11 Months of Airi

I’m a day early. Tomorrow my wee little lass will be 11 months old. Sometimes the cliches feel like the most accurate of phrases.

The time has indeed gone by so fast. The amount she has changed in these 11 months is startling. Except I guess not. I mean, it’s all natural. But it feels partly like she was born, and then I blinked, maybe had a bit of a sneeze, and now she is this little one that can do so much.

Okay, I guess it depends on how you define “much.” She can’t walk, and can only stand when holding onto things. Hasn’t said her first word. Only has the two teeth.

But she watches and reacts. She knows her name and claps. She waves bye-bye and when I pick her up from daycare she squeals with joy when she sees me and crawls over as fast as she can so she can hold up her hands asking me to pick her up. And that is the world.

Today has been a pretty normal Sunday. We all went for lunch out. As we were finishing Leo, our son, wanted to relax with Mommy and Airi needed a change in scenery. I took her for a walk around the shopping center. She pointed and laughed and cooed and (playfully) but my finger. And as she grew contented with seeing so many new things she rested her head on my shoulder.

The best thing about having a second child is that now I am experienced. I am almost five years a father. And while I have a lot yet to learn, normal baby stuff is, well, normal. And that means I can just relax and enjoy it.

I’ve mentioned before that I was worried about how much more joy I was getting out of baby Airi than I did from baby Leo. But, then I realized I was wrong. It wasn’t/isn’t that there is more joy. It’s just that there is so much less fear. I felt I had to be so careful with Leo. I don’t know how long it took for me to truly relax when holding him. I was always aware of the softness of his skull, or the weakness of his neck. It felt all too easy to sneeze and break him. But I learned. So with Airi I can be just so much more relaxed and just feel the love and joy of being a dad to my baby.

I’m trying to hold on to that joy with my son as well. He is this amazing kid who loves numbers and dinosaurs and running around. He has so much energy and needs an audience. He is perfect and exhausting. And I want to give him space to run and play and even fall down, but I also want to hold him so tight to keep him safe.

But he, and his little sister, need to move around and learn and explore. So I do what I can to make their environment safe, and to be there for them when I can. And I try to remember that I’m going to screw up at times, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make amends or learn. The same as them.

And I know that they need just as much love as I do, and that means quite a lot.

11 months marks quite a bit of changes for my little girl. But it also means changes for me as well. And, I got to say, I feel the changes my kids have prompted in me have been for the better.

Except for all the tiredness. It would be awesome if they let me sleep more.

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