The 100 Best Moments From the First Year of Fatherhood

It's the little stuff that both rewards you and changes you.

by Fatherly
Originally Published: 

In their first year, parents will watch their kid blow through the major milestones that have long helped adults quantify and grapple with development. But, while those changes are important and affecting in their own right, it’s often in the quieter moments that parents feel themselves changing and a relationship forming. These are the little events that, taken in aggregate, mark a massive transformation and, inevitably, the memories that stick.

The first 12 months are packed with little breakthroughs and revelations. These are those moments.

When They Wrap Their Little Hand Around Your Finger

Sure, it’s a reflex. But that doesn’t make it any less affecting. Because in the moment that they grab your finger and hold on, you feel their strength and vitality and their humanity becomes so beautifully real.

When the Umbilical Cord Stub Falls Off

Generally when parts fall off of a human body, it’s a time for distress. But the loss of the umbilical cord is just the opposite, if a bit gross. It’s a moment of celebration that means a new era of belly buttons and baths. Not to mention the fact that you can finally stop worrying about the disgusting dried up nub.

When You Realize You’re Not Alone

It feels like you’re being welcomed into a fraternity when you talk with another dad for the first time and the conversation is punctuated with, “It’s the same thing with my kid,” or “Yeah, that happened to me too.” Suddenly, you realize that you’re not alone, and as terrible as some things have been the tough stuff is not unique to your family and you’ll make it through just fine.

The First Time You Nearly Drop Them

“I almost dropped the baby after swinging him around to show that I would never drop the baby. I did not, I should note, drop the baby — at least not that time.” – Josh Krisch

The First Time You Use Them as an Excuse

Welcome to a life full of “I’m sorry we can’t make it. That’s during the baby’s nap time.” There will be so many less awful get-togethers you’ll have to pretend you enjoy attending.

The First Time Someone Says They Look, Somewhat, Like You

Is there some weird apelike psychological need to have an outsider confirmation that yes, this kid is definitely your offspring? Maybe. But the first time a person says a kid has your features, it feels deeply satisfying on a cellular level.

When You Perfect the Swaddle

“There is something extremely satisfying about wrapping a baby’s arms close to his body. For me, not the kid. Once you get good at swaddling, it has the same joy as rolling a cigarette or sealing envelopes or making your bed. For someone like me, whose life lacks finesse, this was a simple useful task that both the child and I loved.” – Joshua David Stein

When You Get Their Social Security Card in the Mail

“I remember sitting the in the hospital the day after he was born ‘arguing’ with my wife about our little guy’s name. We never had that naming moment — it was taken from us by a labor that was more difficult than either of us could ever have imagined. Which is why, when I saw his social security card sitting on the kitchen table weeks later, I beamed and ran over joyously to my wife to show her a card that she had already seen. To me, it felt like a big moment: Emerson Oscar Trimble was officially my son.” – Tyghe Trimble

When You Are in the Middle of that Chaotic First Week of Leave

You, your partner and the baby, are holed-up at home, trying to dig in to the new way of being and in that sloppy, bluntly chaotic atmosphere, friends and family arrive one at a time to pay respects and leave food. You’re not expected, really, to converse. The visits are short. Time seems to be more elastic and strange. This is the liminal space between realities.

When You Have That Really Good Non-Milestone-Related Social Post

This isn’t the birth announcement, or the pictures of your partner and baby in the hospital. No, this is that social post where you make an observation about your kid, or take a candid picture. It doesn’t carry the obligation of likes like a milestone post, but people pile in anyway saying how great your picture or observation is. It’s as good a high as any between documenting the banner moments.

The First Time They’re Happy to See You

“By far, the absolute best moment of all of parenthood is the first time you walk through the front door and your child yells your name and crawls, walks, or runs to you in excitement. There’s nothing better than that ever.” – Dave Baldwin

The First Time You Really Miss Them

There is a specific ache in fatherhood that comes from missing your baby. That ache might arrive at work, or while on a business trip, or even out with your buddies. But whenever it arrives, it’s as if the universe is offering proof that you have fallen in love — despite all the noise and the messes and the diapers. It’s proof of a bond.

The First Time They Bite You

At some point your kid will forgo the board books or the rubber giraffe and decide to gnaw on your knuckle or nose. There’s something weirdly nice about their wet warm gums and the power of their baby bite.

