Through The Looking Glass: Part II

So I’ve stepped through the portal. I’ve been a parent now for 3 1/2 years, and I’m still alive to tell the tale.

It really doesn’t seem like that long ago. But then I blinked. And now, here we are, about to have another baby girl (Juliet: due 12/1).

When I became a parent, I changed.  Literally. Like Bruce Banner transforming into The Incredible Hulk. Only I didn’t grow into a green and bulky monster (which was my first wish). No, I have morphed into a mild mannered and caring father with amazing new parenting superpowers, like EMPATHY and PATIENCE. I have learned the art of just BEING THERE for my daughter, simply bearing witness to her struggles. It has been a difficult and painful journey of evolutionary change and  has stretched my emotional range beyond my imagination. As a parent I have felt SO sad at times, so frustrated, so dejected. I have also felt SO happy, so joyful and content.An Incredible Dad

When I first heard our baby girl cry I thought, “Awww, how cute.” followed closely by “OK, I’m out of here!” I could not take it. It was torture to be in the same room. I wanted to run as far away as possible. But as a stay-at-home dad, I did not have the luxury of just handing her back to mom. Mom was at work. My daughter needed me.

The crying no longer bothers me. I let it all flow over me while I remain present for her. I tell her everything will be ok, that I’m sorry she feels the way she does. I no longer scramble to make things “better” for her or try a quick fix by offering her a treat. We simply share the moment. And I wait. Because I know this too shall pass. Until the next time.

And now I wonder what new super powers await as I become a parent of two…

3 thoughts on “Through The Looking Glass: Part II

  1. Jomama says:

    You’ve really got me thinking with this post. The part about letting your daughter cry when she is upset, just being with her, instead of trying to fix the problem immediately or distracting her. I imagine this is necessary to teach her how to manage her own emotions, instead of being frightened by them, or expecting other people to fix everything for her.

    What strikes a chord with me is how similar this is to the ferberizing process for teaching babies to sleep. They have to figure self-soothing and going back to sleep on their own, and mastering that skill has made our boys excellent at going to bed on time. Sure, they are total pains in the neck the last 20 minutes, but they do go to sleep.

    On the other hand, I don’t think we have the negative emotion part worked out yet. Our youngest definitely does NOT know how to handle being angry or sad, without lashing out and forcing us to deal with him over it. I wonder if this would have been easier if we had taken your approach when he was your daughter’s age…

    Wow, you’re right–you really DO have super-powers!

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