January 17, 2007

Ask For The Moon In The Morning

I have a recent picture of Mia on my desk. It's one of several we had printed for relatives and friends. When I looked at the sheet of wallet sized photos closely for the first time, I was almost instantly taken aback.

What no one tells parents is that, for the first few months of life, their child will have many things in common with a loaf of bread. This isn't bad - I'm not passing judgment here. It's just the truth. You plop a baby down on the floor, it'll pretty much lie there like a loaf of bread. Try to teach your newborn infant to go long and catch a pass, you'll have about the same amount of luck with a loaf of bread. Engage your fresh-out-of-the-womb child in conversation - any conversation at all - and you might as well be chatting with, yes, a loaf of bread. Both just kind of lie there and both have a nice pleasant aroma most of the time. One slight difference - rarely do loaves of bread scream throughout the night.

When I looked at that freshly-printed picture I saw not that little non-interactive loaf-like bundle of cuteness that I love so much but a full-fledged little girl. I realize this shouldn't be surprising. Time marches on and everyone is subject to its whims. Even my little girl. My little girl who must be accompanies nearly everywhere by her stuffed dog, her blanket, her pillow, her monkey and Elmo. My little girl who brushes her hair out of her face in a way that reminds me of all that is good in the world each time she does it. My little girl who, when asked where Elmo (who she just shut in her little kitchen's microwave for the thirty-seventh time) is, shrugs lifting her shoulders in a way that I can imagine repeated when I ask her how her first day of high school was. My little girl who kisses me awake and asks for the moon in the morning.

In another eighteen months, I'm sure I'll be right back here saying the same general things with different specifics. What I ask for in the mean time is a button with which I can stop time, capture these moments - these shrugs, kisses, gestures and requests for the moon - in such a way that I may always remember just how today, tomorrow and the day after felt. The only buttons I have with any kinds of similar powers are the ones on my camera and the one that say 'publish' just below this window, the one I'm going to push now, and capture the moon.

Posted by Chris at January 17, 2007 7:24 AM

No fair making my eyes tear up at 6:30 in the morning! Mia is a lucky, lucky little girl. I feel the same way about my boys, I just never was able to put it into words. Thanks :-)

Posted by: Alissa at January 17, 2007 7:41 AM

Such a proud Dad.

So very sweet, the whole Cactus Family!

Posted by: Wicked H at January 17, 2007 7:47 AM

What a darling. And you and Mia are so lucky to have each other. Every little girl should be doted on by her father.

Posted by: Bunny at January 17, 2007 7:55 AM

Great post, and so darn true! I am gearing up for the arrival of my 2nd son in 3 short weeks, and I know my 2 yr old will go from being my little baby to a giant in comparison. I think it is any parent's wish to be able to somehow keep these slices of time in a box to be able to revisit later. I know I do, but pictures words and memories are all we have.

Posted by: Danielle at January 17, 2007 8:04 AM

babies aren't nearly so delicious toasted, with butter ...

Posted by: s@bd at January 17, 2007 8:11 AM

Very nice post. It is true how much they change, but as you said, some of what you're seeing now will be a part of their personality for a very long time. There's a few looks I get when I'm being particularly stupid (for her entertainment nonetheless) that I am certain are going to be prevalent during the "Oh please tell me my father didn't just act like a dork in front of my friends" phase.

Posted by: Jeff at January 17, 2007 8:11 AM

aren't you just the cutest daddy ever??

Posted by: ali at January 17, 2007 9:14 AM

God morning and thanks for putting me back on the email list. Hard to believe how much they can change in such a short time.

Posted by: ann adams at January 17, 2007 9:18 AM

I'm glad my bread doesn't poop.

Posted by: kara marie at January 17, 2007 9:19 AM

What a beautiful post! And how wonderful that you've written this stuff down so that Mia can read it when she's all grown up. My dad didn't commit much of his thoughts to paper when I was a loaf and then not-a-loaf, so when I do get to hear snippets of what he was feeling, etc., I get all misty and stuff.

