they enter the new world naked

Admittedly, I err in starting a blog now. I’ve been a stay at home dad nearly a year now, and it would have made much more sense to start the blog at the beginning of that process, rather than now, which may be nearing the end. But in my defense, a year ago I was too busy and too panicked to believe I could keep up a blog. And really, the kind of flailing that was going on a year ago would have been either very banal (me learning to change a diaper) or very pretentious (me philosophizing on babies and masculinity). I’m not sure how this will be different now, but I do feel like for the first time I actually want to write about being a father.

Maybe this is partly because the baby has shown increasing signs of needing to be treated like a human being. That is, rather than being  bundle that expressed fairly constant and basic needs–to be changed, to be cuddled, to be fed–she has started to be a thing that wants to act on the world. For a while she’s been capable of expressing a will, mostly through pointing at something and making squawking sounds, but I feel like we’ve entered new territory.

For the last week or so she’s been particularly insistent on having a certain book read to her. It’s “Potty,” by Lisa Patricelli. Of course, it is about a baby learning to use the potty. K likes the pages where the baby makes noises and jumps up and down because he has to poop. I thought she was just reacting to the pictures without any idea of the story, but this morning she proved that wrong. She was making faces and squeezing her eyes like she does just as she’s getting her poop ready, and Ko and I were encouraging her, when she went over to the potty and pointed at it. We had never demonstrated the potty, so the only way she could possibly understand the purpose of the potty was through the book. This ability to relate the pictures and story to her own life was far beyond anything I thought she was capable of.

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