The youngest of my children is a daddy’s girl. At least that’s what he would have everyone believe.
Almost immediately after she was born, her father began calling her “Daddy’s Girl”. I suppose when you wait 40 years to have your first child, you get a bit excited. So excited, in fact, that Mommy no longer exists (except to provide the milk).
Since our little girl was 3 months early, she had to stay in the hospital for some time. Each day we would visit her, Daddy would swoop over to open the window in her isolette and cup his hands around her tiny body, whispering, “How’s Daddy’s Girl today?” I would go behind the curtain to pump for her next feeding. When finished, I had to fight for my turn with our child.
Things didn’t change much when she was moved to a bassinet or out of the NICU and into the Newborn Village (a step between the NICU and the regular nursery). Daddy would be the first to pick her up. So it was when she finally came home after 10 long weeks in the hospital.
The baby’s wardrobe also reflects Daddy’s feelings about his girl. Most of the outfits he buys for her proudly boast of his attachment to her. After much nagging, he finally bought her a sleeper that acknowledged her mother.
As baby grew, she certainly showed her attachment to her father. Away from home, she would fuss if I was holding her and calm down as soon as I handed her off to him.
Probably the source of her preference for Daddy is the fact that he spoils her, especially at bedtime. I will lay her in the crib, start her music, say good night, and leave the room no matter how much she protests. He cannot stand to hear her cry and will play with her to keep her distracted. No wonder she has trouble going to sleep when he puts her to bed.
His approach to parenting (not just at bedtime) has been the source of much frustration. I don’t coddle. He thinks I’m too cold. Maybe I am, but I do what I have to in order to survive the day. I am, in fact, the one who spends more time with the children, so I have to be a bit more business-like in my approach. Putting the baby to bed can’t take up all of my evening because I do have another child to tend to.
So the other night when I was away from home to spend some quality time with the older child, the baby threw a fit. She has learned the business of going to sleep Mama’s way. When I put her to bed, she is asleep in under five minutes. I, however, was not there, and she screamed for an hour.
And what was Daddy’s Girl screaming?