The New Dad's First Year

bare_chest_sleeping.JPGThe months leading up to your baby’s first birthday bring the first taste of his growing independence. He is getting stronger, growing teeth, eating new foods, and snarfing up more and more information. He will crawl and then walk.

Of course, this places new demands on you, since the baby isn’t going to just lie quietly in the crib anymore (if he ever did!).

From now until your child grows up and moves away, your life will center on nurturing, guiding, and adjusting to his independence. This isn’t a clear, unswerving journey. There are detours, traffic jams, backsliding, and getting lost.

But there are also stretches where it feels more like you’re flying, swept up in excitement, warmth, and pride in your child’s growing accomplishments and his special personality.

The biggest miracle and mystery of fathering is experiencing how your child is not his parents. You and your partner exert enormous influence--more than anyone else--on him. Still, he doesn’t become a carbon copy of either of you, or an amalgam of you both.

No, from day one, he’s an individual. Your job is to love him unconditionally and help him become the fullest, most giving individual he can be. You’re all together in a thrilling human race, with some exciting heats over his first 12 months.

Adapted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Being a New Dad by Joe Kelly, © 2013, Alpha Books and used by permission.

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