Aliana is now 10 months old! I still cannot believe I’m a father to one of God’s children. I’m not sure if it’s encouraging or downright jaw-dropping to think God has given me sole responsibility, along with my wife of course, to care for her; to tell me plain as day He has enough faith in me to turn Aliana into a kind, loving, follower of Christ who will be a great contributing member of the world. It’s been a challenge though for me to share God’s confidence in myself, as I’ve quickly learned I’m an overprotective paranoid father who fears everything from dirt to her own baby poo is going to hurt her. It’s difficult to take a breath sometimes, but Aliana never fails to show me regularly she is a big kid who can handle new experiences. I bet she looks at me thinkging, “take a chill pill dad and watch me figure things out on her own. Support me, don’t stand there in a panic.” Needless to say I’m a work-in-progress.
Aliana on the other hand, is perfect. She’s surpassing any expectations I thought I had about who my daughter would be as a 10-month old. She has a high tolerance to pain, can control all sorts of foods in her mouth, and repeat actions like, “If I bang this it will make noise.” It’s been eye-opening to see the wheels-turning, really watching her learn something she didn’t know just moments before. It’s something new each week with her, I hope it never ends. Until I’m old and senile I hope she’ll continue to call me telling me what new thing she learned that week. Heck, even after I’m senile, she may even have more fun telling me then!
It’s been nearly 4 months since our little Aliana has entered our world and parenthood continues to be everything I never thought it would be (don’t worry, I don’t mean that negatively). It’s incredible how unbeknownst to Ali, she is so deeply reliant on us to care for her, raise her, and turn her into a self-reliant, independent member of society. I tell myself everyday I hope I can do right by her as she grows and develops. I hope I can provide her all the opportunities and tools necessary to allow her to succeed at whatever she does.
As I think about how the responsibilities associated with parenthood, I realize they are far greater than I ever thought they would be, and I’ve been thinking about it since I was 3. Even during Lilly’s pregnancy I still had no real idea what I was getting myself into. I always knew I would do what was necessary and required of me, but it’s been an eye opener. I am beginning to truly understand the daily challenges my parents faced while raising me, and I can’t imagine what it was like for them raising twins (my brothers) along with a 5 year old (me). Lord knows how they put me through 9 years of hockey. I have a newfound respect for them both and continue to seek guidance and parental advice from them.
As I look into Ali’s eyes, I wish I could remove every challenge and stressful situation she is going to encounter throughout her life. Even now I wish I could prevent every pout and cry she makes when she’s in pain dealing with acid reflux, when she frustrated because mommy and daddy don’t understand her, or when she’s bored and stir-crazy. Knowing full well life has it’s own agenda, I am very aware I cannot remove the trials and tribulations she will face, but I hope she knows daddy would if he could.
Hurricane Irene came up the Eastern Coastline this weekend and ruined the lives of many in the process. For us in the northeast Irene had significantly weakened by the time her heavy rains and strong winds made their way into the Capital District. The rain and wind were rough but they weren’t the real issue, it was the major flooding following the storm. Damage caused by floodwaters in the region have been flatout unreal, never before seen by New Yorkers who have lived here since birth. I am so thankful we were spared the devastation experienced by others not more than a few miles from us. We pray for those severely affected and hope they can see the light in a dark time.
On a more encouraging note, Ali didn’t seem to be bothered one bit by the crazy media coverage during the storm, the storm itself, or the power outage. All she cared about was the book Daddy was reading her while she contently sat in her new pink Bumbo chair.
It’s amazing how a 3 month old can get so excited over things so simple. I’m envious of her pure facination with the world around her. The first 5 minutes of reading her a book is the most wonderful experience because she is so focused on the pictures and speaks out all kinds of baby gibberish. Laughing, cooling, basically enthralled by Daddy’s voice and the variety of colors on the pages. It’s a real privilege to see the direct affect I have on my child and how she relies solely on the care and love of Lilly and I. We are 100% responsible for her and I hope she can feel the love we give her and the safety we provide her.
