I started to write that I had no idea how to raise a tiny person into an empathetic and wonderful human being.
That's only partially true.
Wait. Fuck that. It's not true at all. I have, for pretty much all my years, been regulated or resigned myself to words of self doubt. Here's the truth. I am a fucking awesome parent. So is my adult partner in this madness, although he is more consistently filled with self doubt than I am.
More on how society, how culture fucks up and fucks with dads later. Maybe way later.
Here's the thing. The most basic thing. It's brought to us by a father you should look into if you don't know. Wheaton's law: Don't be a dick. Although, I question myself with that phrase. Should a body part, one I don't have, be used by me as an insult? I say it, and I mean the sentiment behind it, but I feel like an asshole so I should probably change it to my new Inclusive Wheaton's Law: "Don't be an asshole." Or even better, and older, "Be excellent to each other."
Anyway, the best way I know how to be a parent is to be aware of other peoples' struggles. To say hey, I see you. How can I best be supportive of you in this moment? As a parent, sometimes you FEEL it, what your wee one needs.
What's amazing is how much you learn about the human capacity to have a fucking meltdown when they are hungry or fucking exhausted. You also can learn a lot about yourself and the need to address the simple needs of hunger/sleep before they reach crisis mode. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF TOO, YO.
And, when you see someone in crisis, don't correct them, don't shout at them to calm down (unless you have the sort of relationship where that works for both of you), DO NOT THREATEN THEM WITH SPANKINGS that shit teaches no good lessons. Get them to look at you, to see you, to breathe with you and tell them it's gonna be ok, that you have got this, together.
Honestly tho, I'm just making this shit up as I go.
I love you.