We all know of the stereotypical “daddy’s girl.” But what happens when Daddy’s little girl wants nothing to do with Daddy? Mr. A can tell you from firsthand experience–it hurts! (It hurts Mommy, too, since it means Mommy has to be the sole provider of meals, baths, and entertainment. But I digress…)
For the past month or so, Miss L has been my shadow. Mr. A was not allowed to do anything when I was around. Mr. A started wondering why Miss L suddenly didn’t like him so much.
So I told him.
You get out of it what you put into it. This is true of all things, but especially little girls. If Daddy doesn’t play a big role in meals, baths, trips to the playground, and nighttime routines, then he’s not going to get the kisses and affection. It’s not that Mr. A was completely missing in action, especially when it came to something fun like going to the playground, but it would be fair to say I do 90% of the grunt work. Meal time sucks when you’re dealing with a picky eater like Miss L, and bath time always ends in tears when it’s time to rinse the hair out, and children’s books are often boring–but it’s these boring, exhausting routines that bond your child to you.
This past Saturday, I told Mr. A I needed a break. After a long week (or, rather, two years) of getting Miss L dressed and fed every morning, bathed and fed and read to every night, I was drained. And Miss L needed time with just Daddy, if he wanted her to be as happy and content with him as she is with me. So I took Saturday off from the main parenting chores. Mr. A took Miss L to the park in the morning for almost two hours! They rode the train at Cabin John Park, and Miss L didn’t miss me at all. They came home for lunch and a nap, and then Mr. A took Miss L shoe shopping. Ahhh, the true way to a girl’s heart!
And I read a book and took a nap. A happy day for all!
The effect of daddy/daughter day has been immediate and pretty darn remarkable. During the past few days, she has been so excited to see him and asks him to play with her and do things for her just as often as she has asked me.
Yesterday, when Miss L went voluntarily and insistently from my arms to his, he looked at me and said, “Now that she likes me again, I guess I’m on the hook now.”
But he was smiling when he said it.