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 weekly 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’.

Our Favourite Change in Squish

Burrowed away on a book project over recent weeks, I have become aware of just how many remarkable milestones Squish has passed since I last wrote about her.

She is now almost four months old, and has begun rolling from her tummy to her back; observing herself curiously in the mirror; and smiling at us ear-to-ear from across the room — constantly.

Our favourite part of all is that Squish is now laughing, working herself up into an adorable, red-faced, uncontrollable cackle. It still only happens once a day or so, so when it does, whoever is not in the room comes running for the spectacle, until we are all in stitches.

Our Least Favourite Change in Squish

Our least favourite part of Squish’s recent growth is her nap routines, which are a total mess.

Phrases like “awake window”, “sleep training” and “connecting cycles” now feature heavily in our vocabulary — though at the moment, it is all a bit daunting, and still mostly theoretical.

In short, during her earliest weeks of life, Squish could hardly stay awake during the day. Now she hardly lets herself fall asleep. Life is simply too fascinating for this interactive, nosey little four-month-old. Even staring at blank ceilings excites her, and I’m not kidding.

We are incredibly blessed that she still sleeps well at night. But her daytime naps have become a nightmare for us — and something we will need to solve soon for our own sanity.

Motherly Instinct is a Powerful Force

What Angie and I are learning during this season is just how differently the two of us are wired. Motherly instinct is an incredibly powerful force, and this holds just as true for an adoptive mother as for a biological one.

I have a much higher tolerance for Squish’s tears, even finding the drama of it all quite funny at times. For Angie, however, something primal in her takes hold when she hears Squish cry.

Angie has worked as a career nanny for almost a decade. Before becoming a mother, she swore black and blue she would do whatever it takes to sleep-train her baby. Though her goal hasn’t changed, now that she has her own baby in her arms, she finds herself fighting not just Squish’s bad habits but her own compassionate impulses.

While we haven’t decided on a sleep training method yet, we know that whatever we choose to do will have to take into account the innate difference between us.

Accepting Our Differences is Essential

This innate difference has been popping up everywhere.

I was the first to start lifting Squish up above my head and flying her around like an aeroplane. Angie was the first to bring Squish into bed for morning snuggles. I’ve been telling Squish how I’ll take her camping in the backyard when she’s older. Angie has been dreaming about taking her on shopping dates and being BFFs for life.

The innate difference between a mother and a father is a beautiful thing. We were designed this way, so there’s no point fighting it.

And when it comes to the big challenges of parenting — such as the one Angie and I currently face — accepting this difference is the first step towards success.


Image via Freepik.

About the Author: Kurt Mahlburg

Kurt Mahlburg is Canberra Declaration's Research and Features Editor. He hosts his own blog at Cross + Culture and is also a contributor at the Spectator Australia, MercatorNet, Caldron Pool and The Good Sauce. Kurt is also a published author. His book Cross and Culture: Can Jesus Save the West? provides a rigorous analysis of the modern malaise in Western society and how Jesus provides the answer to the challenges before us. Kurt has a particular interest in speaking the truths of Jesus into the public square in a way that makes sense to a secular culture and that gives Christians courage to do the same. Kurt has also studied architecture, has lived for two years in remote South-East Asia, and among his other interests are philosophy, history, surf, the outdoors, and travel. He is married to Angie.

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