When You Listen to the Sound of Their Light Breathing from the Bassinet as you Fall Asleep

“Not only is it relaxing in its own right, but you also know she’s alive and breathing, which is reassuring.” – DB

When You Discover the Joy of Putting Adult-Sized Glasses or Hats on Them

There is a moment when a parent will be compelled to put an adult sized hat or a set of sunglasses on their baby. It is as universally practiced and universally adorable.

The First Time You Have Quiet Sex While They Sleep

Most likely neither you or your partner are feeling super sexy, but there’s an opportunity and you’re both ready to take it quickly and quietly. In that moment you remember something that is easy to forget: You still desire each other. Parents still have that gear.

The First Time Watching Your Partner Feed Your Baby

The intensity of love that passes between the eyes of a feeding child and a parent is a wonder of the world. There’s a specific beauty to watching your partner breastfeed, but not everyone is going to have that experience. Everyone can have the experience of watching their partner, whom they love, care for their child, who they also love.

The First Time They Sleep for More Than Three Hours

“She actually fell asleep in the car so we simply moved her car seat to the living room, expecting her to wake up any moment. She didn’t. She slept for six hours. Only problem, neither of us got to take advantage because we kept waiting for her to wake up and couldn’t really fall asleep. We took turns checking on her.” – DB

The First Time You Receive Admiration from a Stranger

The first time a lady sees you out, alone with your kid and makes a comment about how cute they are, it’s enough to make a guy want to burst because in some way it’s proof that you had a hand in making something special that even strangers can recognize. It’s a weird thing to say, but that approval is oddly meaningful.

When You’re Driving Home from the Hospital

“In the 1989 film Parenthood, the character Tod, played by Keanu Reeves make an observation, ‘You need a license to buy a dog, or drive a car. Hell, you need a license to catch a fish! But they’ll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father.’ It’s pithy and funny until you realize that you’re the asshole and there’s an innocent kid that is entirely dependent upon you. It all sank in for me when the hospital staff unclipped the lojack-style bracelet off my son James’ wrist and told me it was time to drive him home. Not only was no one stopping me from taking this kid (and surely ruining his life in some epic fashion), they were actually making us leave.” – Chris Pagnotta

When You Find Out Your Child-Proofing Worked

Putting the drawer locks in was a pain in the ass, which is why it’s easy to feel such enormous pleasure when they stimey the efforts of a curious crawling kid.

The First Time They Are Surprised by Their Own Sneeze

Yep. Sneezes are strange, pleasurable, noisy, and surprising. Welcome to the human race, kid.

The First Time You Soothe Them to Sleep

“The shushing, the swinging, the rocking, the walking… that moment when he first falls asleep is triumphant.” – TT

When You Coordinate Your First Family Halloween Costume

“Couple costumes are gross. Family costumes are cute and belong on social media. Halloween costumes are cute and babies in Halloween costumes are cuter and a Halloween costume wherein the parents and the child participate are the cutest. Our first halloween, our spawn was an ampersand; his mother and I were M’s.” – JDS

The First Time You Conquer an Emergency

Being able to overcome any emergency related panic to address the situation with a level head show that you are truly a dad capable of dealing with shit. It’s even more powerful when considering how much a baby relies on you as a father.

When You Toss Them in the Air for the First Time

“The letting go and then the catching with soft hands is a singular sensation. I may toss her, but I know I’m always going to be there to catch my girl. We court disaster together.” – Simon Isaacs

The First Time They Take Joy in Food

Their eyes widen and brighten. With a manic kind of grasping the reach out and grab more in clenched fists before the first bites have been thoroughly gummed and swallowed. That face is why chili-cheese-fries exist. Hell, it’s why America exists. Seeing that face float up to the surface for the first time is like watching a sunrise.

The First Time They Eat Something They Don’t Like

While the rapturous look of seeing a baby fall in love with something delicious is divine, there’s also joy in watching their face scrunch in revulsion. It’s literally the cutest look of disgust anyone will ever see. If only all disgusted looks were so adorable.

When You Walk out of the Room Without Waking Them Up

“Getting a baby on a regular sleep schedule is a game changer for the whole household. Before we started sleep training e read all the parenting sites and obsessed over which approach was best. The breakthrough came when we realized that it all boiled down to this: If you want to teach your kid to fall asleep on his own you have to put him down in the crib and you have to walk out of the room. Everything else is just details. Let him cry for five minutes – go back in and rub his back. Let him cry for ten minutes – go back in and rub his back. The first few nights were rough, but after a few nights he stopped crying entirely when we would walk out. He got his rest and we got our evenings back. Boom.” – CP

When the Pacifier Falls Out and They Stay Asleep

That feeling by when you finally hear the pacifier fall out of the baby’s mouth in the middle of the night signaling that they’ve fallen asleep.

