Sunday, 14 April 2019

19 months : your dad likes you now



The fact that I have a 19 month old child is so terrifying that I sat up the other night worrying about what I'm going to do the first time he comes home late from a night out. I considered my options carefully and decided the only way to approach it is by disguising myself in a corner wherever he goes for the rest of his life to make sure he's alright. You might think it's premature to worry about 17 years in the future, but look how fast he grew from being that tiny baby, so new and fresh from the oven, to now being a person who tries to dress himself and says CROCODILE (Jason thinks he can't. But crococ is good enough for me). He knows his colours and animals and is so utterly entertained by farts that it's becoming a worry. He's definitely the funniest person in our house and he knows it. The dog is a bit put out by this because he's been working on his stand-up material for a while and it's just falling on deaf ears these days.

Jason has always loved River, obviously. But never in the same obsessive, intense, over the top, borderline unhealthy, all-encompassing way that I love River. He would make no secret of the fact that he thought River was almost pointless for quite a big chunk of his life. The first few months, I would sit and gaze in wonderment at my baby and just want to breathe in every second of him; whereas Jason would constantly ask when he could take him mountain bike riding because, and I quote, "he's literally the most boring person I've ever met." He just yearned to do dad stuff with him and his options were limited with a tiny bird of a baby, especially since his mouth was fused to my tit 23 hours a day (the baby, not Jason)
His idea of River 'doing things' and my idea of River doing things are vastly different. I would be so full of joy whenever he made a sound that was slightly different to the one he had made 2 minutes previous and Jason would barely look up from his dinner plate. I have been obsessed with River since the second I found out I was pregnant and I know that for the man, it's harder to understand because they aren't biologically programmed in the same way.  However, he did learn over time that if he followed my lead and reacted to the 'pointless' little things exactly when I did, he would avoid being berated while he was trying to enjoy his dinner. Feigning excitement is a top dad skill that requires constant development but it appears he's got the hang of it.

So we reached the bigger milestones that I presume (?) Jason felt a bit more enthusiastic about - the first steps, the first words etc and it seems like the older Riv's getting, the more of a genuine interest they have in each other. I mean, I'm still head honcho in the house because I keep the breastaurant stocked up, but there's definitely a balance beginning to form in terms of who Riv will approach. It helps that River is such an affectionate little boy and he will kiss you until your entire face is dripping in a glaze of his silky, sweet saliva. He cuddles and kisses Jason all the time and I think that's really cemented their bond; well, either that or their love of hummus chips. Recently, something has shifted and made their bond even stronger and Jason keeps telling me how much he loves him; although apparently still not enough to offer to do his nappy.

...Just as a side note, the gymnastic skills now needed to change Rivers nappies are almost other worldly. He's really into grabbing his shit in fistfuls these days, so the second you get his nappy open his hands are in it before you've even had time to think about it. The art of distraction has died a terrible death; giving him things to hold and play with while you try and change his nappy just means you have to spend your Tuesday morning at the kitchen sink, washing shit off Fireman Sams cheerful face and trying not to gag at the piece of sweetcorn stuck in his hat. ANYWAY, I digress...

They've been having more time together because I'm slowly starting to let go of the thought that if River isn't with me 24 hours a day, he will die (I wish I was joking about that. Separation anxiety is real as real as reeeaaal, guys. Maybe I'll tell you all about it sometime) So yeah, I'm taking more time for myself - mostly trying/failing to go for a run and watching copious amounts of Grey's Anatomy in the bath - but I've also started to have some casual work days which means theres more daddy day care for the boy.  Jason would have me believe that daddy day care mainly consists of watching Batman and throwing footballs at Rivs head while shouting "On yer 'ead, son!" and I imagine it does take up a considerable amount of their day, but I know they have the best time together doing more than that. There is minimal bruising at the end of it and he gets fed so I'm guessing he's ok? 

I think it's important for Jason to have one on one time with River because its good for everyone. It's good for me to have a break, it's good for River to be away from me and develop relationships with other people and most importantly it's good for Jason to see that parenting isn't as much of a doss as he might think it is and to realise that I'm the best and so order me some pizza. There is a smug bitch inside me waiting to burst out when he tells me he couldn't get anything else done because River was so demanding; it's strangely satisfying to come home to an upside down house and a man who is broken from the unrelenting requests for trucks and blueberries. Sometimes Jason will purposely do a household job really terribly because he knows that I won't ask him to do it again; so when he dresses River in mismatching clothes from the 'too small' pile that I set aside, it does seem like he's veering into that territory with parenting, but it's clearly just to piss me off so that I immediately take over when I walk through the door and he can have a lie down. 
I want him to experience the highs and the lows like I do so that we can both have that same bond with River. I want him to experience the joy of having him fall asleep on your chest while you're watching a film but I also want him to experience the mental torture a one year old can put you through when you're devoid of adult interaction all day. 

Whatever age River is at, I say it's my favourite age. But this time I might just mean it. He's at the stage where he understands so much but because his vocabulary is limited to his favourite things and making fart noises, we don't get any backchat or arguing from him yet. He's so fearless and excited by everything and it's amazing to watch him explore the world around him with such fascination. He held a worm for the first time the other week and was so curious about it and now looks for Mr. Wiggly Worm in the garden whenever we go out there. I haven't got the heart to tell him that the garden path isn't his permanent address and that he's probably been in and out of a birds belly by now; we'll save that story for next month. 

I knew the dad bond would take time but it's definitely worth the wait because it's my favourite thing to see the people I love, loving each other. Jason definitely doesn't find him boring now although he still won't shut up about the mountain biking - he's ONE, Jason.









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