My sons are transitioning into the talking stage, which is super exciting, if you like them vocally disapproving of your parenting. Milestones have always been bittersweet for me. I am happy for my sons, they are growing up! I will always cheer their accomplishments on, big or small. I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that with each new exciting stage I don’t also get a little sad. My babies are not babies anymore. While the old cliché “they will always be my baby” is cute, they are no longer babies, but toddlers.
I’ve managed to be there for every milestone thus far. That’s a rare feat and one I’m particularly proud of! Working at night has provided me with the opportunity to be a committed father by day. From crawling to running, I’ve had my cheerleader Pom-Poms in hand and “Eye of The Tiger” blaring in the background, rooting on my tyrants as they discover a new ability.
The joy of discovery that spreads across a child’s face is, quite simply, unparalleled. They beam the biggest smiles and quickly seek you out for affirmation. Pride is shared by both parent and offspring, and it’s one of the purest, most beautiful moments that can ever occurs. The parent-child bond is tangible, an invisible umbilical cord never severed.
A part of me gets sad though. Each milestone is a move towards independence. Every day my kids are able to do something new for themselves. Their exploration of the world no longer requires me to carry them everywhere like Hodor from Game of Thrones. While my arms may have ached, I always felt a sense of purpose in the times of being a kid ferry. What’s next? What if tomorrow they wake up and I’m not the coolest person they know? I couldn’t bear it, it would be too much! I think there will always be a part of me that misses when I was their primary transport service from room to room.
When Nicolas began to crawl it was in classic Ridiculous Nicolas form. We were at a buddies house and I was in a side room getting a tattoo, if I remember correctly it was my Little Mermaid piece. Nicolas wanted to hang out and see what was going on, the kids always enjoy watching me get ink. After crying about not being in the room Nicolas decided he was going to get in that damn room and began to crawl. The whole time he inched toward the room with his head down, sobbing and pissed. You could just tell in his mind he was thinking ” YOU ARE GOING TO INCLUDE ME GOD DAMNIT!” Once he made it to the doorway he sat there, just glaring at us, with the reddest face in the history of children.
Killian began to crawl a week later, in less dramatic fashion. He has always had a way of just doing. He likes to watch someone else do something and then just do it. His outlook is Nike. From that point on, major operations of dad shuttle shut down. Once kids go mobile, in my experience, they don’t want to be carried much anymore. Now instead of walking my kids through rooms I chase them from room to room, exasperatingly trying to put a diaper on a naked bottom.
I no longer see my kids as babies, they are truly toddlers now. They run, are quite vocal and seem to have a good grasp on what they want. Every morning one retrieves the remote and brings it to me, the sign that it is time to start Barney marathon morning bonanza. Soon after a hand will take mine to guide me to a high chair, it’s breakfast time. While being bossed around by a toddler every morning is not what I planned, it shows I still have purpose! It will only be a matter of time before the cool thing is to cook breakfast for themselves (two right?).
I will always feel ambivalence for them growing up, I feel that’s a normal feeling for parents. To be honest I’m more worried about being replaced as their heroes than them actually growing up. They really seem to like that Barney fellow and I’m not above framing him for something horrible so he doesn’t pass me on their list of cool people. All I can do as a parent though is to encourage their accomplishments and endeavors; Pom-Poms and ” Eye of the Tiger” on hand and at the ready at all times.