Fathering in the Now

Musings on parenting and presence

Month: March, 2010

Baby yoga

Lilyana regularly leads us in yoga, like this, only with more verbal instruction:

Missing a word

There’s a word that I haven’t been able to find in the English language, and that’s a word for the act of being a child.  “Child-ing?”  We have parenting, mothering, and fathering, but no child-ing, son-ing, or daughter-ing. In addition, when someone is told they are behaving like a small person, it’s usually in the context of shaming: “Stop acting like a child! Act your age!”

I think the lack of a child-ing word and the negative use of the word child go together. In the absence of a definition for a condition it’s easier to create negative and/or unrealistic associations around it.

Ready for Anything

My daughter Lilyana and I were walking at a crosswalk yesterday, when up the street I noticed a Toyota Prius approaching and slowing down.  Earlier in the morning I’d heard about the uncontrollably accelerating Prius in CA, and instantly visions of the car not stopping flashed through my mind along with plans and alternatives for grabbing Lil and getting her out of the way should the car not stop.  The hair on my arms prickled, my muscles tensed, and my chest tightened.  I hurried her along and a few seconds later, we waved to the driver and were across the street.

Uncharacteristically, Lilyana almost immediately sat down on a little stone wall. I now think it was her way of recovering from my moving her faster than she was ready to go, for she was only there for a moment and then we were on our way to the playground.  As for me, I didn’t relax until we were safely among the sun-warmed woodchips under the jungle gym.

I continue to be amazed at the instant reactions of our bodies and minds, that even a few words in a newscast can be a trigger.  Our readiness to respond anytime and anywhere to potential threats is critical to survival and can be a source of stress, and I learn a lot from my daughter and other young people about how I as a parent can spend too much time being ready for threats that don’t actually exist in the moment.

The Name

This is a blog about my experiences and insights as a father, husband, massage therapist, somatic experiencing practitioner, and meditator.  The name comes from two sources: my daughter Lilyana saying “I want it now, Papa!” and the idea that life is more fun, more rewarding, and easier when I’m living in the present moment.  By “living in the present moment” I mean that when I’m doing X my brain is paying attention to X and not worrying and ruminating over Y, Z, and f(a)=23^b/42. For example, when we’re making pumpkin pie am I obsessing over the time because I’m worried about the cleanup and we need a tub before bed or am I present to how much fun Lilyana is having dumping and stirring ingredients?  When I’m present, there’s a lot more interaction, more giggling, more learning and growing on both our parts, and the pie still tastes awesome.