I knew that he was incredibly eager for me to release her into the world, but I wasn't exactly expecting the possessive side of him to take over from minute one of her life!
As the doctors were below the curtain doing their thing and bringing our baby into the world, the only view that my anxious, practically-shackled-to-the-table-self (more on that later) had was of the blue curtain at my chest and the face of the very confused man standing above me (Mark).
He wasn't saying much and I wasn't feeling much. (That spinal block is a scary, magical thing.) Curious as I was, I was talking a mile a minute. (For those of you who know me-this is the usual. Why would childbirth change this?) "What are they doing down there?", "Why can't I feel her?", "Did they cut yet?", "What is that tugging?", "Dear god! What is that pain in my shoulder?", "Hey! Am I covered down there? She's not coming out down below." "Is she ok?", "Is she a girl?", "Is she nine pounds?" Much to my avail, I don't recall receiving one response. What I do remember are the first words that came out of his mouth when she entered the world. "She's me!" accompanied by a look of sheer amazement. And it was at that moment that he was gone. Smitten. Enamored. Captivated. Charmed. One might call it wrapped. I like to call it 'In Love'. He was no longer Mark Johnson-husband to Amanda, son of Robin and Randy, brother to Jason and uncle to Ocean. He was Kinley's daddy.
|Pictures during their special time.|
|Daddy's first time holding her.|
And since 11:32 on 11.11.11, that's the way it has been. To be honest, I think she managed to curl that teeny finger around him in the months preceding this date, but I have no real proof. Nonetheless, with her here, I've been able to watch my husband turn into her father. Her playmate. Her caretaker. Her advocate. Her best friend. Her protector. Her biggest fan.
It's funny to me to see the man who would fill his evenings with tinkering with his irons or bow, and his weekends on the course or sitting quietly up in a tree, scrap that time just to be home to watch his daughter wake up because, "She has the best smile when she wakes up."
I get more joy watching him watch her than anything else. (OK-I'm pretty happy playing with her myself too!) In the beginning, he wanted to take her anywhere and everywhere. He was so proud that he wanted any excuse for the world to see his baby. "Do you need anything from the grocery store? I can take Kinley." "Oh, you've had your stomach sliced open within this past week? Let's walk over and have dinner at Miltonia." (haha. It's ok. It was good for me to get moving.) Now, it's little things like turning her seat around in the stroller so that he can watch her, or immediately sending pictures we've taken to Walgreens one-hour photo. It's amazing how easy it's been to get him to take a walk with me (Is that all I had to do? Have a baby? Well that was easy...) Forget it if I tell him she has a fever-he's out of work to grab her faster than he can shut down his computer.
And then there's the not-so-little-things like Daddy scheduling her doctor's appointments for 2 pm so that he can get her from daycare and see her midday (and Mommy has to be at work :'( ); and insisting I go get her at 2 am because she's decided she's a belly sleeper, and the risk of suffocation outweighs that of the possibility of sleep (for either of us apparently) while she's in her room laying like that. (I'm not gonna lie-I prefer her with us, too. I just wish her position of choice did not include her head nuzzled near Daddy and her feet all up in my ribs and face.)
I love seeing the triumphant look on his face when he gets her to sleep or to stop fussing. Even more than that, I love seeing how much fun they have at bath time, and the smug look on his face when she says 'Dada' (especially when I've been pleading for her to say Mama again) I love seeing how happy he is when she sees him coming and has a whole-body-shrieking-freak out, and how excited he is when I seemingly-succomb to his letsdressourdaughterincamo infatuation. ("Do you think if I take her into the woods now, she'll eventually just like hunting?" haha)
It cracks me up when he asks what we're doing and I tell him we're watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates and he responds with 'Ahoy!' I guess the months of watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in preparation (Yes, I saw you!) have paid off.
I don't know what happened in that first two hours of her life when I was in recovery and Kinley and her daddy had their special alone time, but I like to call it magic. I never doubted that he would love her or be proud of her, but I never really expected what actually happened. He's jumping to change every diaper (even though he'd never done it before) and putting his ear on her chest to listen to her little heartbeat, watching her sleep for hours, setting the tv to The Disney Channel for the morning, and dancing with her across the kitchen tile to sappy songs. Forget the countless hours watching the Golf Channel and perusing Archery Talk boards, this is what Kinley's daddy can be found doing these days.
Sometimes it breaks my heart to see his face when she reaches for me when she's really upset/hungry/needs a teether. I try to remind him that she still loves him, but for some situations, it'd be helpful if he were also lactating. Sometimes a baby just needs her mommy. I ask him to give me that...because soon enough she's going to be daddy's girl. It's inevitable. Little ladies need their daddies, and our daddy deserves that.
|A Father's Day nap.|
|Giving Daddy her card.|
|Matching hairstyles for Father's Day.|