Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father and Daughter

Over the past 14 months, everyone has offered their opinions on who Lilly looks like. When she was born, Jim and I were not the only ones who were extremely surprised to see a head full of black hair; the nurses were just as shocked. One was shocked enough to ask Jim if he was the father! We had a good laugh and soon discovered that this was just the first of many observations about how Lilly looks nothing like either of us. When she is with Ellie, you would swear that Ellie is her mother given that there is much greater resemblance between those two (in more than just looks - anyone who knows Ellie and Lilly knows what I mean). Over the months, Lilly's hair has lightened up and more and more people tell me that she looks like me, or Mum...but then, the other day, a friend from high school who has not met Jim said, "wow, Lilly looks nothing like you...she must look like your husband..." which just goes to show that there is not a clear resemblance between Lilly and either one of her parents.

Despite the lack of similarity in their looks, I always tell people that I think Lilly is a little cookie cutter image of Jim's personality. On Jim's second Father's Day, I thought it appropriate to discuss the traits that both my husband and daughter share. We saw one in full force this morning. The three of us were sitting outside; Jim and I were talking while Lilly was playing in her water table. Over the course of our time outside, our neighbors started to have friends over and there was soon a full blown party going on next door. Jim's attention wanders whenever there are other people to look at. He loves keeping tabs on what everyone around us is doing. So he was sitting there staring at what was going on. Lilly was captivated by what she saw as a new audience. She commenced her playing in the water table and started walking over to the party without so much as a glance backwards. She was walking and waving, babbling away, trying to draw attention to herself. Boy does she love crowds...just like her dad. She loves being the center of attention and knows what smile or laugh really gets everyone going. Jim has this fake smile that he does, where he sticks his tongue between his teeth. This smile comes out often for pictures. Lilly has perfected her fake laugh so when she hears other people laughing, she's got her fake one ready. It prompts everyone to look, and then laugh at her, which just makes her laugh more. It's one of her favorite games!

So, there's the "loving an audience" similarity. Another one that I've seen recently is how Jim and Lilly handle themselves when they're sick. Lilly and I got home from DC this week to find a sick Jim, home from work early and lying on the couch. Jim ended up having a pretty bad cold...but you would have thought he was dying of pneumonia (no offense, Jim. I love you even when you're sick...) I hear this is pretty common among men. In talking to my friends, their husbands or boyfriends seem to react the same way when they're sick. I know my dad does. (This conversation usually turns into one about how men could never go through childbirth, but I'm not going to go down that road...even though I agree 100%). So, Jim like some extra attention when he's sick; no matter how mild the illness. Well, the other day, Lilly was doing her usual laps around the house, dragging a bag behind her and carrying a toy in her other hand, and she tripped and landed on her face. It was definitely the worst fall Lil has taken and scared me and her. She was screaming, her nose was bleeding, and it took a long time to calm her down. After a good nap, however, she was back to normal and was just a bit crankier with a bruised nose. Jim came home from work nice and early because he knew I was worried about Lil. When he walked in the door, Lil was having her dinner. As soon as Jim walked over to her and asked if she was okay, Lilly's smile turned into the saddest face, and she pointed at her nose and looked directly at Jim. She proceeded to milk that fall for everything it was worth. And now, Lilly has Jim's cold and is a mini Jim, making sad noises and looking for that extra bit of attention. They are one and the same.

I've already discussed their dancing similarities in an earlier blog, but Lilly continues to swing her little hips when she hears any kind of music (or even the washing machine!)...and if you saw Jim dancing, you would see where she gets her skills. They are going to make a great couple at a father-daughter dance one day!

A father and his daughter have a special relationship that starts on the day his daughter is born, and I have loved watching Jim and Lilly's relationship form over the past 14 months. It's a relationship full of games, treats, songs, hugs, dances and tickles. From the earliest days, Lilly would get excited when Jim came home from work. She has gone from lying on her back, kicking her legs and smiling when Jim walks in the door, to sitting up and toppling over from waving her arms and legs so much, to crawling at full speed over to Jim, to a full on sprint, complete with laughter, arms up in the air and tripping over her little feet because she is trying to get to him so fast. No matter what kind of a day Jim has had, he is happy when he walks in the door. With a little person running over to greet you, how could you not be?

During our first weeks together as a family, we discovered that Lilly was a great little baby. A good eater and sleeper and overall a happy little girl. However, there was a period of time every night, usually between 8 and 10:00, when Lilly was particularly fussy. We didn't know why and Mum told me that each of us had a fussy time of the day when we were little. So, we had to figure out what to do with her during this time to prevent a two-hour feeding from taking place. Jim and I often have music on; it is playing from our computer all the time. Jim decided to use this to our advantage. He put on some fun music and gave dancing with Lilly a try. It was an immediate success! Granted, it was a lot of work for Jim. Lilly didn't enjoy soft, quiet music and slow dancing. She wanted some upbeat music and some serious dancing...and she was as happy as could be! So, for those early weeks, Jim and Lilly had their evening dance. The two of them loved it, and it was great entertainment for me. As Lilly started going to bed earlier, the dancing faded out but we have great pictures and video of some of these moments. Now, Jim often puts Lilly to bed at night and I hear him singing her a song or two. It's usually James Taylor, Paul Simon or Greg Laswell--his 3 favorite artists to sing. Most recently, I heard Paul Simon's "Father and Daughter" coming out of Lilly's bedroom and smiled, knowing that I would always remember that moment. Jim and Lilly are certainly a special father and daughter and this is just the beginning. Happy 2nd Father's Day Jim! Here's a look at Jim's 14 months as a dad.

Day 1 as a Dad!

Still in the hospital.

Training for the Ironman together!

Taking the train to NYC at Christmas.

Right after a nap!

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