|Godfather double-chin & godson fishball|
Last Saturday this little man turned one. J.G. was really diligent going about getting a suitable gift. Child-friendly, educational, safe to put in one's mouth, fun etc. Watching him was a treat.
When you marry a friend you've known for fifteen years you *wrongly* assume you know already thing there needs to be known, but hey, always a pleasure to be surprised. Timely too, as it gives me a preview of the kind of father he might be.
Here's a bunch of observations from the data collected -
1. Eat your vegetables
Last Sunday was extended family dinner night as usual, but his nephew was sick and had not been eating well. He took the initiative to sit the three-year-old down and explain to him that greens would speed up the recovery rate.
Completely unfazed by the little man's whining and rejections, J.G. changed tact. Made the pieces smaller, stuffed them under some meat, did a huge dramatized show of how delicious kailan was etc. In the end, he proved that kids could certainly be conditioned to eat anything. If only you gave them attention and did it at their pace.
2. Playing is learning
Or learning is playing depending on how you want to look at it. For a child, play comes first, so that's the entry point for education.
He finally settled for wooden pieces, a whooping 100 pieces of wooden blocks, for his godson.
Give them a toy car and it's always a toy car, maybe a flying toy car. But give them building blocks and out of it comes skyscrapers, dinosaurs, robots and as far as their imagination will take them.
3. Let them fall
J.G. never rushes to pick a child up after a fall, unless its very serious. Especially not in the middle of play. His bolster / pillow fights with toddlers are unforgiving. Regardless of gender, you can get thrown down, turned upside down or roll off the bed entirely.
He believes falling is part of play and learning to get up without help is a crucial life skill. So he waits. He might encourage them to get up verbally, but he will not offer a hand. Consequences is a huge part of discipline to him and I find myself admiring that quality. Here's a man who thinks before he acts / speaks.
4. The human playground
Since I knew the guy, he was this tall. All every Sunday I witnessed the human playground effect. There would be a kid over his shoulders, one maybe tucked under his arm and two crawling around his legs. The man was walking an amusement park ride.
To be very honest, I used to find that really unattractive because I genuinely am not fond of children. Yet, now that we're having one of our own, it comforts me to no end that at least one parent is good with kids.
Truly grateful for J.G. and the lessons he teaches me without saying a word. Grateful that humblet will have such a father all to herself (while it lasts) and that she is well-loved. Despite growing up without a father and not knowing what to expect, I appreciate these tiny snippets of fatherhood I see in the man I married.