This hit my wife and I the first time we cleaned out his dresser. We wanted him to get just a little bigger so he could tell us what was wrong, or when he was hungry, but as we took out the clothes that were too small for him we realized he'll never wear this again. Enjoy them at the age they are right now. They'll grow up eventually, so don't miss the moments you have now.