Ivan Natividad: Cherish them while they’re young, and old | TheUnion.com

Ivan Natividad: Cherish them while they’re young, and old

Ivan Natividad

The most terrifying thing in the world is baby poo … wet baby poo.

When it seeps out of the diaper and soaks onto that onesie, without knowing, you go to pick up the little person and it gets all over your forearm.

And then, like some kind of baby pathogen it somehow spreads to your shirt, then to your hands.

So now with arms straightened, fingers pinched, you're holding up this baby by the armpits frantically trying to get to the changing table.

I remember his first tooth, his first steps, his first words, his first everything. Now he’s off to wreak havoc in the hallways of a place other than our home, and I’m not ashamed to say that I’m kind of sad.

You finally get him on his back, and it's like peeling back the layers of a rotten onion. You get the onesie off, you throw it in the sink, and the poo somehow travels into his hair.

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He starts playing with it so you've got to find a way to clean his hands before he starts touching other parts of his body … most of all his mouth.

Once you've got that situated, you realize some of it got onto the ground and onto your foot and you've smeared some of the poo all over the floor.

Every parent has experienced the wrath of baby poo to some degree or another, and it's not something we want to remember.

For myself, being the father of three young children, it can be hard to separate the good times from the, well, disgusting.

Nevertheless, I've been told to cherish the days when they are young, before they start ignoring your phone calls and are ashamed to spend time with you. So I've tried my best to manufacture fun and adventurous experiences with them, all the while capturing these moments to look back on and remember.

My son Dillinger is the eldest of the three, and he is coming up on an important milestone in his life — the first day of school. And for some weird reason, he's excited.

The first day of the school year can mean different things to different parents. On Monday, an Alabama mother got some attention after a Facebook photo she took of her kids on the first day of school went viral.

The picture shows her three children dressed for school with their backpacks looking like they hate life, while the mother sits jovially on a floaty in their pool holding up a champagne flute filled with what looks to be a mimosa.

Good for her.

Maybe it's just because this is my son's first day of school ever, but I'm not as happy about seeing him off for half the day every morning.

Don't get me wrong. I'm excited for him and I look forward to see how he reacts to all the new things he'll learn and the new friends he will make, but to be honest, I'm quite nostalgic about it.

I can still remember him as this little human I could cradle in one arm. I remember how he would crawl to me lovingly after a long day at work, and how as an infant he would never stop crying until I rapped lyrics from random '90s hip-hop songs to him. Or the time he tried to impress a girl by running down a hill fast, falling on his face.

I remember his first tooth, his first steps, his first words, his first everything.

Now he's off to wreak havoc in the hallways of a place other than our home, and I'm not ashamed to say that I'm kind of sad.

So recently I've found myself hugging him tighter and longer, reading to him more often, and going on trips with him that maybe I wouldn't have taken in the past. It's been great, and it's allowed me to realize that I don't need a first day of school lurking on the horizon to go above and beyond as a father.

I just need to cherish them every day regardless and continue to build that bond as a father no matter what age they are.

So maybe when they're older, they'll return a phone call or two.

And if they don't, I'll at least have an appreciation for the memories that I already have with them.

Baby poo and all.

To contact Digital Editor Ivan Natividad, email inatividad@theunion.com or call 530-477-4242.