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.
Here in my 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’.
Your Baby’s Favourite Person
Squish is now nine weeks old, and cuter than ever. She is interacting with us all the time.
I have been an uncle many times over, but it is only as a dad that I have realised just how early babies begin connecting with the big humans in their lives.
Squish is especially bright and bubbly after breakfast. With lots of sleep under her belt and a full tummy, she greets Angie and me with smiles, coos and new facial expressions that always make us laugh.
What’s amazing is how familiar Squish is with us as her parents. She will happily be held by other adults, but she has a special connection to Angie and me.
She regularly locks eyes with us from across the room. Occasionally, I watch Squish while I work at my laptop. More often than not, she spends the entire time gazing at my face. It’s adorable, if a little disconcerting!
Eager for Connection
The other day, Angie’s parents came over. Squish began playing a game she recently invented, where she avoids eye contact with the person who wants it most.
Up in her grill was Papap, Angie’s dad, searching for eye contact. Squish was determined not to look at him, her head darting left and right, up and down.
Then I peered over Papap’s shoulder and looked towards Squish. Immediately, she gazed past Papap and directly into my eyes. It’s nice to be the favourite as her dad!
Squish is very new to the world, so she has a limited attention span. When I sit with her in the morning and chat with her, it lasts ten minutes at most, before she starts to fuss and lose focus.
On the weekend, I sat next to Squish in the back seat of the car for a half-hour drive home. Normally she would sit there alone, but that day she was hungry and we were out of milk. My hope was to keep her entertained and not too teary.
The entire drive, she stared into my eyes. It amazes me that someone so tiny, barely two months out of the womb, is so eager for connection.
Enjoy Every Precious Moment
All of these experiences are a reminder to me that we were made for connection. That’s an obvious fact when it comes to adults, and obvious enough too with small children. But here’s an amazing mystery: even infants were made for connection.
Your baby was made to know you, and you were made to know your baby.
The routines of raising a newborn can sometimes feel like a merry-go-round of eat, burb, play, sleep, and do it all again. There’s laundry to wash, bottles to sterilise, nappies to change, and tears to dry.
But don’t let too many moments go by without connecting with your baby.
Next month, she’ll be at a new stage of development, and the way she interacts with you will have changed — possibly never to be seen again.
Treasure every moment. Look your baby in the eyes. Talk to her. Listen to what she has to say. Laugh. Connect. Enjoy being a dad.
You and your baby were made for connection.
Photo by Isaac Quesada on Unsplash.