Saturday, March 29, 2008

Bernhardt Varenius...

...(lately of the poorly tended Drive-thru Musings) sends an email:

Hi Bill,
I know we haven't been in contact for some time, but I thought you might like to know that my wife just gave birth to our first child (a girl). Prayers and advice would be much appreciated!

Hope all is well with you and yours.

Bernhardt

Bill's advice: swamp baby girl with love morning to night; lots of hugs and endless kisses. Babies can absorb immeasurable quantities of this treatment. At the end of 6 months, she should smile from ear to ear every time you come into sight. Carry her in your arms rather than in some device if at all possible. Start reading to her as soon as she can sit upright and continue with this for the next 5 years minimum. When she begins to understand English, pay frequent compliments to her intelligence and beauty (this must needs continue throughout her life). If you have a bicycle, put a child seat behind yours and take her for many rides. When you need to run up to the grocery store, take her with you instead of leaving her at home like most parents. The accepted wisdom that parents need a break from their kids is a malicious lie. By the time she's 4, brush her hair frequently. She'll want to do the same for you, so sit still while she brushes and puts clips and pins and scrunchies in your hair. If your hair is short, grow it. If one of your buddies stops by unexpectedly, tough it out. Before bedtime, dance with her to music. Often she will fall asleep on your shoulder. Mine liked to dance to the Eagles; Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young); the Gatlin brothers, Anne Murray, and the soundtracks to My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music, the lyrics to all of which it will be necessary to memorize. When you rock her to sleep, sing Ave Marias, Jesu Bambino, and other lullaby-like tunes. If you can't carry a tune, turn on the stereo. Frequent talk about God is always permissible because, unlike adults, children are not horrified by it. When you tell a little girl that you thank God every day for her, she knows what you mean. The idea of the unseen Maker of All and Giver of Gifts recommends itself to her uncluttered mind. The Christmas story will dawn upon her consciousness like the happy ending she'd been expecting all along. God came down from heaven? As a baby? Of course He did. What would you expect? Later, she will ask awkward questions (look for this around 6 years of age) without hindering her faith. The invisible world is to her just another of the neat things about being alive.

This merely scratches the surface, but should stand you in good stead as far as it goes. When she approaches teendom, write me another email. Oh, and congratulations.

Proof of baby girl falling asleep after being danced to the music:















Another kiss being demanded by the infant Bernadette, who receives it as royal custom:

13 comments:

dylan said...

What a beautiful testimony to the joys of parenthood!

alicia said...

I would add only one comment to this - remember that you cannot spoil a child by attention but rather by neglect. And that the best gifts to give your child is to love your spouse - and let that love be fruitful in the form of siblings if God so wills.
"Cooking and cleaning can wait till tomorrow, as children grow up, so I've learned to my sorrow. So go away cobwebs, dust go to sleep. I'm holding my baby, and babies don't keep" (from poem for a fifth child, I can't remember the author)

William Luse said...

Good stuff, Alicia.

From you too, Dylan. :~)

Mama_T said...

As a first time parent, you will probably be overly concerned with germs. Don't be. Let everyone at church tickle her, hold her, breath on her, smooch her. The value of being in a loving community far outweighs any danger of a few more bugs.

Let her help you, when she's old enough (less than two!). She will want to help you clean the sink and wash the dishes and all those other things you think are just boring chores. To her bubbles on the dishes are magic. Sure, you can do it more quickly without "help", but trust me, you'll miss it when it's gone.

And tell her, tell her, tell her how much you love her.

And always kiss her goodnight and goodbye. Always.

William Luse said...

Let her help you, when she's old enough (less than two!). She will want to help you...

Absolutely true. Bern had to sit on the counter while I made pizza so that she could help push on the dough - and pick off little pieces to eat. I've got a picture of it somewhere. I'll see if I can find it.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful advice. And remember, the more you love her mother, the more your daughter will feel loved.

Paul Cella said...

Marvelous, Bill. I have three girls, and can attest to all of this, though only with some pangs of guilt for my own failures.

Bernadette said...

love you, dad. I miss doing your hair!

William Luse said...

Pill.

I miss you too. And the dog.

TS said...

Re-reading this, it was even better the 2nd time. Beautiful.

William Luse said...

Well...thanks.

Bernhardt Varenius said...

Thanks so much for the beautiful advice, everyone! I'll try my best to live up to it.

William Luse said...

Good luck, my friend, but I don't think you'll need it.