When You Read Quietly During Their Nap

The silence that pervades a house as a baby naps is a particular silence in that it’s amplified by it’s intentionality and the contrast of the commotion when the kid is awake. It’s an amazing silence to read in.

The First Time You Perfect that Wrap Thing

“This was the first glimpse that we didn’t need to be beholden to anyone named Bjorn,and also that I could learn new tricks.” – JDS

The First Time You Retrieve Them from Daycare

You wonder if they’ll remember you. You worry about what they’ve been up to all day — if they cried their way through it or did something amazing that you missed. But upon seeing their face, and maybe even a smile at seeing you, all the worries melt away with a sense of relief and contentment.

When You Relieve Your Breastfeeding Wife

“Sure, the first time you offer to take the little guy, let the wife sleep, and give him a bottle (which, it should be noted, your wife labored to make at 2AM in the dark lonely kitchen), it doesn’t take. Rejected, you hand him to mom again. It’s the scent, you say to yourself, that puts him to sleep within seconds. But on the second (or in my case, the 4th) attempt, he falls asleep. Right there in your arms. You did that. With an assist, sure, but that beautiful sleeping child in your lap might just survive under your watch. Now there’s parenting.” – TT

The First Time You Take a Selfie

After waving the phone around your head looking for the perfect angle, and then trying to get your baby to look at the phone, the resulting photograph will likely find you trying to look like a cool Dad while your kid stares blankly into space. It’s the best selfie you’ve ever taken.

The First Time Parenting Research Pays Off

It took three or four parenting messaging boards, a Facebook group and a website, but when you finally discover the trick that helps them roll over for the first time, it feels like you’ve won the Nobel Prize for parenting.

The First Time You Read Them a Book

“I stood in the hospital room, rocking the baby, reading a book to him outloud. It was a grown-up book. But I figured a one-day-old would get about as much out of my books as ‘children’s books.’” – JK

The First Time You Calm Them from Crying

There’s no deeper silence than the one that emerges after a baby finally stops crying. It feels equal parts profound and fragile. You can only hope it lasts through the night.

When They Pee on Someone Else for a Change

You’ve been hit with the yellow fountain so many times now it’s just kind of normal. So when your partner emerges with a bummed out face and a wet front, it’s hard not to take secret pleasure in the fact that you weren’t the target for one.

The First Time They Communicate With You

“My wife’s mom was an interpreter for the deaf, so we started teaching Violet sign language for ‘Milk,’ ‘Food,’ ‘Please,’ and ‘Thank You’ at a very early age. It didn’t seem to be working so we eventually stopped. You can imagine our surprise three months later when out of the blue she started signing. It was slightly mind-blowing. She had been absorbing it but just wasn’t developed enough to put it into practice. Crazy how their tiny brains develop.” – DB

The First Time You Give Them a Bath

“She overcome by the sensation of water. She blinks it away from here eyes and makes waves in the baby tub by kicking her little feet. Her skin is soft and perfect. There’s nothing in the world more important than this little body.” – SI

The First Time They Fart in the Bathtub

There is literally no way to not laugh at those tiny, stinky, hilariously fun bubbles.

The First Time a Parent Tells You They’re Proud of Your Parenting

Your parents might have told you they were proud of you as a kid. In a way that feels kind of rote. Like it was something they simply had to say while raising you. But when they say it after seeing you with your kid, it often comes with a air of sincerity that makes the words ring true.

When You Pull That First All-Nighter

“I slept on the hospital couch, my wife in the bed, and our baby in the hospital room with us. He woke up every hour or so, diaper changes and soothing and such. I’d never soothed a crying baby all night. I remember those days as a whirlwind of no sleep but, unlike subsequent all-nighters (sleep training, teething) I remember these positively.” – JK

The First Time You Take Them on a Flight

Wheels down. The old lady from two seats back is making eyes at your baby. The frumpy businessman in front of you is visually perturbed. You’re just waiting for everyone to clear out so can grab the loads of luggage and plod into the concourse for a stiff drink at the nearest bar. Happily, you’ve proven to yourself that travel isn’t impossible with a kid, just inconvenient.

The First Time They Nap in Someone Else’s House

With all of the drama around a baby’s sleep cycle it’s hard to imagine that a kid could sleep outside the house. But then the day comes when, for whatever reason (travel or a prolonged visit with friends) you decide to see if you can put the kid down for their nap in an unfamiliar environment. Suddenly, they’re dozing in someone’s guest room and you’re rejoining the world without them. It’s a new world.

