Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023 |
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A comfort zone is a nice place to live, but I’m ready to break out.
When we had our first child, I never followed the script that requires parents to say they’ll be equally happy if it’s a boy or girl. That would’ve been as sincere as the Oscar losers who insist they were happy just to be nominated.
I wanted a boy.
Most fathers, I imagine, relish the thought of playing catch with their sons and teaching them how to thread a worm onto a hook. More importantly, the transition to parenthood promised to be smoother with a boy.
I figured I knew what made them tick. I’ve been one all my life.
Figuring out how to care for a baby and solving the mystery of girls just seemed too far out of my comfort zone. Kind of like learning how to drive stick shift on British roads.
This time I chucked the script out the window again. I wanted a girl. According to the evidence from the womb, I’m 2-for-2.
Bring on the challenge. Bring on the pink.
A friend who handed us the lion’s share of hand-me-downs warned me to prepare for girly colors. The calm, neutral green paint on the nursery walls gets me out of repainting, so the clothes could be neon for all I care.
It’s going to be a fascinating look at the other side. Raising little Erin ought to give the same kind of insight on Venus that I’ve always had on Mars.
As a modern girl, she’ll have basically all of the same options in life as our 3-year-old son. If she shows tomboy tendencies I’ll encourage them, if only to remind my wife this is our daughter rather than a life-sized Barbie to dress up.
If she’s a girly-girl, I’m game, too. I’m prepared to serve pretend tea to stuffed animals. It’s a refined way to kick back after making plastic dinosaurs roar and toy trucks simulate garbage pickup.
Daddy’s protective instinct has already formed. Like during an ultrasound, when both technician and doctor try to coax her to move an arm away from her face.
“Leave her alone!” I protest silently. Someday that’ll be her ducking the paparazzi after her latest movie.
I’m ready to be tested, to see if I can resist the sad eyes and flapping eyelashes when my daughter wants something she really shouldn’t have. She’s lucky because we’ve learned from the lumps we’ve taken from her brother.
This time I’ll be more patient, knowing babies eventually stop wailing and eventually sleep when the rest of the world is sleeping. I’ll have better answers prepared for Frequently Asked Kid Questions on random topics adults take for granted.
No doubt she’ll complete my double master’s degree in cuteness and irrational child behavior, helping me to understand how girls tick. Women are forever beyond my grasp.
• Daddy Talk is a parenting column written by Journal-Times reporter Mike Moore.
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