[twitter]You’ve heard the clichés: “They grow up so fast!” “Where does the time go?” And so on. But I’ve got a confession to make: I like that they grow up so fast.
There’s no secret that Dads are less involved in the lives of infants. The mother-child bond is stronger than nothing else in the world. For the first 6-12 months, Dad is more support personnel than anything else. With our first child, this was a bit of a distressing period. I saw the overpowering bond that our child had with his Mother and knew that my own bond, no matter how much I wanted it to be, just wasn’t as strong. I’d read all about this in the various Baby Owners’ Manuals, but experiencing it was something else. With our second child, it has been a bit less of an issue, partly because I’ve already been through it, and partly because child #1 demands (and rightfully so) so much of my attention.
As the kids move from being infants to being toddlers, I still don’t resent the fact that they grow up so fast. I love watching the development process, reveling in each new discovery as much as the child does. Walking! Talking! Feeding himself! Each developmental milestone is celebrated by child and father alike. And, as an aside, watching the second child go through the same milestones that the first did is no less exciting for anyone involved.
Perhaps it’s the stubborn independence streak in me, but the sort of people I appreciate the most in life are those that are independent. Independent thinkers, independent workers, and so on. As such, I revel in the journey each child is making towards independence. I no longer have to feed, dress, or change the soiled diapers of our first child. He can entertain himself when we need him to do so. He is an amazing reader. There’s no way that I’d want to live longer in the earlier stages. Let’s keep discovering new things, developing new abilities, and journey forward together!
I had an interesting discussion with another Dad about this a few weeks ago. He was of the “grow too fast” opinion, and I totally respect that. I understand the desire to preserve the innocence of your kids and live in the moments when things are uncomplicated. How much stress can a 2 year old have after all? There was some tangential discussion that these feelings were also manifested in our pet preferences: he is a “dog person” and enjoys a bit of co-dependence, and I’m a “cat person” who likes the independence of cats.
I also wonder a bit about the effect that technology has on these feelings, and if Dads of the last generation have any different feelings about this than the current generation. With digital cameras and digital video cameras, we can capture the lives of our children in a way that no other generation has been able to ever before. There’s less need to mourn the passing of youth because we can live it over (and over) again through pictures and video.