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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A year in the life of fatherhood

I can't believe Gavin is a year old already! I can vividly remember the trip to the hospital after getting the call that Kacy's water broke. I'd do almost anything to rewind back to that day with the knowledge I have gained during the past year. At the same time, I love seeing him at this age as his personality is coming out more and he's walking more than he's crawling. A year is a long time, until you have a child. I knew it would go fast; I underestimated just how fast it would be. In his first week or two at home, he was already completely different from the hospital. His looks were changing and he was already taking on certain personality traits or habits. He started refusing to sit back in his bouncy chair and always wanted to sit up. The same swift pattern of change has continued until now and is not stopping anytime soon. He can shake his head like he's saying "no" and he knows what it means. He can say "mama" and "dada" and likes to sing and hear himself make sounds. He has a great belly laugh, usually provoked while playing with our dog Lola, when he pulls on her toys as she's trying to get it from him. She will actually bring toys near him to get him to latch on with his Kung Fu grip so they can have a tug battle.

I'm sure this year will bring many new changes and "firsts" and they'll probably come faster now that he's mobile and he can start discovering more things. We started the "babyproofing" process a while back when we ditched the coffee table for a large, soft ottoman for him to run around. Gavin had a habit of crawling under the table and sitting up which meant that his head and the table met on several occasions. That table joined the abundance of items that now rest under our bed. We are now in the process of replacing our TV stand since he has free access to our DVD player, which is now inoperable and only Gavin knows why, and my Playstation which he pulls to the floor repeatedly.

I'm not sure what's next, because he's running out of things to get into. We have the kitchen and bedroom blocked off with a gate, and try to keep the bathroom shut, so he has the living room and his room in which to cause mischief. Our living room has been taken over by his toys, as the toys for his age are becoming larger. What kills me is that parents, me and my wife included, spend hundreds of dollars for toys and books for our kids and Gavin loves playing with a ring of measuring spoons just as much as any of his toys. When we have him at Mimi's house (Kacy's grandparents) they give him a cheap set of measuring spoons and he's perfectly content, while Kacy and I are hauling around half of his toys so he'll be occupied wherever we go. I guess that's just proof that no matter how prepared you are or how much you try to plan with kids, they will always find a way to go outside of those plans and let you know that they run the show.

One thing that I remember from growing up is learning to fish with my dad and his friends. He taught me how to tie on my own hook and how to cast, using a real fishing rod and not just the push button type that most kids use. When I was around 11 years old I caught my first trophy fish, a 3lb 18-inch rainbow trout. It was amazing, and I fought it for what seemed like forever (probably about 4 minutes). I was done for the day after that, and I just kept playing with it in the water on its stringer. Those are the kinds of things that I can't wait to do with Gavin and for the three of us to do together. My dad and I are much alike in that we're tough on the outside but softies inside and I'm sure he'll start becoming nostalgic when we all fish together someday. The only thing missing is my mom, but somehow I think she has seen him, or at least I hope so.

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