Earlier today Janelle went to get a haircut and left me with Belle. Less than five minutes after Janelle walked out the door Belle started to cry hard. It wasn't a fussy cry so much as a cry that seemed to indicate something was really wrong. She seemed in pain but I had no idea how to fix what was wrong. Babies are capable of making a face that induces pity like no other. I've seen Belle cry before but for some reason this time it affected me more than usual and I was overcome with a desire to make it all better.
I thought the trouble might be with her clothes; she was wearing a new outfit so I guessed it might be irritating her skin or something. I took off her outfit and while she lay on the changing table her mood changed a bit and she even smiled and cooed a couple times. Soon she was fussing again and I put a different, proven outfit on her. This seemed to bother her less but she still stuck out that bottom lip and cried. I sat down in our rocking chair in her room and just held her up against my chest (and warm sweater) while she cried. She fussed a bit but started to calm down. After a while her crying started up again so I cradled her in my left arm and she buried her head in its crook. She calmed down and fell asleep in my arms.
I sat there, rocking back and forth, and was (as I sometimes am) struck by the fact that I am actually holding my daughter. This little baby girl is completely dependent on Janelle and I for everything, from food to security to warmth. She is part Janelle and part me. And she actually feels safe in my arms. I did my best to savor the moment. I imagined the different kinds of pain she would go through in life, from physical pain to having her heart broken to disappointment and, if she follows in her father's illustrious footsteps, even being teased at school. I hope I'm able to comfort her when she deals with those things. For now I'll do my best to enjoy having a baby, dirty diapers and all. I get the feeling the easiest part of being a dad is being the dad of a crying baby.