Archive | January 2014

More on Daddies and Babies

I recently got a friend request on Facebook from an ex. I’d been thinking about him recently (in a general way, as I was thinking about a topic with which he will always be entwined in my mind) and so I accepted the request.

He popped up to chat minutes later and we got caught up.  He is married now, living up in the frigid north, and he has a six year old daughter.

I couldn’t remember if he and I had ever discussed having children. I knew we had discussed marriage, but I don’t think the topic of kids ever came up.

I know how Miss P is with my husband/her daddy. She adores him. She thinks the sun and moon revolve around him.  When he gets home from work she squeaks and runs for him.  Anytime he is home she is sure to be stuck to him. Their relationship makes my heart feel like it will burst.  They are totally inseparable, those two.

I love it because I am a daddy’s girl.  I have a wonderful relationship with my dad – he was even in the delivery room when my daughter was born!  I’m so glad she has that strong male presence and that strong bond in her life, like I do.

So I asked my ex if he was a doting father.  Is his daughter a daddy’s girl?  He told me that they are planning a trip to visit his family in a few weeks and it will be just the two of them “so that will tell.”

I don’t know if he realizes it but that was a big fat NO.  If you haven’t established a strong bond with your child by the age of 6, it seems unlikely you ever will.

I guess not every girl has to be a daddy’s girl, but it makes me a little sad for both of them.  I’ve seen both my husband and my daughter blossom because of their relationship.

On Daddies and Babies

Recently on a motherhood forum I belong to a mom posted a lament about how she thought her marriage was failing.  Her husband and baby daddy (they just got married last summer) spends a lot of time on his phone and doesn’t spend a lot of time with their 18 month old when he isn’t working.  He works long hours, comes home, tries to spend time with the baby and she cries so he just watches TV or plays on his phone.

Here’s the thing about parenthood: it takes work.  Some of it, especially when the baby is really young, it SUCKS.  It’s hard and thankless and seems neverending.

Boohoo.

We all go through this.  Even mommas.  We have the upper hand because we carried the kid for 9 months so there is a a bond there already.  Daddies? They have to really work at it.

Someone posted and told her that some, if not most, daddies just don’t know how to deal with a kid until they are 2.5 or 3 and can communicate on their own and play for real.  I call bullshit.

The reason daddies don’t like being involved with littles is because it involves so much work and they lack the equipment (milk-filled boobs) to get the kid calmed down quickly.  It is so easy when baby is crying to hand him or her off to momma to be nursed and comforted.  Why can’t daddies do the comforting?

My husband was 53 when our daughter was born.  In all of the time I’ve known him I have never seen him hold a baby.  Not once.  We have friends who adopted the sweetest little boy and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on him.  We all cajoled him into holding the baby but it didn’t work.  He retreated outside to have a cigarette instead.

While I was pregnant he talked to her in my belly.  When she was born he was there in the room.  He would give her a bottle when he first got home from work in the evenings.  He participated in bath time.

They are very close now.  She’s on him like velcro the minute he walks in the door at night.

Now there was a time even with all of this that she only wanted me.  We fought through it.  I would leave her with him while I went grocery shopping on Saturday mornings and some days she would cry the whole time I was gone.

He figured it out. He figured out how to calm her, how to engage her in play.  My intelligent, well-spoken Harley-riding husband will play with baby dolls, he will sing to her, he will dance with her and he will even change poopy diapers.

Of course, he’s older, and he never thought he would have a child of his own, so to him this is a golden opportunity that he isn’t going to pass up.  Maybe younger guys just don’t feel that way, and that’s a shame.

My advice to the forum poster was to talk with her husband and explain that the daughter cries because she doesn’t know him and if he doesn’t put in the effort, then she never will.  Pick her up and she cries?  Deal with it.  Find a way to calm her, whether it is showing her pictures on your phone or making her a sippy of water or making an ass of yourself dancing to some goofy Elmo song for her amusement.

If you have to make a non-Facebook pact, do it.  I’ve got some super-ridiculous pictures of my husband clowning around for his baby girl.  I cherish them, but I know that they would embarrass him if posted online so I don’t.  I save them for my own amusement.

Another Milestone Down

Image courtesy wikimedia.org.

It’s only Day 2 of 2014 and I’ve already had enough excitement to last a lifetime.  If there is never another repeat of today it will still be too much.

I’m in purge mode.  The clutter around here is driving me crazy so I’ve got boxes stationed in most rooms so that I can just toss something in the box when I want it to go away.  Today I decided that while we were out running errands I would drop a few things off at one of the many donation centers that dot the parking lots around town.

I had three plastic shopping bags full of books – books I paid good money for many years ago and then never even cracked open – and a bag of really fat clothes (as in, I don’t ever want to be really fat like that again).  I popped the trunk lid open from inside the house, then gathered up these bags.  Miss P was hot on my heels so I slipped out the front door saying “momma will be right back” and kind of kicked the door closed behind me.

Ten steps or less to the car, dump the items in the trunk, shut the lid.  Ten steps or less back to the door.  Which is locked.

WHA???

The door knob itself wasn’t locked, but the deadbolt just above it was.  The deadbolt cannot be locked from the outside without a key.  Specifically the key that is on my key ring, sitting on the shelf next to the door.  Next to my cell phone.

So, yeah, my almost-17-month-old locked me out of the house.  The windows on either side of the door are frosted and leaded glass, so I really couldn’t see in.  I pondered whether she could unlock the door and decided against it.  I doubt she realizes she had locked the door in the first place.

My guess is when she tried to follow me she stood up on tiptoes to try the door and brushed the deadbolt latch with her fingertips, thus engaging it.  She probably wouldn’t be able to undo this action, even if she knew what I was saying.

I ran next door to the neighbors and rang and knocked.  The wife answered the door.  “My daughter locked me out of the house.  Can I borrow your phone? Does anyone here know how to pick a lock?”  She called out “Rusty!” over her shoulder (her husband) and handed me the house phone.  I called my husband twice and it went straight to voicemail both times.  In all the time I’ve known him his phone has never gone straight to voicemail, ever.

Her husband slipped on some shoes, told me to go over and talk to the baby through the door to keep her occupied.  I ran back home, banging and yelling through the door because I couldn’t see her.  Rusty came over and went into the backyard.  Through the back window into the living room he could see she was in the living room, happily watching TV, completely unaware.

He started trying windows.  I knew they were all locked.  He told me to go back to his house and get the cell phone to call my husband just in case.  I got hubby on the phone and he said he would be there shortly.  When I got back to our house the neighbor was in the yard.  “I got in, and she doesn’t like me,” he said.

He had managed to jiggle the lock open on our bedroom window and climb through (leaving wet, muddy, leafy footprints on my bed, but who cares?), walked down the hall to the living room where she squawked indignantly to have a stranger in her house.  Thank God he got in, but wow, my house is that easy to break into?

His wife told me it’s best when you have small children to keep a key hidden somewhere outside, just in case.  She said this happens a LOT.

I was proud of myself.  I didn’t get panicky until I realized I really couldn’t get in.  I had hoped I’d left the spare key in the unlocked laundry room (not attached to the house) but no.  I had hoped I had left the back door unlocked while doing laundry earlier that morning.  Nope.  Could I pick a lock?  Probably not.  Was there any way my daughter could hurt herself in the house?  Probably, yes. Even her regular activities could result in injury without supervision (ie riding her rocking giraffe too vigorously and getting thrown).

I’m so grateful for helpful neighbors.