Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

9 months.

Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

Dear Holly,

It just so happened that I had a dentist appointment during my lunch break on Valentine’s Day. No cavities, by the way…

My dental hygienist pointed out they had just refilled the treasure box full of toys. So I got a little pink bear to add to your Valentine’s Day bundle.

Mommy also had me pick up a pink ball for you, to match the pink Strawberry yogurt puffs.

Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

Though you weren’t quite sure what the gifts were all about, you still gladly went along with the festivities.

Plus, of course, Mommy dressed you up in cute Valentine’s outfits. Seriously, you are so cute!

Despite being only 9 months old, the little girl in you is very evident. I love what I see of that little girl so far. I love having you has my daughter.

Something that is definitely different about you compared to your brother is that he never cared about having a pacifier. But as for you, it’s a fun accessory.

Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

I love it when you’re just playing and then for no apparent reason, you pick up the pacifier and stick it in your mouth. My favorite is when you’re falling asleep in your bed, and your pacifier falls out of your mouth.

Every time, you just take matters into your own hands: You put the pacifier back in your mouth so that you can officially fall asleep.

So yeah, I wonder if you are going to be the kind of little girl who likes carrying it around, like Maggie Simpson.

Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

Maybe that means that you won’t still be treating your baby blanket like it’s a member of the family, when you’re in Kindergarten, like your brother does.

And though Jack is quick to help you play with your toys, he never lets you play with his blanket.

As you can see, you really enjoyed your very first Valentine’s Day.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

Dear Holly: Daddy’s Little Sweetie/Simply Fit Board as Seen on Shark Tank

9 months.

Dear Holly: Daddy’s Little Sweetie/Simply Fit Board as Seen on Shark Tank

Dear Holly,

As I carry you around through the house on a daily basis, as if my arms are your own personal flying throne like C-3PO had in Return of the Jedi, I am constantly (and perhaps involuntarily) streaming a series of praise phrases to you.

One that I catch myself saying a lot is, “What’s Little Sweetie gonna do today?”

This is a fact: You are a particularly sweet strawberry-blonde 9 month old daughter. Even when you’re mad, it’s simply hilarious. But you really only get upset about funny stuff.

Like last night, Mommy handed you over to me after she realized you had too much energy to fall asleep at your normal bedtime. So I laid down on your bedroom floor, and just let you repeatedly crawl over me. You loved proving to yourself you can cross the terrain of my chest, time after time.

But after nearly 30 minutes, you had finally worn yourself out. It was like you got upset that your arms were too tired to pull yourself up and that your head keep falling on me too.

You got mad because you ultimately had too much fun.

I always love to see “what Little Sweetie is going to do today.”

One of the things you love to do is to take a ride on my Simply Fit board, which I ordered after seeing it featured on an episode of Shark Thank. You think it’s normal to hold on and get a tour of the bonus room upstairs.

I never had to teach you to do this. You just saw it one day, and then looked at me as if to day, “Okay, Daddy, I’m ready to ride it!”

It makes me wonder how many other infants appreciate the thrill of their Daddy pulling them around on a Simply Fit board.

You and I both like to keep things interesting. We’re a good match.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Daddy’s Little Sweetie/Simply Fit Board as Seen on Shark Tank

Dear Holly: I Can’t Imagine Having a Daughter I Didn’t Completely Adore

6 months.

Dear Holly: I Can’t Imagine Having a Daughter I Didn’t Completely Adore

Dear Holly,

I love you in a way I’ve never loved anyone before. You have completely added to my quality of life over these first 6 months of your life.

It reminds me of a song called “Everything” by Lifehouse, which is actually a song about God. However, there is a line that I feel completely describes the effect you have on me:

“How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?”

It is beyond my comprehension that throughout the history of the world, including now, there have been and still are fathers who don’t feel the same way about their daughters as the way I feel about you.

I cannot relate to the concept of a father brining a daughter into this world, only to ultimately abandon her, neglect her, or simply not completely adore her.

Before you and your brother were born, it was quite normal for me to consider what the meaning of life was.

However, this is the first time since 2010, when your brother was born, that I’ve thought about “the meaning of life.”

