Today, I was sitting on the couch. Jacob crawled up, and pushed me forward, saying “I go there.” He crawled behind me. Then, ready for one of his favorite games, yelled out: “QUISH, daddy!”
So I leaned back gently a bit, and said “squish!” Jacob yelled, laughing, “QUISH!” “Quish again, daddy!”
So I’d lean back a bit, gently, again, this time reaching behind me to tickle him a bit as I leaned. “Squash!”
Louder laughing. “QUASH!!!” Right in my ear — ouch, but I didn’t mind. “Do it again, daddy!”
Right now, being a dad seems complicated enough. You’ve got to have the right touch to “squish” a 2-year-old without really squishing him. Or have the presence of mind to realize that when Jacob was happily playing outside, then suddenly comes running over, very upset, saying “Go inside!” it means he probably needs to use the potty urgently, or just had an accident. (Or both, as it happened today.) Or to recognize that little walk that means he really does need to use the potty even though he’d rather not. And, of course, there’s figuring out what he’s saying, when his words can still be a bit garbled.
But these all seem simple to me, compared to what will come. How will we help Jacob to grow as a person of good character? How will we meet his need to be challenged intellectually? Will we be able to maintain a good relationship, and yet still have the judgment to have the right set of rules, when he gets to high school? Will I have a good relationship with him as an adult? And how am I going to react when the day comes when he tells me I ought to move into the nursing home?
Jacob, of course, doesn’t care about any of that right now. Each night, when I put him down for the night, he wants me to cover him up with blankets. Once I’ve done that, he peeks out and says, “Have a good night, dad!” I always reply with “You have a good night too, Jacob!”
If we can get along that well for the next 60 years, I guess we’ll do all right.