Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Baby Nuthouse: Dada's girl

The pain was excruciating as we checked in to the hospital. They took me straight to labor and delivery, where I demanded an epidural. The nurse said I would need to answer a few questions first.

In between screams, I answered her questions (mostly information I’d provided weeks before on the pre-registration form) and intermittently asked a few of my own, like:

“Where’s that epidural?
“Don’t you already have this information?”
“How long does it take to get an epidural ready?”
“Didn’t I just answer that question?”
“Where’s that anesthesiologist?”

By the time the epidural started to work, my daughter was pushing herself out into the world. The doctor had not yet arrived, so the nurse and the anesthesiologist caught the baby, wrapped her up, and handed her over.

With shaking hands, I took her into my arms. Here she was, my precious baby girl, my first daughter, brought forth in blood and suffering. She looked up, gazed into my eyes, blinked a couple of times, and said, “Oh, hey, Mom. Where’s Dad?”

Since then it’s been more of the same.

She wakes up crying “MAAAAAA-MAAAAAA,” but as soon as I lift her out of the crib, she wriggles to be let down and goes off in search of “Dada.”

Driving in the car, I get to listen to her chanting, “Yaaaaaaaay, Dada. Yaaaaaaaaaaaay, Dada.” (Not once has she performed a cheer for the woman who carried her 41 weeks, endured unconscionable pain during labor, supplied every ounce of nutrition for her first five months of life, and continues to provide for most of her daily needs.)

It’s not as though my daughter doesn’t like me. She adores me. We get along fabulously. We can make each other laugh, she willingly helps me put away the dishes, and we love to cuddle up on the couch for a good story.

By all accounts, I am a perfectly acceptable parent.

That is, right up until....

DADDY’S HOME!

Dada!” she scrambles down from her seat at the table and runs for the door.
“Dada! Up! Up!” she cries, grabbing his white dress shirt with her grimy fingers.
Dada is required to hold his daughter, or at least to remain within arm’s reach, for the rest of the evening. While he attempts to remove his white dress shirt, while he eats dinner, and as he chases the boys around the house, she remains in his arms or hovers nearby, crying out if he gets too far away. If he dares put her down long enough to dart off to the bathroom, she’ll stand outside the door and wail as if he has abandoned her at the orphanage.

When Daddy’s home, Mommy is always the wrong parent for the job.

If there is a hair clip to be put in, Daddy must do the honors.
If there is a bib to be put on, only Daddy may assist.
If there is a sippy cup to be filled, Mommy better not even think about touching it.

I’ve heard of mothers feeling jealous when Dad comes home and gets rock star treatment. After all, who fed ‘em, changed ‘em, and entertained ‘em all day long?
Well, maybe, just maybe, if she had been the first child, I might feel a little put out. But this is my third kid we’re talking about. Hey, I think I can find something else to do while she’s busy with Mister King of the World Superstar Dad!

Besides, we’ll always have that mother-daughter thing going for us. I’m sure we’ll have our ups and downs over the next couple of decades, but I hope over time she and I will only grow closer. She might have a baby someday, and I’ll be there to help her the same way my mom has been there for me.

But her daddy?

No matter what, he will always be her hero.

He will always be larger than life.

I know, because I’m a Daddy’s girl too.

1 comment:

Angela said...

Awww... That is just so dang cute. I can just imagine your sweet hubby all wrapped around her pudgy little finger... So so cute.
And... I'm a little bit thrilled that you are getting a much needed break. I seem to remember another of your sweet children wanting only you for a long long time, and I know the drain that can be (however sweet...still can be draining!)
Anyway. Thanks for the smiles. I love you. Hope your house is still all in one piece! I hear there are storms up your way?