Will’s evolution as a father has been so cool to watch. I still vividly remember how nervous he was around any kid, and I think it’s safe to say his terror of newborns ran way deeper than mine. He must have said 50 times “ I’ve never had to wipe anyone else’s butt before. I don’t know that I can do this!” Obviously he soldiered on and ponied up. He was particularly worried about dealing with “girl’s bits,” as he was pretty unfamiliar with the hygiene of such. I seriously don’t think I had to change one diaper the first week Stella was around between Will and my mother. He even took on the tar-like meconium diapers. I occasionally got questions about “What happens when the poop is all up in her bits?” but he responded well to the obvious answer: get the poop out of her bits.
We’ve had some really cute and touching Stella-Daddy moments lately. I always like it when they find some new activity or thing that’s just theirs. I’ve written before at how Will can get his feelings a bit hurt when Stella shows strong preference to me. Even before she was born, Will was “in there” as much as a dad could be. He was one of those fathers that read to my abdomen almost every night so that Stella could get used to his voice. He didn’t go to each and every doctor appointment, but he went to many. I do feel a bit sad this time that he hasn’t been as involved in that part. There just hasn’t been time and opportunity. I’ve said before it’s just so much more complicated trying to schedule this stuff around child care. He’s only made it to the anatomy scan (I’m hoping he can come to at least one more ultrasound before BY gets here) and the belly reading is out. He gets home too late from work and I fall asleep way too early.
He used to read to Stella daily when she was small and compliant enough (translation: before she could and would get up and run away if you made her do something she didn’t want to do) and he would wear her around the house and elsewhere like a cute little medal on his chest. They have their morning outings now when I’m at the office, but I think if you asked him he would say that I had more Stella stuff that was “mine” than he does. Much of that, again, is just a function of opportunity. I’ve always had more time with her. And some of it is a control thing. I can be a control freak and when it comes to baby stuff, and Will is usually content to let me wield that power. I used to sometimes leave out clothes for Stella on daddy mornings as some of his color/match choices could be a bit questionable. There was a denim skirt I would always find her in and I hated this thing (no diaper cover built in, so her diaper hung out constantly). I asked why he always put her in that skirt and he replied he found it to be cute. I then realized he kind of gets a kick out of picking stuff out and dressing her. I immediately backed off and no longer question a thing. I will mention it ahead of time if the weather is going to turn during the day as that’s not on his normal radar screen. Otherwise, he’s in charge on daddy mornings. He was the one that chose the castle for Xmas vs a traditional dollhouse. I was leaning toward the plastic Dora house. I’m really glad he made the choice.
He used to (and still does) occasionally cuss me about her hair. I have refused to cut it other than one trim that my mother talked me into to even it out when she was just over a year old. Like most men, he’s totally clueless on hair. I will say that he’s gotten quite imaginative and is taking a “more is better” approach. He played beauty shop with her this weekend. Again, the results were not something I would have aspired to, but he was so proud that there was no way I’d say a word. And fortunately most kids are so stinking cute that you really can’t mess them up.
Finally, he had his first ever shoe moment this weekend. This was a big deal. My husband, like most men, can’t understand the feminine interest in shoes. Even before she was born, shoes were my favorite thing to buy for Stella. Tiny Chuck Taylors. Fun little boots. All me. Will never once looked at a pair of baby shoes unless I had them thrust under his nose for admiration at which point he would often roll his eyes. Lately, he’s been talking about how fast our kid could be if only she had “real” shoes. I think he got turned on initially by the idea of putting her in some of those goofy runner toe shoes. I had 3 thoughts:
- My god those things are hideous and ridiculous.
- Do you know how EXPENSIVE those things are, particularly in light of how fast this kid’s feet grow??
- NOT IT!! I am NOT going to be the one to try to put her little goofy toes in each individual toe holster. Not going to happen. No way, no how.
Ultimately he scaled down his expectations and decided a “real” pair of tennis/running shoes would do. I think it was the thought of feeding her toes into the holes that did it. While I was relieved that the toe shoe idea fell away, I was still (and am still) ultimately horrified at the idea of my kid being EVEN FASTER. Seriously, I often dream of putting ankle weights on her. She really is eerily fast, like a vampire or something.
We happened to be at a shoe store looking for a new pair for Will on Saturday. He works on his feet and his shoes tend to abruptly reach critical mass, suddenly ceasing to be shoes so much as floppy sacks worn on his feet. He starts complaining, rightly so, of back pain when this happens. In any case, his shoes were nearly to the sack stage of the metamorphosis so we figured we’d get a jump on it. One minute, I’m helping him pick out good, sensible work tennis shoes and the next thing I know, Will is glued to the baby/toddler wall and is eyeing cute – but expensive – New Balance tennis shoes for Stella. I just bit my tongue. He was so into this idea I couldn’t squelch it. The store was having a BO, get one ½ off special, so we did get a break on it. We also got it a ½ size bigger than usual, so at least she can wear them a while. I think my biggest beef is that while the predominant color is gray, it has hot pink trim. Therefore, I don’t know that BY can recycle them. We’ll see. Either way that wasn’t the point. For the first and maybe last time ever, daddy wanted to pick out and give Stella shoes.
Here’s to Will embracing his inner daddy diva enough to select shoes and do hair!!