Monday, October 19, 2015

And So Far to Go Before We Sleep

In today's post, I'm going to get real with you. Being the parent of an infant/toddler has not been a fun experience for me. Some people love babies and, given the choice, would always be raising one. Good for them. That's not me.

Latest child care related
People keep telling me that I should treasure these moments when she is a baby because I will miss them. They are wrong. I look forward to the day when I can talk to the Koalid, when I can walk with the Koalid, when I can play with the Koalid. That time is not now.

What do you mean? you ask. You can play with a baby.

Kind of. Currently she is interested in banging things against other things and climbing around and going where she is not supposed to go. This means a lot of crawling after her and a lot of moving her back where she is supposed to be. That often makes her cry and scream. It also often causes me pain and discomfort because the process of taking care of her has so far caused sciatica which limits my leg strength and flexibility, and, more recently, a hyper-extended left thumb meaning I cannot lift anything with that hand for a month or two.

We usually have to bring the Koalid to most places that we go
which means that one or both of us don't get to really be a part
the event because the Koalid is really needy.
People tell me that as she learns to talk, she'll learn to say "no". Well, that sounds like an improvement over now when she does not know the word "no", and the only way to stop her from playing with a power outlet or crawling off a staircase or putting a rock in her mouth is to physically rush over and stop her. Sure, she'll start telling me "no", but at least she'll understand it when I say it
to her.

So for now, while there are some enjoyable moments, this phase is mostly an exhausting marathon of late night crying, interrupted sleep, increasing fatigue, frustration, exhaustion, and occasional injury.

Part of the problem is that we are far from our support systems. Neither my family nor Amy's family is close enough to help us. We have very few friends in the area who can watch the Koalid for us. This means that we don't get breaks. We don't get time together. We don't get to recover.

It's a fake, rubber knife, before you worry.
OK, sometimes a tiny baby is fun.
Some parents will admit to being tired and drained from raising an infant/toddler, but most will qualify it with some profession of love for their little bundle of joy. No parent wants to be thought of as not being a loving, ever-patient parent. Well, I do love the Koalid, and I look forward to leading her through all the stages that will bring her to a confident, happy, successful adulthood, but I'll tell you right now that this part of it, at least for me, is not a joyous romp of parental happiness with occasional pit stops of challenge. It is an exhausting and miserable marathon stretching many months into the future with occasional oases of joyful moments which I am mostly too tired to appreciate.

It's okay, it's only another year or so, then perhaps I can get some sleep.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Will I Still Be Good at It When We Get There?

In many of my posts, I have looked forward to what it will be like to be the father of a teenager and various other stages of the development of the Koalid. However, as I spend most nights sleeping poorly, change another diaper, and play another round of "Why Are You Crying Now?", I realize that time is quite a ways away.

The Koalid will be a teenager at 13, according to the grammatical definition. That is about 12 years from now, 2027. 12 years ago was 2003, at which time I was 1 year out of college and just getting started running Phoenix Games. That was so long ago that I am almost a completely different person now than I was then. I live in a different state than I did then. I still speak regularly to very few people who were very close to me then.

Kind of like that. Well, hopefully not.
I have often thought that I would do well in raising a strong, healthy, confident young woman because, quite frankly, I have invested a great deal of time and effort in getting to understand young women. I have been friends with many women who have shared with me a great deal about their upbringing, and this has given me a good grasp of how different aspects and styles of parenting manifest into adulthood.

This was me (on the left) in 2003 with the team that started
Phoenix Games. I am in Facebook contact with two of
these people, and have not seen any of them in over a year.
By the time the Koalid has reached teenage years, these informative relationships will be a decade or more behind me. It makes me wonder if I will still remember then, the things I know now. I believe that I will because most of what I have learned has formed into a broad concept that I retain even as the details that led to it are forgotten. It does make me wonder how many parents understand well what a young person needs when their children are born because they are young at the time, but they age away from their children's experience simply because of the vast length of time it takes for a child to age.

Here comes the future... one day at a time.

They grow up so fast.