Because since becoming a parent, I haven’t needed to think about that.

God has given me great blessings and great responsibilities: You and your brother.

I don’t take my role as your Daddy lightly. I’m a big deal to you both, whether I want to be or not.

The outcome of your life is largely based on how I express my love to you and your brother.

And while I love your brother just as much as I love you, there is undeniably a specifically different role in being a father to a daughter, as opposed to a son.

I simply must adore you and nurture you and guide you and protect you and lead you.

Anything less would simply be heresy.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: I Love You, Period

5 months.

Dear Holly: I Love You, Period

Dear Holly,

In the routine of coming home from work each day and playing with you while Mommy makes dinner for our family, one of the things I catch myself saying is, “Daddy loves baby ‘cause baby’s soooo sweeeeet!

And while it’s true that you are undeniably sweet, and everything I could ever hope for in a baby girl, I began overthinking my catch phrase; in an “if/then” format.

It’s not, I love you because you’re so sweet.

It’s, I love you, period.

While I do my best to love everyone, even those who may be perceived as frenemies, enemies, or people who are simply indifferent towards me, it’s different for you and it always will be.

You are my daughter. I love you in a way that I love no one else in this world. The way I love you is so special.

No one else can make me feel the way I do about you.

I felt it from the moment you were born on April 24th. I will never forget holding you for the first time.

It wasn’t that I simply had another kid now. Instead, it was the instant and euphoric understanding that for the rest of my life, I will be the loving father of a daughter.

I will be responsible for showing you what love looks like. I am honored to be the most influential example of what a man is, in your life.

That’s huge responsibility and I take it very seriously.

You will be loved. You will know every day you are loved. Yet at the same time, I will carefully balance giving you room to grow on your own.

I never realized until this year, 2016, how much I needed a daughter. You have already changed my life forever.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: The Postpartum Beard and My Ability to Burp You

1 month old.

https://nickshell1983.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/beard1.jpg?w=680

Dear Holly,

I love having a little baby girl! I really do. I love knowing I get to come home each day and hold you, talk to you in my special baby voice, stare at you, change your diapers, feed you, and perhaps most important to Mommy… burp you.

Oh yes, that’s one of the biggest ways I can help Mommy take care of you right now. It’s currently my exclusive niche.

Mommy actually depends on me to get that done each time either one of us feeds you. I have a special yet effortless way of sort of tossing you over my shoulder. You instantly seem at peace, as you do this combination of a purr and a grunt. Usually within a couple minutes, a huge burp escapes you.

It makes me feel good to know I have a new official super power.

You are now a month-old and I do admit, it doesn’t seem you should be that old already. The time has flown by. It hasn’t been chaotic, though. Mommy and I have naturally worked out a system to share the load of caring for you.

Your brother Jack is the only one at our house who gets to sleep through the night, but that’s alright. Mommy and I are teamed up to care for you as you need to be fed, changed, and burped every 3 hours.

In the midst of all this, I have accidently invented something I call… the Postpartum Beard.

I’m a low-maintenance, low-overhead kind of guy. Therefore, I traditionally just shave once a week, every Sunday; so I’m only clean-shaven that one day and then quite stubbly for the rest of the week.

This has been my tradition for quite a while now. But now, it’s clearly been more than a week since I’ve used my Norelco.

I know people typically associate the word “postpartum” with depression, but the word simply means “following childbirth.”  I have a feeling I’m not the only dad of a newborn out there who like me, accidentally ended up with a beard.

The Postpartum Beard demonstrates something we as happily married men already know, something that apparently the media will never choose to legitimately celebrate:

As far as all of my friends who are dads, we are all very involved as parents; even with infants.

I personally don’t know of even one happily married dad who doesn’t get up in the middle of the night to help his wife with the crying baby. To me, that’s simply a given.

That doesn’t make us heroes or even special. It makes us good modern husbands and good modern fathers, which is something that we find much identity in as men, here in the year 2016. It’s masculine to sacrifice sleep and hobbies for our babies and kids.

And it’s pretty masculine to have a super power of being able to burp a baby.

You and I are a good match. Thanks for burping so easily for me.

 Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Your Due Date is Exactly 3 Months from Today!