("Sunshine" is the nickname he gave me on the day I was born, courtesy of George Harrison. Good story there)

Posted by: fw sunshine at January 17, 2007 9:27 AM

Awww. She really is a full-fledged little girl now.

Posted by: Fraulein N at January 17, 2007 9:29 AM

i think we forget how much can change in a few months until you're watching a little one grow. I look at the pictures from christmas of my little niece (who is a few months older than mia) and can't believe how much she's grown since we saw her last may.

Posted by: suze at January 17, 2007 9:30 AM

Fabulous! And thanks to you and Beth for so graciously sharing the delicious Mia with all of us.

Posted by: Marilyn at January 17, 2007 9:33 AM

And in 30 years you'll be saying the same type of things. It's a wonderful ting, this relationship between parent and child. For me, even during the tough teen years, I still felt a total awe at how wonderful my daughter was, and I suspect, you and Beth will feel the same about Mia.

Posted by: Maribeth at January 17, 2007 9:54 AM

aw. she is so cute. and so very lucky to have such a loving, proud daddy!

Posted by: steph at January 17, 2007 10:04 AM

I noticed the hair brushing in a video Beth posted on her site - absolutely precious!

Posted by: Beth in StL at January 17, 2007 10:09 AM

That was beautiful...sniff..

Posted by: Sue R. at January 17, 2007 10:18 AM

You got it buddy. The camera shutter and the publish button are capturing my life, because it's so damn easy to lose some of that... and it's so damn rewarding to go back and re-live it through pictures and words written during that time.

Posted by: Brad at January 17, 2007 10:20 AM

First picture: Cocooned bug
Second picture: Little moth, capable of flying dizzy circles around the light.

They seem to change over night, don't they? I look at pictures of my little brothers and wonder where those devilish little boys went that I loved so much. They grew into devilish men that I love even more. It does get better. You'll miss that age AND appreciate the age they're at now. It's the strangest mix of emotions. Humans are funny that way.

Posted by: Tink at January 17, 2007 10:28 AM

I'm right there with you! I've been pondering similar thoughts myself. Part of me wants to find a way to stunt my kids' growth, to freeze them as they are right now. I love who and what they are right this minute! I don't want to lose this! All the more reason to enjoy every moment.

Posted by: Kelly at January 17, 2007 10:41 AM

too sweet :) Great post! Really puts things into perspective and totally validates my "time is flying so quickly" perspective!

Posted by: Starlite at January 17, 2007 10:50 AM

Dammit Chris! Why did you have to go and make me cry? That was so very sweet. You're a fabulous dad.

Posted by: Heather J. at January 17, 2007 10:56 AM

I was once told that there are 3 stages of being:

1. Plant - First 1-6 months of life. Water, feed, and clean them.
2. Pet - 6- 12 months of life. Play with them, nurture them.
3. Person - 1 year +. Interact.

But a the loaf of bread analogy works too!

Posted by: E at January 17, 2007 11:03 AM

Ah, yes, even now, I still look at my daughter (2 1/2) and wonder when she went from being a baby to being a little girl...

Posted by: Kaz at January 17, 2007 11:06 AM

that was sweet...

Keep taking those pictures.. we enjoy them as much as you do!

Posted by: Karen at January 17, 2007 11:07 AM

My baby turned 18 months old yesterday. I looked at him and a little boy was looking back at me. Where did my baby go? Mia is adorable, btw.

Posted by: kmum at January 17, 2007 11:09 AM

You are the best dad. Every child should have a dad like you and they would all grow up to be very good people who cares and shares. God Bless the Cactus/Fish/Bean family!!

Posted by: Patrice Vicory at January 17, 2007 11:27 AM

(Can tell Beth has been here in her role as spambot police.)
Your children will never cease to amaze you. It's a wonderful thing how it continually renews.
Very sweet post.

