Dear Ayden

You are at a really fun stage in your life 1 year, 4 months, and 14 days old. I look at you every day and thank God you are in my life. You never cease to make me smile and I know that as you get older that sweet boy of mine will develop his independence.

You love to eat! – And eat healthier than Mommy and Daddy!
It didn’t seem too long ago when eating was your least favorite activity. I think that was when you started becoming mobile and would rather explore your world. But now, whenever you smell food, you immediately say “pa pa pa” and run towards the kitchen so we can pick you up and put you in your high chair.

As we strap you in, you’ll reach out to your food and moan and groan as if we haven’t fed you in days. Your mom and I would just laugh at how cute you are. Your favorite food seems to be green peas right now, which surprises a lot of people.

Then, when you get your food, you seem to favor your left hand as you pinch for the little green peas with your index finger and thumb and feed yourself. You’ll sometimes look at us with a smile of content, as to say “thank you for this food!” that just makes us melt. Then you would grab a hand full of rice and shove it in your mouth. Sometimes you’ll rub the rice in your hair and all over your face, but it mostly ends up on your clothes. Speaking of which, Mommy washes a lot of!

But the best part of sitting down as a family at dinner is watching you entertain us as you play hide and go seek with your hands. Your Mom and I have you believing that when you cover your eyes, you become invisible. It is the cutest thing! Sometimes, when I come home and you are with mommy, you are already hiding from me, always ready to play!

I’m sitting here blogging at work because it is somewhat slow today and nothing needs my immediate attention. But I’m trying not to cry because I know that these moments will not last. One day, you’ll be all grown up and we’ll have our first argument. As I look back at the days when I used to be mad at your Lola and Lolo for not letting me do what I wanted, I now realize that they didn’t do things to make me mad, they did it because they loved me. I realize we can’t protect you forever, but I’ll do everything in my power to reasonably do so. So just because other parents are more lax about what their kids can do, doesn’t mean we should live by the same rules.

Unfortunately, none of this is going to make sense until you become a daddy yourself. Right now, I can only focus on how happy you make me feel because it is the simple pleasures that make you happy.

For example, this morning, I was in a hurry to get to work. I went into your room and you showed me one of your books and wanted to sit in my lap so I can read it to you. So I did. As much pleasure as it gave you for that moment, I couldn’t help but burn that memory in my head. Cause I know one day, you’ll want to be out with your friends rather than hang out with Mommy or Daddy.

I wish I could slow time down and cherish every moment with you. I hate having to leave you each day only to have about 3 hour to play with you before you go to sleep each night during the week. Times are tough in these economic times, but Mommy and Daddy try to shelter all the stresses of adulthood from you.

In fact, we have vowed to never yell at you. This is a large departure from how I was raised (I was a really bad boy sometimes)… I’m sure one day, I would love to spank you, but now, there are different ways to teach respect. I’m not condoning what happened to me because I am happy and proud at the way I turned out, and have no regrets. Part of what I want to teach you is individuality, something I’m still learning. In fact, we should never stop learning because I learn something new every day! For example, even though your Tita Jennifer and I were raised the same, we are two totally different people. And I’m still learning to respect our differences.

But back to why I started this post. I know it may seem long, but so many thoughts have been streaming from my head. I try to list of few of my favorite things that you do:

  • When you run back and fourth with your little play cart, or any cart with wheels
  • When you try to say your little tagalog words – At this point, your tagalog is as good, if not better than mine! You have Mommy and Lola and Lolo to thank for that!
  • Your love for Kix in the morning
  • Your voracious appetite
  • Watching you play
  • When you try to make us laugh by making faces, blinking your eyes, or tilting your head
  • When you try to splash us when we try to get you out of your bath
  • You are growing up to be quite the entertainer
  • When you sleep in church when Mommy sings

But one of my most favorite things is watching you sleep in my arms. It is sad to know that one day, you’ll be too big to do that. For now, I cherish the times that you’ll fall asleep in my arms, although you may struggle with falling asleep at times. But it is when you finally slow down, and your cheek is squished against my shoulder, that I’ll just lean my cheek against your, then follow it up with a kiss and tell you how much I love you.

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