27 weeks.

Dear Holly: Your Due Date is Exactly 3 Months from Today!

Dear Holly,

Today I visited Brilliant Sky Toys and Books and bought you your first official stuffed animal from Mommy and me.

For a few months now, we’ve had our eyes on this particular Jelly Cat bunny with a flower design for its ears: Blossom Bunny Posey.

It instantly made us think you; not overly dainty and princess-essy, but instead; sweet, eclectic, and understated.

I could be wrong, but that’s how I see you: sweet, eclectic, and understated.

The question: What kind of little girl will you be?

It’s something I think about constantly. Here’s my thought process so far…

Mommy is obviously beautiful, classy, and diligent in all she does. I know you will be like her in those ways.

Your brother Jack is creative, intelligent, and independent.

As for me, I am innovative, good at communication but horrible at math, and charming in an old-world sort of way.

We are the family you are being born into.

Over the next couple of years, you will develop your personality based on and around us.

I see you as artsy. I don’t see you as someone who demands attention. People will be drawn to you because you will be confident in who you are.

Something I assure you of as your Daddy is that I will instill that confidence in you, every day.

You will know you are beautiful. You will know you are loved. You will hear these things from me every day.

That’s one of my roles as your Daddy. I take pride in that job.

Granted, I will also brainwash you into believe that Frozen is an asinine movie because the parents locked their daughters in the rooms, not allowing them to communicate just because they were different.

Therefore, I will celebrate with you the better Disney girl movie choice, Inside Out. It demonstrates how good parents raise their daughters; from an emotionally intelligent perspective.

Yeah, your Daddy’s going to be a little bit different… maybe even a little bit kooky. But you’ll never have to wonder about my love for you.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: A Glimpse of the Girl I Think You are Going to Be

21 weeks.

Dear Holly: A Glimpse of the Girl I Think You are Going to Be

Dear Holly,

By turning one of your recent sonogram profiles sideways, I am able to catch a glimpse of what you might look like once you are born. I had done this with your brother Jack, and he turned out looking like what I would expect, sans the sandy colored hair and blue eyes.

I see how you look like Mommy already. Particularly, I see some French and Croatian in there from her genes.

However, Mommy and I do both believe you will have darker traits, unlike your brother Jack.

The “baby gifts” are starting to come in the mail from family members. So therefore, your bedroom is starting to fill up with clothing that will help compliment your assumed personality.

Jack picked out that doll as his gift from him to you.

Mommy and I predict you will be a feminine girl, not a tomboy. However, we don’t see you as a particularly sensitive or dainty little girl either.

Dear Holly: A Glimpse of the Girl I Think You are Going to Be

Speaking of dolls, I saw this bunny doll today at Brilliant Sky and sent the picture to Mommy. We both instantly agreed that this style summarizes our thoughts regarding what you’ll be like:

Dear Holly: A Glimpse of the Girl I Think You are Going to Be

As Mommy worded it yesterday, “Holly won’t be a princess, just like Jack isn’t a prince.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with adopting such romantic and royal concepts, I just suppose it’s not our family’s style or culture.

(It doesn’t help that I loathe the movie Frozen because the whole plot could have been prevented had the parents not been psychos who locked their daughters in their bedrooms. On the other hand, I applaud and celebrate Inside Out for its intelligent plot revolving around a young girl and her developing emotional intelligence.)

We believe that the environment we will raise you in will make you a very independent, yet laid back little girl.

As I imagine Jack bumping into you with his toy cars, I see you laughing about it instead of crying.

Dear Holly: A Glimpse of the Girl I Think You are Going to Be

I picture you naturally wanting to join in whatever weird activity your brother Jack is doing, convincing yourself that soaking Halloween candy in warm saltwater (instead of eating it) is normal.

Sure, you’ll love baby dolls and tutus. But you’ll also have access to Jack’s exhaustive Thomas the Train and Hot Wheels collection.

Plus, I think my personal love for outdoors and adventure will guide you in becoming a fun little girl who is able to keep up with your brother and me.

Granted, you’ll also be exposed to all my quirky musical and video-making antics.

I am so excited to think about the fun little girl you will become.

Love,

Daddy