BECAUSE babies tend to mutter a lot of gibberish, there’s a chance that she will get lucky and cobble a couple of syllables that would sound like a legit word. So the rule the wife and I had for determining Isay’s first word would be that she actually has an understanding of what she is saying.
Isay’s first word was mama. Sometimes, that would morph into ma-me. But it was her first word because she understands what she wants when she says mama. She wants her mother.
It’s understandable. Not only is mama made up of the two easiest syllables for babies, Isay and her mom are like best friends.
I guess the first and most celebrated milestone of any baby is the day she turns one. There are people who plan these events like they were planning weddings. Seriously. The wife began making plans for Isay’s first birth anniversary the day after she was baptized. Isay was just four months old during her christening.
It’s a funny thing because if you really think about it, the one birthday you’re bound to have absolutely no recollection of is your first.
But in an age where you can easily pack memories into digital packages and unbox them years later looking like they happened just yesterday, celebrating a first birthday gives you a chance to create time capsules that you can show your kid when she grows up—you know, to give her an idea what the world was like when she turned one.
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.
WHEN you have a daughter, pretty much one thing is guaranteed: Mommy will always look for reasons to doll the little one up.
On ordinary days, the conversation can go like this:
Wife: Is it too warm? It feels too warm? It’s kinda hot today, don’t you think? The sun’s extra hot today.
Me: Yes, you can dress Isay up in a summer outfit.
Imagine if Halloween is just around the corner. It was a lazy Sunday afternoon when the wife was scrolling down her iPhone screen looking at pictures of Halloween costumes. She picked out a Snow White outfit and said, “Isay would look really cute in this.”
Which was my cue to reply: “You know there’s a Halloween party at the office. Maybe we ca..”
So it was pretty much settled. Isay was going to make her first public appearance at the office Halloween party for kids.