When You Read Them Stories You Grew Up With

“Someday I might pass down something material — some kind of heirloom with real world value. But for now I’m sharing the stories that helped form me, like Blueberries for Sal. I’m transferring memories, more of myself than just DNA. These stories will be a part of her life too.” -SI

The First Time You Successfully Transfer a Kid from Car to Bed

Transferring a sleeping baby from car seat to crib is far more intense than Indiana Jones transferring the bag of sand in place of the idol in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The First Time You Lose Track of Them at a Family Gathering

You’d think there’d be panic. You’d think that your heart would quicken. But you realize your baby is safe with an aunt, uncle, cousin or grandparent. Suddenly you understand that, at least now, your clan is helping to raise your child, and they’ve allowed you to drink a glass of wine in peace.

When You First Experience the Quiet Trepidation on the First Day Home

Through the front door with your partner and the new baby, tucked like precious cargo in their carseat. The door shuts behind you and reality sets in. For two days there’s been nurses and machines pinging and call buttons. Now there’s the quiet of your home and nobody’s there to make things happen but you. Oh. Shit.

When Your Dad Holds Your Kid for the First Time

“Tears” – TT

When You See She’s Really Becoming a Mother

There’s a moment when you realize your partner isn’t just helping you keep your kid alive. In fact, they are falling in love and suffering the same sleepless craziness that you are. Suddenly, as you see her coo-ing sweet words to the kid while she changes a diaper, or burps them after breastfeeding, you understand she has become a mom.

The First Time You Experience the Spooky Feeling of Seeing Them Get Distracted by an App

At some point you’re going to hand a tablet or phone over to your kid with an innocuous app that allows them to pop cartoon balloons or make an illustrated monkey make a noise. Either way, it’s a spooky feeling when you see them attending to the screen and tapping away on a device that is cutting edge to you, but will soon be obsolete to them. The future is a weird place to raise a kid.

When You’re Driving Them Around in the Middle of the Night

“It’s almost a badge of honor. Also, it’s peaceful. And I learned a bunch of cut through streets in town I wasn’t familiar with. I remember driving around on Saturday night listening to house tracks on the radio in order to get her to fall asleep. Then sleeping in the car for an hour in the garage because I didn’t want to take a chance on waking her.” – DB

When You First Understand and Accept the Ultimate Responsibility for Another Human Life for Nearly the Next Two Decades

This is what I’ll be doing for the next 18 years? On it.

When Childless Friends Attempt Interaction with Your Child

“Many of my friends were and are cooler than I am. Watching them struggle and fumble holding on to my spawn was extremely endearing. It also made me feel like I had worth as well, which was nice.” – JDS

The First Time You’re Left Alone with the Baby for a Few Days

“When my kid was a few months old, my wife went to Egypt for a week. She had pumped enough milk to feed an army of babies. But I was still freaked out. Turns out, this — the first real test — of my fatherly mettle passed without incident and with great joy. I came out the other side a much more confident father.” -JDS

When You First See a Truly Sloppy Dinner Face

The goddamn mess is going to take forever to clean up, but the brutality of that task is softened somewhat by the fact that the kid somehow managed to get oatmeal in their eyebrows, which is hilarious and cute as hell.

The First Time You Touch Them

“When Menachem was born, he came out a bit blue so the doctors put him on a table to check him over before passing him to my wife. I walked over and put my hand on his belly, and talked to him. He had big eyes and an oddly shaped head, thanks to a long labor. My hand covered his entire torso.” – JK

When You Master Burping

You would never suspect that getting a baby to burp would be so satisfying. It is. It is impossibly satisfying.

The First Time You Take them to a Playground

It’s been years since you’ve been on a playground and things have changed. Sure they might start out by eating the sand under the slide, but things will change quickly, making you both thrilled and frightened they’ll break an arm.

When You First Fill a Bottle and Feed Them in Complete Darkness

Even in the dim of the night, you know how to fill a bottle, warm it to the appropriate temperature, tip just enough that the baby isn’t taking in too much air, and burp them to keep them comfortable. Hell, you can’t even change your own oil with so much skill.

The First Time You Overrule Your Mother’s Parenting Advice

“I told my mother that though I appreciated her advice about how we should swaddle or bath or feed, it was unneeded. It opened up this world where I didn’t have to take my mother as the ultimate authority of parenting.” -JDS

When You Go to Infant Swimming Lessons

Of course they can’t swim at 11 months, but watching them smile and kick as they get used to the water is fun. Plus, you know when they’re done because, boy, do they shiver.

