When my partner and I first became parents, we exclaimed over everything (and I mean everything). Our daughter's every move and sound practically made us jump up and down, either with excitement or fear. 18 months in, we no longer exclaim outwardly, but there are times I can read my parenting partner's mind and know exactly what he's thinking. Early morning wake-ups with a hungry child who's ready to start the day or the eighteenth time she's asked for blueberries in the last hour, I have a pretty good idea exactly what he's thinking without him saying a word.
Though the initial novelty of having a baby has worn off, and we often communicate more with grunts about our daughter's ability to clear the highchair tray with a single, infuriating swipe, there are also many things that I know make my husband light up. I can see on his face how happy it makes him when she runs through the house looking for him and shouting his name, or the images of future basketball games he gets when he sees her throw a ball. And thankfully, by now we don't have to talk about those moments every time, because I know what's running through his mind without him making a peep.
One of the benefits of being able to read your parenting-partner's mind is that it's instantly easy to figure out how to give them little breaks here and there. I know my husband hates changing stinky diapers, so before he has a chance to complain about it I usually take them on. Likewise, he knows how I feel about getting our daughter out of the bath (I always end up getting wet and it's always the worst) and takes on some of that burden from me. At the very least, being able to read your parenting partner's mind keeps the complaining to a minimum, relegating most of your responses to rolled eyes or a smile.
When Our Kid Wakes Up In The Morning
Oh, I know exactly the physical pain my non-morning-person partner feels when he hears our daughter start to wake at some ungodly hour in the morning, and it's his turn for get-up duty. And after a year and a half of trying to cajole his pained self out of bed so I can get an extra hour of sleep, I also know he's just praying she'll magically fall back asleep and he won't have to get up until ten.
When Our Kid Is Sick
When our daughter was first born, I thought my partner would feel the same when our daughter is sick and it took me a while to be able to understand that his reaction is totally different than mine. Now I know that just because I'm panicking that she's sick, doesn't mean he is. Instead, he's basically calm as a cucumber, which is mostly annoying but also helpful because at least both of us aren't freaking out that she's coughing in the night or has green goo running down her face.
When Our Kid Dumps Her Dinner Off The Highchair Tray...
We no longer have to verbally communicate the ugh that we both feel inside when our daughter starts to dump her dinner off the edge of the highchair tray, bit by bit. There's nothing more annoying than watching half-chewed food goo fall to the floor and stick, knowing that you're 20 minutes away from scrubbing it off.
...And Then Signs For More Food (Again)
Well, there's one thing more annoying than watching the food goo fall to the floor off the highchair tray, and that's the sign language for "more" that immediately follows the clearing of the decks. In my daughter's case, it's always for "more" blueberries. Always. And I always know without either of us having to say a word just how annoyed he's feeling about that never-ending request.
When Our Kid Yells "Da-Da" Across The House
Our daughter calls for dad much more than she calls for mom, probably because I'm the one at her beck-and-call most hours of the day. As a result, her saying da-da (like she's shouting it through the bathroom door at him right now) is even more gratifying for him. Even though he's the one away from her longer while he's out at work all day long, he's the one she wants more verbally and vocally at least, and you can practically see him beam when she says it.
When Our Kid Learns A New Trick At The Playground
I'm absolutely certain when my husband sees my daughter learn a new skill at the playground I know he's gauging how long until he has until she can fly across the monkey bars with him. I'm definitely still relieved when she still wants to sit on the ground and pretend to eat the rocks, while he's itching for adventures with her.
When Our Kid "Throws" A Ball
At 16 months, our daughter's favorite thing to do with a ball is fling it backwards behind her head. And as a former professional basketball player, I'm absolutely certain my husband is trying to figure out what position she'll be playing on the basketball court. While his wheels are ticking imagining her basketball career is usually when I'll chime in with, "Or she can do art! Or gymnastics! Or read all the books!"
When There's A Particularly Icky Diaper
Dirty diapers are my husband's kryptonite, so I know exactly what's running through his mind when he's the one who has to change the ickiest of diapers. Luckily, he knows how I feel about puke without me ever having to say a word, so hopefully we can play zone defense for a few years at least.
When Our Kid Is Snuggled On My Partner's Shoulder
We don't have the snuggliest baby. In fact, she's always been a little more independent and self-soothing rather than cuddly, preferring to chill on her own rather than be held. However, when she turned 1 and started getting hit a little harder by vaccinations, she started hanging on tight to our necks. When I see her cuddling into my husband's beard, I know he's in heaven without him having to say a word.