Let’s face it – 2017 has been a shit year. So much so that it’s been incredibly difficult to find the inspiration to write much here. But, as with most New Year’s Eves, it’s good to reflect back on some better moments before we give this year the middle finger and turn the page. So in the spirit of the season here are ten of my top parenting moments of the year, in no particular order:
1) Freedom From Diapers (Mostly). Do you hear that? It’s the angels of the heavens singing the Hallelujah Chorus!! This has been the year of real potty independence. And while we’re still not 100% there (I’m convinced he won’t poop in the toilet until he’s 37), he’s a rock star with peeing and keeping his overnight diapers dry. Sidenote: I’m fairly positive I never thought I would think this sentence, let alone write it for public viewing. Ah, parenting. Oh, and yet another shoutout to our cloth diapers for being rock solid for over 4 straight years now. Honorable mention to our washer and dryer for surviving semi-industrial usage for that same time. Y’all are the real deal.
2) Travelin’ Man. As you may or may not know, we were fortunate enough to live in The Netherlands for half of this year. And we traveled. A lot. Our son was a friggin’ road warrior, surviving 9-hour flights, drives of 10, 14, and 18-1/2 hours, and being thrown into a brand new society and culture. All at the tender age of 3 where he was just learning to speak his native language, let alone deal with a completely new one. While he may not remember everything (or anything) from our time there, I can already tell that the experience changed him forever.
3) Roger the Rabbit’s European Adventures. Along the same lines, T’s favorite stuffed animal, Roger the Rabbit, went everywhere with us – from riding the bus in Rome to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris to relaxing in a beach house in Sweden. If you’re on Instagram (@comma.splice) I have a decent amount of photos of T and Roger on their adventures together. This rabbit has seen more of the world than most children!
4) The Colliding Hugs. Every day I come home from work he does this awesome thing where he’ll say my name (“Daddy”) and start running toward me. The faster he gets the faster and louder he says my name until WHAM! he collides with my midsection and wraps his arms around me for a giant hug. This will never, EVER get old. Can I just be greeted like this everywhere I go?
5) School Days. One of the hardest things for me has been realizing that I can’t teach him everything he’ll need to know to survive in the world; I just don’t have the capacity. So watching him develop further and really like going to preschool has been immensely satisfying. Until he comes home with a cold picked up from some other snotty-nosed, drool-faced kid and gives it to ALL. OF. US. Thanks, drooly-face.
6) Building Blocks and Lego Sets. We’re doing LEGO now!! And not just the Duplo stuff, but real, serious, “Age 5-12” sets! I’m not sure who gets more excited by them, me or him, but they’ve really captured his imagination and attention span, all while advancing his fine motor skills and spatial abilities. And the best part? This is only going to get more awesome over time!
7) Music Man. If Lego make me giddy, then music makes me absolutely ecstatic. He’s strumming the guitar, making up songs, singing on pitch, exploring his new keyboard, my trumpet and drums, and memorizing hooks from songs by bands such as Junius, Nirvana, and Hole. We’re also playing a lot of “Song Like/Do Not Like”, which is how I know he likes certain songs by some complex bands like Lamb of God, Opeth, Static X, and Gojira. Oh, and he’s really into Skrillex and Glitch Mob, so we have an EDM thing going too. I’m fairly certain he’s in rarified 4-year-old air in terms of musical palette. Quick, someone get me some Frank Zappa!
8) Friendship. He’s got genuine friends! Partners in crime, even! On the surface, it’s not surprising since he’s got all of the extrovert genes of me and my wife combined then multiplied by 5. But I was a socially awkward kid and sometimes a barely functioning adult in social situations, so it’s been wonderful to see him reach out and connect with others. Oh, and not be a dick to them, too. That’s important.
9) Family Connection. One of our best memories of Europe was driving to Sweden to visit my sister-in-law and her beautiful family. Not only did T get to see his Swedish cousins for the first time (one of which may as well be his doppelgänger), but this was the first time my father-in-law was with all four of his grandchildren at the same time. A moment that would make Hallmark jealous.
10) Reading Rainbows He’s always loved books, but Now. He. Can. READ. THEM!!!! He’s actively spelling words, sounding them out, and putting it all together. This was the official first book, and he read it all the way through!!! Watching his mind work and actually hearing the connection turn into words is one of the most amazing experiences for me. It’s literally indescribable.
And with that, we look ahead to 2018, which will no doubt be big year in a lot of ways.