The First Time They Don a Sports Jersey

Okay, so technically it’s a onesie. But the act of dressing a kid in your team’s colors is an act of enculturating them into a sporting tribe that they just might love for the rest of their life. Let’s hope you’re not a Browns fan.

The First Time You Hear Them Laugh

“She was a huge smiler, but man, did it take a lot to get her to cackle. When she finally did break out in laughter, it was randomly in the middle of the night for no reason, and it was induced by something she was thinking about rather than any face I made.” – DB

When Someone Just Fawns Over Your Child

Let’s face it, this is the thing that every parent lives for and also the thing that makes new parents a little unbearable.

When They Throw Up On Your Shirt that Was Freshly Laundered and You Don’t Get Mad

You could either look at it like you’ve becoming numb to the realities of fatherhood or realize that you’ve learned a valuable, nearly Buddhist lesson, about the impermanence of perfection and order (particularly when babies are around).

When You Master Diapering

“It took me at least the full year to master the cloth diaper. Until then, I spent every evening washing the blowout.” – TT

When They First Make Someone Else Laugh

It’s always a rush when someone acknowledges your baby. But it’s deeply validating when that acknowledgement comes in the form of unbridled joy. Your kid has become an instrument of happiness.

When You Secretly Indulge Them

At some point your kids mom will ask you to not do some innocuous thing like ruin their dinner by feeding them Cheerios. You will then feed them Cheerios in the first step towards building a secret partnership of “Don’t Tell Mom” indulgence that has been a part of fatherhood for time immemorial.

The First Time They Dance to Your Music

“I play music all the time. But it’s never been better than the first time he waved his hands, banged the table, danced, to my music.” – JK

The First Time You Celebrate Father’s Day as a Dad

Sure, your kid can’t really get you anything on your first Father’s Day, and maybe nothing truly extraordinary happens besides a special dinner, but you can’t beat being at the center of a new holiday that was hitherto lost on you.

The First Time You Change Them in Public

There is the inevitable moment on an outing in the wild when a diaper must be changed. Maybe you get lucky and find a restroom with a changing table, but maybe you have to pull out the diaper bag and change the kid on the tailgate. Either way it’s a public assertion of your dadhood and it feels as good as the fresh breeze must feel on your kids tush.

When You Buy That First Pair of Socks

“Socks for babies are the smallest cutest thing and buying them is as close to a religious experience as I’ve had. Such small toes. Such tiny soles.” – JDS

When You’re Picking Out Your Kids Outfit

Having a baby to dress is like getting to be a stylist, which is cool. Babies have no say and look cute in everything. So yeah, they’re going to wear bunny ear hats and cardigans and striped pants and they’re going to nail it and you’ll be partially responsible.

The First Time You Watch Them Interact With a Cat or Dog

A combination of joy and trepidation. Stretch the arm out to pet, quickly recoil. Big smile when they get licked in the face.

When You Finally Get Your Room Back

“The first night she slept in her own crib in the nursery after six months of staying in our room. We were incredibly hesitant to move her, but sweet Mary mother of Jesus, boy is it nice to not tiptoe around your room at night. Or to be able to read with the lamp on. And again, she was fine! We were left asking, ‘Why didn’t we move her sooner?’” – DB

When You Put Them in their First Halloween Costume

How does this beat their first Christmas? Because everyone assumes the first Christmas will be precious. But nobody guesses how awesome it’s going to be when you put your kid in a tiny bumblebee outfit.

The First Time You Give Them a Bottle

Put me in coach, I’m ready to play. Sure, it means you’re now on the clock in the middle of the night, but there’s something special about being able to contribute. Also, it’s some wonderful time with the baby.

The First Time they Lose it When Their Mom Leaves

There’s a sudden acknowledgement of where they feel you are in their hierarchy of needs, and that’s rough. But there’s also the happiness when they stop crying and realize your a good option too.

When You Find Them Staring at Lights

“The little guy, like most little guys, stares at lights. For some reason, it makes me incredibly anxious about sleep, screen time, or raising a big dummy who stares at the sun. Then we got a Christmas tree and lit it with old-school bulbs. And as I went through our 6AM routine of tummy time and books and counting fingers, I let him stare at the tree. Wide-eyed, he always smiles like it’s a symbol of things to come, of holiday joys that are not yet here. That, or he’s staring at a bunch of bright lights — and maybe that just makes the little dummy happy.” – TT

The First Time You Experience That Nerve-Wracking Date Night Without Them

It feels less like a date and more like you and your partner are launching yourselves into space. You may call home several times. You may talk about nothing else but the baby and you will probably come home early. But it’s proof of concept that there is life beyond the walls of home without your kid.

