Ever since my wife has started her new job, I usually end up watching Parker by myself a couple nights a week.
She has watched Parker, well, for at least 8 hours by herself for just about every day since he’s been born (given, four of those hours usually consist of nap time–which, as a parent, let me just say is the reason people are willing to have more than one child). ‘Single’ parenting is tough, especially with an infant.
We have a good system when we’re both home, as if/when he gets fussy, generally a trip into the other parent’s arms are enough to pacify him (this, of course, being after all forms of his own personal entertainment have been exhausted). But when you’re at home by yourself with a five month-old that 1) can’t explain to you what he wants and 2) gets frustrated by his failures at independence, it can surely be trying.
But beyond all that, the moments of pure joy that come with bonding with your child are worth every bit. Tonight, Parker and I had one of those moments.
He was sitting on my stomach while I was laying on the couch. I was holding him by the hips so that he wouldn’t suddenly fling himself onto the floor (and thereby ending ‘Daddy nights’). We’re practicing language development right now with Parker, specifically using consonant sounds when communicating (so a lot of da, ba, etc.). I had my head laying flat on the couch, and would pop it up on occasion and shout ‘Ba!’ at Parker. Soon, he started laughing. I decided to up the ante, by doing it while he was laughing. Let me tell you, I’ve never heard something laugh that hard and that deep.
And the end of the game, I just pulled him down and hugged him. It was so simple–a baby’s laugh–but knowing that he found our game so amusing that he had to laugh that hard just moved me beyond words. He laid on my chest, trying to catch his breath from his guffawing. And that was it. It was barely a minute, but it’s a moment that carried me through the rest of the evening.
He’s in bed now, but I look to his room and hope he’s thinking about how much fun he had tonight with his dad. And even if he isn’t, that that moment carried him for the rest of the night.