My son Kyrie just celebrated his first birthday, just one day before Canada Day, meaning my rookie season as a dad is officially in the books. But this is a career with no offseason, it’s a 24 hour a day, 365 day of the year gig. I still remember that Saturday night before heading to a Halloween party, when my wife Naomi screamed with excitement after having a positive pregnancy test after a few months of negative ones. We were both excited and scared at that moment but as the youngest of four siblings who all have children of their own, along with my parents who were first generation immigrants from the Philippines, I had a few parent role models in my life. So for fatherhood, I not only had Google as my teammate, but a number of family members to assist me along the way.
My son Kyrie wasn’t a difficult baby in his first year but he definitely wasn’t easy either, being colicky for the first four months. Sleep was limited in that colicky stage but looking back at it now, those nights spent in the rocking chair trying to settle Kyrie as he was crying his lungs out, are all a blur. And somehow, that crying baby has become this always happy and smiling boy who walks and is able to communicate with us in so many ways.
Parenting is definitely like one big puzzle, it can be extremely challenging but piece by piece, you learn along the way where all the pieces start to fit. I know we used to say to each other as non-parents “When we’re parents, we’ll never let our kids do that,” but even in this first year, we’ve learned quickly that parenting isn’t as easy as you’d think and babies are smart. For instance, Kyrie hates getting in his car seat. I’m sure like a lot of babies his age, he’ll squirm and cry, and manage to turn himself around so he is climbing up the front of it trying to free himself from this confining contraption. Often times, we find ourselves bribing him with a toy, or sometimes even food, to get him buckled in and he turns around and sits down, satisfied that he got exactly what he was looking for in the first place. It’s in those moments (and many others) where we totally feel like rookie parents.
Watching him grow in his first year has been the most rewarding experience. Having the chance to watch him experience things for the first time or taking him places that are memorable to us, has really allowed us to enjoy life from a different perspective. Watching him see his first snowfall, open Christmas gifts for the first time, splash in the swimming pool or swing at the park where I played as a child, makes this dad thing even more special.
Now, on his first birthday, he’s already walking all over the place, crawling over and under things to get where he wants to go, sneaking food to the dog and pretending that he knew nothing about it, and he already understands so much of what we say (except when we say ‘don’t feed the dog’ where he thinks that means the complete opposite). The first year has definitely been full of surprises, challenges and rewarding experiences that has made this first year in this parenting puzzle that much more enjoyable.