First Loose Baby-Tooth!

» The Bug has a loose tooth! His first. (Still has all his baby teeth.) The wiggly fellow appeared on the bottom row near the middle .. a little incident that hearkens the arrival of bigger things. One more milestone on the road to maturity.

Many of the kids in his kinder-class already have teeth missing. (I nicknamed one of his classmates "Toothless" .. after the Night Fury that starred in How to Train your Dragon.) So we were kinda expecting this.

Piglet & Pooh Looking for ButterfliesHe noticed it earlier this week while brushing before bed (.. not the easiest thing to get him to do).

The next morning he woke me at 5AM » "Dad!"

Me » "What, pun'kin?"

"My tooth feels looser!" He sounded wide awake. I glanced at the clock. "Oh, honey. It's *very* early."

"Can I play some games?" he asked.

"You should get some more sleep. It's still dark out."

He's a sound sleeper and rarely wakes early. Fortunately he fell back asleep.

Friday morning at school, he was showing it to all his friends. Later, when I picked him up after school, he had received an award that day for demonstrating 'Enthusiasm'.

I asked his teacher, "Was he enthusiastic today?"

"Very," she said with a smile. =)

He seems to be doing well in school. He can read already, and the week prior, he was called up in front of the entire school to receive an award for Self Control, which came with a gift certificate for a cup of frozen yogurt from a local yogurt house .. and that's exactly where we went soon as we left.

Self-control and enthusiasm .. seem like opposites, no? Opposite ends of the spectrum. Bi-coastal.

Pooh & Tigger and Friends» Love, Affection & Attention

I try to give him as much (unconditional) love & affection as I can .. in the limited time we have together each week.

Sometimes I hold him tightly on my lap, cradling him, and kiss him all over his face .. his eyes, his cheeks, his forehead, his ears. Everything. A kissing machine gone wild.

This week, in the midst of these merciless kisses, I paused to tell him, "You know, I only get to see you for a few days each week. So when you go back to mom, I save up all my love while you're away, and I then fill you up with it when I have you again." Then I proceed to kiss him all over his face some more.

He laughs, giggles, even squeals when I get near his ears. "I fill you up with love," I said, "until it starts gushing out of your ears. Look, there! It's starting to ooze out of your ears!" And I madly kiss him some more.

When I finally stopped, he pointed to his right ear (with eyes sparkling & his baby-teeth smile) and said, "It's only coming out of this ear, dad. It's not coming out of the other one yet." =) Too cute.

At which point, I attack his face with scores more. Goes to show that you can never give kids too much affection.

I'm sure there will come a day when he will have none of this .. when he'll be too cool for kisses from his dad. But until that day arrives » incoming! Take cover!

••• today's entry continues here below •••

Affection is important because a parent's actions need to be congruent with and reinforce claims of "I love you." (Otherwise they are just nice-sounding words.)

Winnie the Pooh & friendsHe wanted to be held more this week. Not sure why. Yes, it concerned me a little. I try to be sensitive to his needs and adapt as necessary.

Sometimes I just hold him and tell him all the things I love about him.

For example » "I love your voice. You have the coolest voice. Where did you get that voice? Did you swallow a frog? Open your mouth. Let me look inside."

After 10 minutes of this, I conclude by saying, "Well, I guess I just love EVERYTHING about you!"

The last thing I tell him every week, right before he goes back, while I'm getting my good-bye hug (where he wraps his arms & legs around me tightly), is » "I'm the luckiest dad in the whole world."

Best Dad in the Whole World» The Secret of a Loving Parent

I used to date this girl who was a massage therapist. She definitely had the magic.

I mean, she could put you in an altered state .. enough that it would be dangerous for you to drive immediately afterward.

Her hands contained the mojo. Her clients would wobble about for 30 minutes before fumbling for their car keys.

I once asked her what her secret was .. because I'd had other massages, and hers were clearly in a league of their own.

Her answer surprised me. "Intention," she replied, without hesitating. "Intention and presence. Many therapists know the techniques," she clarified, "but they arent 'present' for the massage. They just go thru the motions. Intention is everything."

So I've endeavored to use her 'secret' to try to be the best dad I can .. by consciously INTENDING to love him .. and by being PRESENT while we're together. I'm sure there are many other secrets to being a loving parent, but that's mine.

No, parenting is not easy (.. something most people already know). When he goes back to his mom, I am usually spent. Wiped. Whupped. But satisfied (.. most of the time, anyway).

The Family Law system here discriminates against dads. (No place for the faint-of-heart.) So I've never really been sure how long I'll be able to stay in his life. I never know from one week to the next if this will be my last. It's an emotional hell (.. that I wouldnt wish on my worst enemy).

It has been a battle (.. with me taking a beating). So I try to do as much good while I can .. especially during these formative years. (What dad faced with a similar situation wouldnt do the same?) Ironically, it's this 'not-knowing' that has made me cherish every minute we spend together.

[ Did I mention I spent a day in court again last week? (Half-a-day, actually.) Right after I dropped the Bug off at kindergarten. Managed to make it back by the time he got out. Barely. ]

One could make the case that this event (.. losing baby teeth) .. is the official END of a major phase of "child" development .. and is therefore the "Six-year-point" mentioned by the PhD-expert » here.

I mean, this is where they (start to) get their "adult" teeth, right? So maybe you could argue that here is where childhood "begins to end". The beginning of the end (.. of childhood). Either way, it makes for interesting timing .. in the grande scheme of things.

In that post, I said (after the 6-year point) I could die with a smile on my face. But I have come to realize that's not true.

Surely I would feel better now than if I had died when he was only 3 years old. But be able to 'smile' about leaving him now? No. No can do. It was a stupid statement .. I can see now .. after thinking about it. (Yes, I *have* thought about it.)

His sixth birthday came & went and I never really felt like I could or should relax my approach. Tho now (with this loose tooth) I somehow feel okay about that. Interesting timing for the shift.

[ My #1 favorite thing the Bug ever said was (last  summer) » "I think the reason God made you my dad is cuz you're a good dad." That'll set ya right, dawg. ]

One funny thing the Bug said this week concerned a girl » "First she liked me. Then she didnt. Now she likes me again."

What can you say to something like that? I didnt respond, but thought, "Better get used to it now." =) ■

For more along these lines, here's a Google search preconfigured for the query » parenting unconditional love affection attention visitation

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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on May 1, 2011 5:01 AM.

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