Friday, July 26, 2013

Parenthood: Week 9 – The Conversation

It wasn’t that it was the first time that Ollie talked to me, it was the fact that Ollie initiated the conversation that brought tears to my eyes.

Along with smiling, Ollie has started “talking” to us. When we smile and say hello to Ollie, he will often smile and respond with as soft but deliberate “ahh.” He is so proud of himself when he can make this sound in response to us. This conversation can go back and forth almost ten times before Ollie gets tired or disinterested.

Certain moments with your child don’t affect you in the way you expect. The first time I saw Ollie didn’t fill me with emotions, but the first time I saw Diana holding Ollie it was overwhelmed me with feeling of love. The first time I heard Ollie’s voice didn’t really do much for me, but that night last week when he started a conversation with me is a moment I’ll never forget.

Parents have different things that they value and hope that their kid develops. One of things that is important to Diana and I is that Ollie has a voice. We want Ollie to feel empowered by his words and use them as a way to express himself. I believe that children are best when they are seen and heard and that cultivating a love of articulate and respectful discourse is one of the most important things that parents can help nurture.

While it has been amazing to have conversations with Ollie, it’s been one-sided in the sense that I am the one initiate the conversation. I’m trying to get to know Ollie and I want to interact with him. This is important for him to know and feel but it only goes one direction.

A couple nights ago I was settling Ollie down to go to sleep. I was standing in my office in the dark cradling him in my arms gently walking around the room. I was conscious to not talk to him or give him eye contact so that he didn’t see this time as “play time.”

A couple times I glanced down and saw his eyes open staring off to space, which told me that there was more walking to be done, so I continued around the room.

Then I heard him talk.

It was an excited “ahh,” from Ollie. When I looked down I saw him smiling up at me as he continued to talk to me.  The whole not give too much stimulus thing left me as I smiled and engaged in a nighttime conversation with my son.

All of these milestones are exciting but it's how they build relationships that is truly touching.  By reaching out to me, I felt that Ollie want to get to know me.  This may not be the case, but it's how it feels from my perspective as a parent.  To feel that connection is real and genuine because beyond the biology and  instincts, there's something more between us. 

Just when I think I couldn't love my son anymore. . . 

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