Posted by: Traci at January 17, 2007 11:32 AM

Awwww...yer makin' me all teary and stuff. Mainly because we're going through the same kinds of realizations around here. I'm trying really hard to remember the point in time where she transformed from a baby into this little girl who thinks Mama is on the back of the Triscuits box (Rachel Ray) and giggles "Silly Daddo!" when her father tickles her. I'm having a hard time placing my finger on the exact moment. But I'm loving every second of it.

Posted by: Amy at January 17, 2007 12:31 PM

That is so sweet. Little Mia is a lucky lady!

Posted by: Dirka at January 17, 2007 1:02 PM

Aw, yesterday you make me laugh, today you make cry. ;-) That was really beautiful, thank you.

Posted by: Heather at January 17, 2007 1:23 PM

Hey, this is supposed to be a humor blog. That ain't funny, it's depressing. Excuse me while I go hug my girls now.

Posted by: Jeff A at January 17, 2007 1:37 PM

Timeliness pays off for me today. This is the sweetest post ever. You're a great Dad and someday she'll love reading what you thought of her when she was a little girl....

Posted by: PoeticaL at January 17, 2007 1:40 PM


(applause) (sniffle) (applause)

Posted by: The Old Ms. Q at January 17, 2007 1:42 PM

How sweet. :) Thanks for sharing your love of your daughter with the internets.

Posted by: Teenuh at January 17, 2007 1:50 PM

I always wanted to nuke Elmo!

Posted by: Heather at January 17, 2007 1:59 PM

Gosh, Chris - she's changed so much, but she still feels so new. It seems like she was that little swaddled bundle only yesterday. How time flies...

Posted by: Emily at January 17, 2007 3:27 PM

Aweee! Great entry :)

I can't wait for my little loaf to be done baking :)

Posted by: Mary at January 17, 2007 3:45 PM

Awwww, you made my heart feel all warm and fuzzy. Thanks for that, I needed it today.

Posted by: Noelle at January 17, 2007 5:31 PM

What a sweet post. You are such a great dad.

Posted by: Jenn at January 17, 2007 6:35 PM

I need me one of those buttons too. Very sweet post.

Posted by: Jazzy at January 17, 2007 6:35 PM

I wonder if my own mother looks at me that way now, you know? When does that wonder stop? When do you look at your kid and see an adult? Meanwhile, I know what you mean. Two of my kids are bigger than me (and I'm 5'8") and I wonder where the time went.

Posted by: wordgirl at January 17, 2007 7:37 PM

beautifully put, sounds like a proud, happy daddy with a beautifull girl. she and beth are lucky ladys to have you in their life!!

Posted by: Jodie at January 17, 2007 8:01 PM

I am just getting banged with the baby hammer all over the place lately. I can only hope that whoever fathers my (hypothetical future) children someday is someone who looks at them the way you look at Mia. She's a very lucky little girl.

Posted by: judy at January 17, 2007 8:02 PM

man, is she ever cute.

Posted by: kalisah at January 17, 2007 11:14 PM

Oh I love this post! It's so true.... And, hee!, loaf of bread! That made me laugh out loud! The monkey also wipes her hair out of her face in the funniest way! Like, with both whole arms!

Posted by: Haley-O at January 18, 2007 12:06 AM

Awwwwww..... *tear*

Posted by: Debra at January 18, 2007 2:20 AM

What a great post. It seems like you are doing the best thing you can do: enjoying every minute of it all.

Posted by: Catharina at January 18, 2007 3:55 AM

Just sent over here by Crouton Boy. Was bemoaning the fact that I wasn't aware of many bloggers in the DC Metro area--or at least any who would fun to get beer with.

Glad to find your blog. Will check back in.

Posted by: MammaLoves at January 18, 2007 4:12 AM

What a cute child u have? Really sweet.

Posted by: Roshan at January 21, 2007 4:47 PM