It’s been a while since I’ve written about my lovely baby girl Ellie-Jane. For some reason I’m not so public about her as I am about myself. I guess I’m respecting her right to eventually choose how public she wants to be with her life.
She’s been on my mind over the past couple of days, which got me thinking about children in general. You see, on Sunday she got a mosquito bite right under her cute little eye. Mom put some cortisone on it like any good mom would do and we put her to bed as we normally do.
On Monday morning my wife wakes me up with news that the baby’s poor little eye is swollen. I stumble into the baby’s room and sure enough her little eye was swollen. A couple hours later at the doctors office he tells me it isn’t infected. He said it might swell enough to close her eye, but not to worry that it will get better. He said she just had a reaction to the bite.
Update – 8/10/2009: Looking at my blog statistics I notice a lot of people get referred here from Google by searching for “mosquito bite under eye” or something similar since their child has the same problem. I researched a little and found that the reason mosquito bites tend to swell really bad for children is that their immune system has not had enough incidents of being bitten to defend against the saliva that mosquitoes ingest during their feeding (biting). Unfortunately, some people continue to have allergic reactions even after their immune system is exposed to sufficient bites. Here is a link to better information on the allergic reaction – http://allergies.about.com/od/insectallergies/a/mosquitoallergy.htm.
Not to worry. For me, I do a decent job of not worrying, but you can’t look at her eye and not feel bad for her. You just look at her and have this empty, sad feeling because you hate that she has this irritation to deal with – that she might be in pain.
But like she’s done since she was born, she amazes me with her resilience. She doesn’t complain about her eye. She listens to me when I ask her not to rub it. She listens to me when I ask her to sleep on her other side so it won’t swell even more. She just has this wonderful, loving spirit in the face of a crappy mosquito bite that’s made her look like Rocky Balboa.
With all of this going through my mind I started thinking about how this baby has changed my life and my perception of life. Like any proud dad when she was born and I first looked into her eyes I knew I loved her. I knew that I would love her forever and would do anything I could to fill her life with love and happiness. Unlike moms who carry and nurture a baby in the womb I think men have a space of separation from their new born children. For a woman a child is A PART OF THEM. You see, besides having an emotional attachment during the pregnancy, a mom shares her flesh and her blood with her child. She tolerates her body going through a total change to give her unborn child a hospitable, nurturing home for nine months.
But back to the current story. For me, the past couple of days has shown me that although I’ve loved my baby from the first moment I realized I would be a dad, I realized that everyday since she was born I’ve been falling more and more in love with her.
Each day she has taught me something about life and about myself. Each day she amazes me with something new. Her little phases like “Dadda do that no, no, no” or “dadda so funny” just bring a smile to me and my wife.
Always searching for an appropriate analogy, I’ve been thinking that maybe children are like a lump of coal. You see, a piece of coal under pressure eventually turns into a diamond. And if you do a good job of raising your child they too can turn into a bright, glimmering diamond.
But after further contemplation I think I’m wrong.
You see, all children at birth are already diamonds. They sparkle and amaze, they bring brilliance and joy to our lives. They grow from helpless lumps of flesh and bones into beings of great minds and souls. They teach us about life and they teach us who we really are.
If anything, WE are the lumps of coal. They apply pressure and they demand from us life’s lessons and in return we learn to shine so that they may shine even brighter!