Friday, May 4, 2007

Time in a Bottle

To My Sweet Little Buddy, Ainsley:

Well, after a very long hiatus, Daddy makes his triumphant return to the Ainsley Glorification (Appreciation?) Website. Heck, I may not have even been officially Daddy, the last time I wrote an entry.

Anyway, I wanted to write this entry as a year in review because it is my feeling that I probably have the most unique perspective on your first year in the world. And what is that perspective? That perspective would be that I spend more time with you than anyone else.

Now, let's first address the question that has been dogging me for the last month. And that question is: "My goodness, has it already been a year?" Or one of it's other forms, "Does it really seem like it's been a year?" Sometimes, it's not phrased as a question at all. It is often stated as the declarative: "Man, it sure doesn't seem like it's been a year."

I answer these questions and comments the only way that I know how. I say with all of the honestly and sincerity I can muster......

"Uh, yes. Yes it does."

Ok, I am not going to go all 'Alec Baldwin' on you, but you are quite the challenge, my little friend. Quite the challenge, indeed. When people ask me things like, "Where does the time go?", I'm just like, "Oh, I know where the time goes....." Sometimes, the time goes slowly. Sometimes, it goes downright painfully. Like when you pull out a handful of my chest hair (a problem unique to stay-at-home daddys...or at least I hope so.). Or perhaps when we're having a nice cuddle, and then out of nowhere, Daddy's shoulder seems like it would make a pretty darn good teething ring. Your poop smells really bad. You make messes of my living room and kitchen that I can hardly bear to look at, let alone clean them up. A couple of months ago, you used to fall down and hit your head a lot - that was terrifying. And the crying during teething - I know it hurts, but sometimes I just want to say, "Suck it up, kid." Oh, and I can't leave you in your playpen or crib by yourself and only wearing a diaper because when I come back, not only will you have removed said diaper, there is also a 50/50 shot that you've peed all over the place. At least you didn't pee in the diaper because it is now located in your mouth. The only positive about this is that is makes for quite the photo opportunity.

Speaking of putting things in you mouth. Here is a list of things that do not go there, including, but not limited to: the aformentioned diaper, power cords or cables, random lint, mulch or dirt from the garden, dirt from anywhere (and I mean anywhere), Daddy's shoes, Mommy's shoes (Ainsley's shoes for some reason are ok), the remote, cat food, regurgitated cat food, the cats, cat litter, important papers or bills, unimportant papers, generally anything made of paper, Mommy's glasses, ink pens, DVD's or CD's (cases ok), the tablecloth, the lamp shade that fell down off of the table because you had the tablecloth in your mouth and pulled it onto the floor, and the lamp which is also on the floor because of the tablecloth thing.

It's not so much that the tablecloth alone bothers me. It just starts an uncontrollable chain reaction of events that I would rather not see happen. And judging from all of the crying you would rather not see it happen either.

Mommy says that you just have an active mind. Well, that causes Daddy to have an active mouth. Most of the time, I speak in a ridiculous jibberish that comes out of my mouth in fives and is usually some derivative of 'no'. Like, "ah, ah, ah, ah, ah," -or- "whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa." Either that, or I'm ending words in 'ie'. I guess that's because your delicate ears require a cuter version of an already existing word. I truly believe that after spending every day of the last year with you, I am a little less sane than I was a year ago.

Ah, but then there are the good times, and they far outweigh any challenges that you may throw at me. There are too many to list, but I'll give it a try: Like when I sing to you first thing in the morning, and you jump to your feet, smiling and dancing. I've never seen anyone so happy to wake up in the morning. The way that you do that little move with your head when you are eating something that you so obviously enjoy. Or when we lay in the backyard on a blanket, as a family. Seeing you smile for the first time. Discovering that Elmo was your new favorite guy because he makes you click your toungue and dance around every time you see him. Seeing you roll over for the first time. Seeing you pull up for the first time. Watching the excitement in your eyes the first time you saw other kids playing at the park. Watching you open all of those presents on your first Christmas - you were so good for such a little baby. Seeing you ride in the carseat turned forward for the first time - it was like a whole new world of viewing possibilities was opened for you. The fact that when I sing the "Elmo's World" song to you, you humor me by acting as though Elmo himself were singing it. The way that you recognize a toy you haven't seen in a while by exclaiming, "Heyyy". Oh, and there is just so much more. So many special memories that I will forever cherish.

So, what I'm saying is that yes, it has seemed like a year, and a long year at that. If it wasn't such a long year, I don't know how you could have grow from the eight pound pipsqueak that we brought home into the fierce strapping girl that you are now. In some ways, it has been the most challenging year of my life. However, it has also been the greatest and most rewarding year of my life. With all of the things that I have listed above, be it a challenge or a treasure, they make you the most special little girl in the world. I'm so lucky that I get to spend enough time with you to get annoyed by you. Nobody else in your life gets to do that, and I am so priveledged to be the one who does.

As I'm writing this, I feel myself wishing that those of you who are reading this could have seen what I've seen, done what I've done, and felt what I've felt. But, you know what? All of these things are what makes me feel uniquely special after this first year of parenthood. The selfish side of me is happy that these feelings and memories are mine, and mine alone. Sure, I excitedly relay them to anyone who will listen, but I could never do justice to what it was like to actually be there.

Ainsley, over the last year, you and I have affected each other's lives more than anyone else. That bond and familiarity that we have is something that is as important as anything in my life. I would give, and do, anything for you. I will always be there for you. Whether times are good, or whether times are not so good, you will always have my love and support. That is what makes me "The Daddy".

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