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Philip Maramba: Daddy discovers he's got a baby girl

My friends and family warned me that these early years with children fly by. And I've endeavored to immerse myself in the all-too-brief experience of life with babies.

And yet I have a shameful confession to make: my baby girl turns 1 this weekend and I don't feel like I've spent enough time with her.

The past year has been such a blur that this pretty little thing has arrived at the brink of walking and it seems I'm only now discovering her.

Those first days and weeks of holding this tiny person seem to have faded into barely recoverable memory.

The feeding and changing and swaddling - the tactile things - seem like history. I can scarcely believe she could fit entirely in the crook of my arm.

Maybe it was having to balance attention and energy between her and her bewildered, jealous brother.

Maybe it was the grind of being a more senior editor on staff now with more responsibility than when our boy was born. I come home from work every night tired and more focused on rest and less on being in the moment of fatherhood - much less than I was the first time around.

On the other hand, unlike the early days of me and the boy, Mama is home 24/7 and we no longer have need for daycare.

Back when my wife worked outside the home, the hours between my son's waking and my dropping him off were our alone time. I don't think I've had too much of that with the girl.

These days, with her brother attending pre-school a couple of days a week, I get to spend time with her from the moment she wakes up until Mama returns from errands and the boy comes home. This can be a couple of hours.

So these stolen moments with the little girl have turned into a delightful re-introduction to the other wee person in our home. And just in time, too. Her little personality is starting to come through.

She smiles easily and often and she'll favor you with one for just a glance her way. She's already a master of the coquettish eye.

While she's as fragile and wobbly as a baby can be, she's also something of a brute and can be about as wriggly as a worm on a hook when she doesn't want to be held.

Judging by the way with which she zeroes in on her brother's toys and voices her disapproval of his efforts to take hers, I can see she's going to be a pistol.

But by the same token, you need only look at the way she looks at her brother to see adoration.

I pledge to pay especially close attention to these two while they're still small enough to carry.

Happy birthday, baby girl.

Contact writer Philip Maramba at philip@dailymail.com or 304-348-1248.


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