One of the few things I remember from when Addie was a baby was that every other week or so I constantly thought, “Now THIS is the best phase of having a child.” I meant it each time, and now with Vivi I’ve caught myself doing the same thing again.
That first phase of having a baby is pretty special. There’s something about the first few days a father gets to spend with his daughter or son that is just indescribable. I remember being overly concerned about my upcoming finals in various classes as Casey struggled through labor. It even got to the point where I was studying for my finals as Casey had contractions. I never contemplated that the second that baby was born my finals would become just as important to me as the old jar of mustard that had been tucked away and lost for years in the deep recesses of my refrigerator. But, that’s exactly what happened.
Addie was born and she was placed on that warming table and the nurses gathered around her and began giving her her first cleaning. Not caring what anyone thought or what was really going on outside that three foot circular area surrounding my daughter, I moved up next to the table as the nurses slid to the side and I quickly made sure I was the first person to ever have skin to skin contact with my daughter. It’s one of those moments that will go down as one of the main reasons why my life has been so good and I will never forget it.
All through our stay at the hospital I couldn’t get enough of Addie. My fascination with Addie shocked Casey. She had never seen me drop work or school so I could spend time with family, yet there I was completely oblivious to the real world problems that were going on outside that hospital room.
When it came time to take Addie home from the hospital, I couldn’t wait. It was my time to spend with Addie without any interruptions from the nursing staff asking for shots, or temperatures, or stool samples. Just me, Addie, and Casey. At that moment that phase clearly felt like the best phase.
A few weeks later, when Addie was spending more of her days awake and alert and able to actually see her surroundings, I was certain that it wouldn’t get any better than that moment. Then a few weeks after that Addie learned to play on a mat with toys hanging above her. Certainly, that had to be the best phase, but a few weeks later I was surprised again. And on, and on, and on it has gone.
Each phase of Addie’s and Vivi’s lives seems to be the best phase of having a kid and the most enjoyable one too. The phase that makes me want to have another kid.
But not all the phases can be the best phase, can they?
Here is Addie, about to turn 8, and all full of gymnastics, princesses, and glittery outfits. We can watch movies together and enjoy breakfast conversations in the morning. Before I know it, Addie will turn 16 and I will be an afterthought in her boy-loving mind. So obviously, this phase has to be the best phase of having a child. Then there’s Vivi. She’s only 16 months old and she grabs my finger and guides me around the house. Not for anything specific, she just wants me to walk around with her as she moves from distraction to distraction. As I trail behind her little body, she’ll abruptly stop and give me a hug only to run over to the couch, steal the remote, and run off like the little thief she can be. Then there are the moments when I have to leave for work and she demands to be held so I can take her to work with me. Those are all precious moments and it all means that Vivi is currently in the best phase of childhood.
The two conclusions don’t work. Logic demands that there only be one best phase. The two conclusions are not reconcilable. The only conclusion I can really come to that actually works is that I love my daughters and I never want this phase or any other phase of being a parent to my two young girls to ever end.
More on Dadding: