My wife and I are in the process of adopting a baby girl, known affectionately as ‘Squish’ here at the Daily Dad until her adoption is finalised.
In this regular column, I am sharing the ins and outs of parenting a newborn and the joys and challenges of adoption.
Enjoy this week’s edition of ‘The Adventures of Squish’.
A Watching Set of Eyes
Parenting is a monumental responsibility that only hits you in stages — at least, that has been the case for me.
If I think back to the day we brought Squish home from the hospital, the main task in front of us was simply keeping our baby alive. She was a helpless little bundle that ate, pooped and slept.
Now that my wife and I have a handle on those basics, Squish is older and much more aware of her world. She is a watching set of eyes in every room of the house; a witness to our every habit; an observer of every interaction between Angie and me.
Thus, it has dawned on me in recent weeks that the time to model “the good life” for Squish is not when she starts talking or begins school or reaches adolescence — but today.
If I don’t want Squish to grow up attached to a smartphone, I need to use my phone minimally in her presence today.
If I want her to learn the value of patience, kind words and affection, that means being patient in front of her, speaking kindly as a habit, and giving her and Angie affection through hugs and kisses as a normal part of every day.
If I want Squish to value books and literacy and education, that means reading to her now, before she understands letters and words and sentences. She will catch on eventually, but a love of learning will already be in her bones.
A Universal Principle
This principle can be applied to just about anything — whether the importance of leisure and rest, healthy eating, hospitality, time with family, use of money, and so much more.
(As Christian parents, this also extends to our regular disciplines of Bible reading, prayer and attendance at church. How will Squish value these practices if she doesn’t see them modelled in our lives?)
One thing is certain: as parents, we are learning as we go. There is no such thing as perfect parenting. But there is intentional parenting, which has been our catchcry as the new year begins.
As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. This is all the more true for babies who are not yet able to use words to communicate.
As it stands, actions are our main mode of communication with Squish, so we want to model the good life for her as best we can.
Image courtesy of Unsplash.