Sunday, August 11, 2013

On Becoming My Father

A new favorite picture
BFFs, can't you tell?!?

Congratulations universe, you win.

I'm sure you've got a list of all of those things your dad said when you were a kid that you swore you'd NEVER say when you were the parent.  I've got a list of those in my head from when I was a kid.  Don't get me wrong, my dad is the man, but until you're a parent, you always think you'll do it differently and never have these crazy things come out of your mouth.


Just since our little road trip, I'm catching myself saying "those things I thought I'd never say" more and more...

A few examples:
  • No running in the house - Bailey's walking phase lasted about 45 seconds, and has since turned into an all-out sprint.
  • Don't talk to your mother that way - I'm hoping it won't be until the teenage years when I need to pull this one one because of WHAT Bailey says. Right now, it's HOW she talks. It's never too early to teach respect, and that there's a decibel level that is appropriate, especially when addressing her mom.
  • Don't make me turn this car around - In our case on our road trip, it would have been, "Don't make me continue driving in the direction we're going because we're headed in the direction of home." Anywho, there is only so much time anyone can stand being in a car and that limit is reduced exponentially for a young child.  Bailey had had enough and was letting us know, and I had had enough of her letting us know. Although the words came out of my mouth, to date I have "turned the car around" as many times as my dad did. :-) But man, were his threats SERIOUS. Fear. Of. God.
In other news...
  • Bailey won't smile for pictures.  See:
  • Bailey hasn't begun potty training yet but she loves her potty. This is a common pre-bath ritual. It doesn't make sense to us either.
  • Bailey's hair is getting really long.  We need to start styling it or at least trying. I can't wait to share those stories. This could take her relationship with us (and by "us", I mean Jenny) to a whole new level. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Road trippin', Spaghetti, and Steve Urkel

A couple weeks ago, we set out on our first road trip with Bailey - it was a short one, just 3 nights away from home. We made our way up through the Black Hills of South Dakota, stopping to see the Crazy Horse memorial (what a sham!) and Mt. Rushmore (pretty cool to see in person). We spent the remainder of the trip visiting friends in Wyoming, including a nice day with the family that was with us in Kinshasa bringing home their little boy.

Bailey did great in the car - it was a lot of hours to be confined to her carseat. We've got all sorts of new songs and games with her as a result. And we learned that she can (and will) say "mama" just about every chance she gets. Maybe she's afraid of silence, I don't know. We don't have video, but it is reminiscent of this, just a whole lot cuter, and Jenny responds with much more patience and love (obviously! :-)):

116. While we're talking about comparisons, Bailey drinks her milk with such conviction and force, I can't help but think of Napoleon Dynamite...
117. Bailey is our prayer compass. Every night at dinner, she reaches for my hand and for Jenny's, and bows her head to pray. I don't know about you, but seeing your child do this, even if she has no clue what we're doing, is a great kick-in-the-pants reminder that we need to be very intentional about modeling to her what a life devoted to Christ looks like. Even at this early age, there is so much that she's absorbing about life and how we live ours.

118. #117 is also a reminder that Bailey has entered the "mimicking" stage and has begun to mimick our actions and repeat our words.  Gulp...

119. OK, just one more opportunity to show off - a couple nights ago, Bailey had one of her worst nights of sleep that I can remember.  Once 3am arrived, for whatever reason, Bailey was very unsettled.  We would get her back down, but not 15 minutes later she's up crying.  At the 4am shift, she didn't want milk. Nope, she wanted to read her children's Bible! A half-asleep reading of the Bible was not at the top of our priority list at 4am.  Another 5-letter word was the one and only priority - SLEEP.  Regardless, it just melted my heart to see her asking for these stories.  It is a prayer of ours that God will be very present in her life, in her heart, in her dreams, and I'm thankful that she's embracing these foundational stories.

120.  Watching our child eat spaghetti is one of the most joyful experiences ever!

121. Bailey seems to be fascinated by Jeeps, which is quite the coincidence (or is it?) given the way God used Jeeps to remind us to pray for Bailey during our waiting.

122. Many people ask us how we think the bonding/attachment are going. Six months in, I can confidently say that it has gone better than we could've ever imagined. Bailey seems to have really developed a strong bond with both of us and recognizes us as her mom and dad, her caretakers, her need-meeters. I can't point to one thing in particular, but a few realities have contributed - her age when we finally brought her home, the health scare shortly after coming home, and even the 10 days in near-isolation when in Kishasa.  I think our short period of hibernation has and will continue to pay dividends in our strengthening relationship with our daughter. That being said, we can't lessen our quality time with her and making it clear to her that we're her forever family.

Just chillin' at Costco
123. I'm sure I'm not the only parent to think this, but Bailey is so smart and she absorbs so much information so quickly!  She recognizes stores we go to, games we play once, and she's picking up more words each day.

124. Bailey's favorite "toys" these days: boxes, sunscreen, and Jenny's childhood STEVE URKEL doll. Yep, you read that right.