Ali officially turned 3 months yesterday! Woohoo! It’s funny how each month of her life is a milestone I feel requires a celebration. We didn’t do much though, just not enough hours in the day. We laughed and played in the evening for a bit, gave Ali a warm bath, and fed her to sleep. After Ali fell asleep Lilly and I had some much needed mommy/daddy R&R, resulting in a pretty stress-free evening. It’s so nice Ali goes to sleep at night without arguing about it. I mean, she will try to fight sleep as it creeps up on her but she won’t look me in the face and say, “NO!” I’m trying to cherish these bedtime moments as much as possible before she learns she can cry and complain that she doesn’t want to sleep, or that she’s scared of the closet monster or that she’s going to be defiant simply because she can.
Knowing how much I love my family, it pains me to see the sad article I found on the news today about an infant Ali’s age. The article said the infant fell from the 2nd story of a hospital parking garage. There weren’t too many details except that officials expect the infant was 1-3 months old and that this was no accident. It’s terrible to think of an infant just like Ali being hurled over the edge so carelessly. I can’t even begin to describe the disgust I feel towards the heartless coward who did this. It’s unreal what everyday people are capable of. I could go on and on ranting about the idiots of the world but I know it won’t accomplish anything. I just felt this particular story was worth noting. I love Aliana so much, so unconditionally. It doesn’t matter who she is, what she does, or who she is going to become. Ali is my daughter I she will always be loved.
I realized today just how much I love my daughter. She was in her swing smiling, cooing, laughing; I was doing dishes (my favorite part of being a grown-up…NOT), and then she made a face that said, “I feel safe daddy, I love you, and now I’m going to take a nap.” It was said all in her eyes. What a moment for a new father.
I also realized today how my beautiful daughter can really test my patience, and it wasn’t even her fault which made me feel like a “Big D.” As anyone who takes part in the real world knows, the high points don’t come without their lows. Ali was due for her daily-dose of Zantac this evening and I convinced Lilly to wait until the next feeding before giving it to her. Wrong move on my part. Soon thereafter Aliana spit up on me 5-7 times in a matter of 30 minutes. Some were messier than others but they were all hot, sour, curdled goo. I’ll tell ya, I know it’s not Ali’s fault but damn its annoying getting puked on that many times in such a short period. As a parent I’m learning your patience is constantly tested and you’re forced to keep yourself calm especially when you feel like screaming.
At the end of the day the UP’s greatly outway the DOWN’s. Her smiles have the ability to shutout the world around me, to make me forget about the blowout she just had, or the projectile vomit that just ruined my clothes. She’s so stinkin’ cute it’s impossible to stay frustrated for long. Keep up the good work Ali, you’re doing great!
At the Kahrs family reunion. A rare photo of the three of us together.
(11 weeks post partum)
Sorry for taking so long with part two. I believe you are aware that my life got busier since the first part way back in June, haha.
Anyway, to continue. Aliana was born early but safely, and most importantly healthy that Sunday. Two days later, she finally began to open her eyes more, and start to look around. That morning we made an appointment to see the pediatrician for her to get a complete check up and to get into the system. We thought we were doing what any parents should do when they first have a baby. Now I don’t want to speculate too much about what happened next but, we can’t help but think that this trip to the doctor is what sent her over the edge we didnt even know she may have been tettering on.
This is probably the most painful part to our story to recall. So much happened in so little time. It feels like things happened in slow motion; time was really unnoticeable… it made me realize exactly how much could happen in only 24 hours. Stay tuned for part three…
Tangent: Andrew, I really hope that I do not emasculate you with this post. I’m only trying to record these events elsewhere than my mind. Please forgive me for telling folks you cried.
This has been the most relaxing evening I’ve seen in quite some time. Aliana has been in sleeping mode all day and appears to have continued this course into the night. She’s still eating, peeing and pooping when necessary but seems to be acting like a 2 1/2 month old should. It’s about time I’d say. She’s been so uncomfortable with what seemed to be a mixture of colic (gas) and acid reflux (heartburn) resulting in a miserable time for her and everyone around her (mostly mommy and daddy at 3:00AM. After two weeks of some baby-Zantac Ali is visibly doing muuuuch better! This has really been a treat for us as she is much more pleasant, is smiling like crazy, and is snoozing consistently. Zzzzzzzz…
Before we were able to get her on Zantac Ali would spend upwards of 8-12 hours a day wide awake which clearly isn’t the norm and probably isn’t even good for a newborn like Ali. It really is a terrible feeling to see your child clearly in pain with no real way to comfort her. Hopefully the worst is over in that dept.
