It has been far too long since I’ve posted a written entry – I’ll blame the holidays for that one! With that being said, we’ve had a great holiday season with Charlee! Here she is doing her best festive pose:
December 26, also known as boxing day, came and went and technically marked Charlee’s 100 days. In several Asian cultures, celebrating 100 days is an event for family and close friends. 100 days carries some symbolism such as the mom having recovered from birth, baby finally getting the eating/sleeping routine down and being able to socialize for some time and mingle with family who may not have met her as yet. 100 days is symbolic of the baby being ‘out of the weeds’, so to speak, and healthy enough to be brought out into public more freely. The food that is served is a customary meal, with each dish bearing different meaning and symbolism.
We knew we were going to have a 100 day celebration with family and friends, but we also knew that the date was way too close to the holidays, so we’ve moved the actual event into January.
It also gives me a chance to reflect on my first 100 days with Charlee, so without further ado, I thought I’d put myself on the spot for a quick little interview:
Q: So… fatherhood… everything you expected it to be?
A: Yes and no…. For the most part, I think that I had a good idea about what to expect. You read enough and see enough of your family and friends raising their kids, and you can safely assume that for the most part, you know what’s about to happen. However, there are a few variables that you could never expect.
First off, how you react to stress and pressure does not reflect how you’re going to react to the stresses and pressures brought on by your little one. I think for me personally, it’s brought on a different level of patience, where before I would have a much shorter fuse, now I can push through, reminding myself that this just comes with the territory. How can you get angry at such a little innocent thing anyway… granted that little innocent thing has just had a ‘blow out’ and won’t stop kvetching regardless of your pleas and attempts at being rational with her… but I digress.
Next, you may assume, but you never really know how your partner is going to parent, let alone how the two of you are going to parent together! Becca and I are doing great as a team, but that doesn’t mean it comes easy. Communication and setting expectations is key – also sharing reading material so that you’re on the same page with your approach; remember, consistency is key. If anything, I think this has been the most pleasant surprise to see how wonderful a mum Becca is, and how I’m so grateful that Charlee gets to be raised by her and I.
And on that note, the last variable being Charlee. She is the biggest littlest variable of them all. I like to think we’re playing a strong role in her amazing demeanour, but I also get the sense that some babies out there just aren’t as cooperative. I’ve said it before, Charlee is an ‘easy’ baby. We pride ourselves on the fact that we’ve been able to keep her as de-stressed as possible, and I think that’s led to our continued successes (this being written as we’re going through a “sleep regression” cycle, which I will write about soon).
Q: Do you feel like a dad yet?
A: That’s a tough one… would you believe the answer is no?
I’m still getting used to saying, “my daughter” and yet I love chatting with Charlee and trying to get her to say ‘dadda’.
Becca and I talked about this the other day, whether we feel like parents yet. She had her moment the other day when Charlee started to recognize her and noticeably felt comfort when she would reach for and be embraced by Becca. I have had this happen too, yet the feeling of being a father is not there yet.
I truly believe that this connection will happen later when Charlee is more verbal and can actually say the things I want her to and to actually connect with me. I can’t wait!
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve received and what’s the worst advice?
A: Let’s start with the worst, the caveat being that everything recommended has been done with the best of interest and in all sincerity. I would chalk up the worst advice to more of a frame of mind regarding parenting. That would be the ‘old school’ methodology and how some people have a tendency of saying, well, this is how it was done in my day and my kids turned out just fine.
While they liken that advice to ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ – I’m more inclined to compare this to the mentality of why bother improving on something. When you think of it that way, you realize how silly it is.
Just because something’s always been done a certain way, doesn’t mean that it can’t change or improve, or be optimized, and that includes raising children.
The books that I’ve read with Becca are demonstrating scientific fact and new findings that can revolutionize how we raise our kids and help open up possibilities that never before had been determined or addressed.
With potential like that, who wouldn’t want to try and do things differently!?!
On the flip side, the best advice I’ve heard, aside from some of the readings I mention above and in prior posts, is the ironically named “mother’s instinct”. If I may be so bold, I would like to extend that to be “parent’s instinct”.
It’s taken some time, but Becca and I are truly in tune with Charlee’s needs. We’ve come to understand that no one book will tell you the “right” way to raise your child, but rather a slew of tried and true approaches. The fact of the matter is that only you as parents have a true sense of your child’s needs, what their cries mean, when they need food, attention, cuddles, love, and everything under the sun that they can’t verbalize, but can still somehow communicate to you.
Q: What’s your biggest pet peave about parenting?
A: My first 100 days with Charlee have been tremendous. It’s been incredible to see how much I’ve learned about myself, about Becca, and about how influential we are in the upbringing of another human being. The job is formidable, and I know that too many people on this planet take to it with too simplistic an approach, just assuming that anyone can do it. Suffice it to say, just because anyone can do it, doesn’t mean everyone should, and better yet, doesn’t mean everyone can do it right.
But who am I to say what ‘right’ is… this in itself is where my issue lays.
I’ve read things on how people should not judge other parents or compare their kid to someone else’s. Yet I’m pretty sure every parent will tell you that their child is the best, and anyone who goes about raising their child differently is in the wrong. Parenting can sometimes be a pissing contest, and it’s very tiresome to feel like you’re always in competition.
At the same time, I’ve read articles where some people say that you shouldn’t judge other’s parenting, because pretty much if you’re keeping your baby happy and healthy and “alive” (as one article actually said), then who are we to judge.
Tough call people… I would be hesitant to give out participation awards to parents though – we should really strive for more… I’ll leave it at that 🙂
Q: In your first 100 days, what’s been your favourite memory?
A: As my little Charlee starts developing a personality more and more, her true essence comes out and let me tell you, she’s a riot! Some days more than others she is extremely chatty.
Becca was on the ball and caught the following on camera:
Everyday with Charlee something new and wonderful happens, giving us new memories to cherish (and more blog posts for me write!).
I’ve loved the last 100 days and look forward to the next 100 days, weeks, months, and more!