LONG before Isay turned six months old, my wife and I had already discussed getting her on solid food. The little bunny had been exclusively breastfeeding before that and it was time to amp up her feeding time.
(Note: She still breastfeeds. When my wife is at work, she nurses expressed milk from the bottle. We are hoping this lasts as long as it can. The benefits have been invaluable, to say the least. We always tell friends and family how, during a flu epidemic that rocked the house, Isay was the only one untouched.)
We had previously spoken to Isay’s pedia and read up on every available literature we could get our hands on. We went through everything we learned and deciced to begin the next chapter of Isay’s life.
WAY before Isay turned six months old, the wife and I had decided to make it special by taking her on her first airplane ride. When picking a destination, we settled on Hong Kong, so that we could take the little bunny to Disneyland.
During the course of the planning, we decided to bring the wife’s parents along for some family bonding time. Since it was the first time Isay would be on a trip, we made sure we combed through every possible situation we would face. Airplane rides, train rides, long walks, long days. Since Isay could only appreciate this trip through pictures, we wanted to make sure she would be at least comfortable the whole four days we would be in HK.
Why travel? Because we want her to get comfortable going to different places and visiting different cultures. If there is one thing we want our baby to develop, it’s a sense of adventure and discovery, the joy of traveling.
ONE OF the thing that would really make me happy is if Isay gets hooked on sports. It doesn’t have to be competitively, although God knows a sportswriter dad would always dream of that. But at the very least, I hope she gets interested enough to try out a few disciplines—if only for the fact that sports-active people are some of the healthiest, well-balanced people on earth.
The wife and I talk about it a lot, and we include sports talk with our daily conversations with Isay. We’ve talked about sports like football (our consensus top pick), swimming, tennis, volleyball and taekwondo. I come from a lineage that has asthma encoded into our genetic software. Arthritis, meanwhile, seems to be programmed in my wife’s DNA. And the best way for Isay to crash those genetic downloads is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which includes getting into sports.
So I try to get her exposed to sports in whatever way I can.
ONE of the situations where I am of use when it comes to raising Isay is rocking her to sleep. I have learned to change soiled nappies but still make a few mistakes here and there. I have learned to bottle- and cup-feed her, but we make quite a mess sometimes. Bathing her is still life’s next big adventure. But rocking her to sleep, I’ve got that pretty down pat.
I cradle her securely in my arms and then feel out cues as to what she wants. A lot of times, Isay wants you to walk her around. She gets restless even if you sway her from side-to-side or gently rock her. Sometimes, she wants you to carry her upright, her chubby cheeks resting on the shoulder. If she’s in a good mood, you can just set her down on the bed or in her crib and she’ll go to sleep on her own.
The one constant thing through all this? She wants to hear you. Whether it’s singing, humming, reading the Desiderata or narrating a fairy tale, the sound of your voice reassures her a lot and makes her sleeping easier.
With that in mind, let me share you the songs I love to sing to her when it’s time for her to grab a few winks.