Daddy's #1 Favorite Picture of the Month
Even better news tonight is Ali is currently sleeping in her crib! All by herself! I think this is the first time she has been in there for more than 20 minutes, and right now we’re going on an hour! ……Annnnd I spoke to soon. I hear her making her grunting poop-pushing noises. Guess that means its storytime. Night!
Last night I was fine. The three of us watched a movie, cleaned up, prepped everything for the following day, and hung out on the bed while I read a copy of The Lion King to Ali. She was content the entire time, laughing, giggling, cooing.
6:30AM - Ready To Face The World
When the lights went out I didn’t have any trouble going to sleep, but once I put Aliana in her carseat the following morning the reality of what I was about to do began to set in. As she smiled at me with her mommy’s eyes I felt terrible inside because Ali had no idea where she was going, and that daddy wasn’t going with her. With no real sense of time being 2 ½ months old, I wonder if she’ll know I’m going to go back for her, or if she’ll think she has been abandoned left to fend for herself.
After a picture message from our daycare provider of Ali passed out in her plush new purple swing, I don’t think Ali isn’t at all concerned. As sad as that makes me feel, I think it’s for the best. She is at a place where she will be loved and where she will learn to be socially independent. Lord knows I could have used some of that growing up.
In any event, today has not been an easy one. Never having been to daycare myself, ever, I’ve been struggling with the idea of Aliana not having one of her parents around during some of the greatest milestones of her new life. I’m hoping Ali saves them for when she’s home, but time will tell that story.
I believe Lilly does a much better job at writing about her experiences as a mother than I do writing about mine as a father. Lilly really captivates me when I read one of her posts. I wish she posted everyday, but an infant doesn’t allow much room for personal time. I feel my writing abilities are more statement/fact-oriented and less about getting the reader to envelop themselves with my story. I spend most of my workday writing professionally to clients. The emails are formal, to the point, are generally boring and usually are requesting something I’ve asked for many times before. There isn’t a whole lot of room for creative expression. My limited vocabulary doesn’t help either in my goal for greatness in writing. Hopefully my continued reading will help me pick up a broader range of descriptive abilities to illustrate my experience as a 25 year old first-time dad. (Please note the obvious use of the Thesaurus).
In an attempt to continue my quest for greatness in writing, I want to show you show you what I thought to be a funny size and attitude comparison of Aliana. I tend to put Aliana in places where she is compared to common everyday objects that are much bigger than she is with her being an infant. The first photo is her sitting upright on a full-size futon wearing a look of concern.
The second photo is where the concern has turned to intense frustration of “Pick me up Daddy! Why did you leave me on this thing?”
It’s been an interesting experience learning Aliana’s cries of what she is struggling to communicate with us. I actually think we’ve all been learning as the days go by. Aliana’s learning how to cry, and we’re figuring out what they mean. It’s getting easier to tell when Aliana is experiencing pain like acid reflux, anger or frustration with Mommy and Daddy, a poopy diaper, or the need to feed. I’m definitely looking forward to her growing ability to interact with us.
One Month Old. Photo by Samantha Whitman Photography
Before I continue the part two of Ali’s story, I was reminded today
that there will be a huge chunk missing if I don’t speak of the moments
immediately after birth and its’ affect on my body and the emotions I experienced. This entry was really hard to write, because describing your emotions is never easy. I didn’t really edit this post, but rather just let the words flow straight out of my mind. I hope you understand what I am trying to convey. I apologize for the HUGE tangent as well.
This next part is kind of Andrew’s favorite. One of the first things he
tells people about the home birth experience is what I did a few minutes
after Aliana joined us. But to find out what that is you’ll have to keep