When You Bring the Baby to a Restaurant for the First Time

“Soon after my first kid was born, my wife and I went to Sel de Mer, a mediocre French place near where we lived at the time. It was one of the first times we had left the house and the first time we had gone out as a family, of three at the time. The light was soft, the vibe was good, the food was fine and the hope glimmered that ours could be a life balancing romance and parenting.” – JDS

The First Time They Put Your Fingers (or Toes) in Your Mouth

You cover your teeth with your lips and do the fake gnawing thing of their little toes or fingers. They may laugh, or smile at the sensation, but how much more strange is the sensation of their tiny digits against your lips?

When They Make Those First Attempts at Locomotion

“This sounds boring as hell, but I remember being deeply fascinated watching her shuffle on her belly across the room in mad attempt to collect a piece of balled up tin foil.” – JDS

When They Get Completely Lost in Play

When your baby becomes so engrossed in a toy that they become deeply busy for minutes on end, the logical thing to do would be to take the time to catch up on relaxation or one of the many tasks you’ve surely left undone. But honestly, it’s so enjoyable to watch them play, and ignoring you, that it’s hard to write it off as a waste of time.

The First Time You Take an Intentional Solo Outing

The outing isn’t out of necessity, for a doctors appointment or a trip to a relatives. It’s one in which you’ve chosen a destination where you and the kid will spend time together and enjoy the world. It’s a sign of confidence and fatherly independence. You’re going out in the world and you’re going to have a damn good time.

The First Time They Fall and Take it in Stride

The kid learns to pull themselves up in the first year, which is notable in and of itself. But it also means their battle with gravity has kicked up a notch. It can be a moment of anxiety for all involved. But the first time your baby takes a tumble and then pops back up with no complaint, it becomes clear to parents and baby that everything will turn out just fine.

When the Diaper is Just Wet

Please don’t let it be poop. Please don’t let it be poop. Please…. Yes!

When You Get that First Child Tax Credit

When they received their Social Security card, there was an understanding that they were now a person in the eyes of the state. But filing the child tax credit means they are a person attached to you, and the state recognizes the burden, in it’s cold bureaucratic way, of raising them.

The First Time a Stranger Refers to You as Your Kid’s Daddy

When a stranger talks acknowledges your dadhood through a one sided conversation with your kid, it’s equal parts awkward and life affirming. Of course she loves her Daddy, strange woman in the household goods aisle, why did you even have to ask?

When You Experience That Check-Out Lane Pride from Buying Baby Supplies

Diapers. Diaper rash cream. Some protein bars and a stuffed animal. Hell yes you’re a dad and damn proud of it.

The First Time You Bring Your Baby to a Bar

“When my son was born, I was unready to give up what I mistook to be the high life. This included going to bars. Swaddling a baby and going to a bar made me realize being a father wasn’t mutually exclusive with being who you were before.” – JDS

When Your Wife Teaches You a Thing or Two

It’s humbling to finally understand that maybe you don’t know the best way to hold the kid, or soothe them to sleep. Being open to letting your wife give you some pointers builds trust in the relationship and helps a guy turn down the fatherly pride just a notch or two.

The First Time You Play Them Recorded Music

“We used to listen to that Billy Joel song Vienna on repeat to get the kid to sleep. I remember his little mind and the look of bemused confusion the first time contemplating how a man like BIlly Joel, who is large and from Long Island, could fit into such a small space like a radio.” – JDS

When They Master Solid Food

Nobody ever told you that you’d need to learn how to use a spoon again, but now you do. What’s more, you need to master using a spoon with wild interference from swinging baby hands. But when you master the technique, it feels better than knowing how to throw a knuckleball.

When They Offer a Hint of Personality

Around the time they begin to crawl, explore the world and babble, you begin to notice the most subtle and raw expressions of personality. You realize your kid is reserved, or adventurous or boisterous or quiet as a rule. They’re becoming a person.

The First Time your Partner Tells You You’re a Good Dad

You always knew it. Your baby knew it too. But when you wife looks at you and offers an appreciation of your skills with deep sincerity, it feel like you’ve truly arrived.

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