Focus on Fathers
Daddy and Me
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 24 No. 3, May-June 2007, pp. 120-121
There once was a dad who got attached to his baby. This is their story from the baby's perspective.
Thanks, Dad, for being around when I needed you. I spent so much time with Mommy that you probably didn't even notice me looking at you. I think you felt left out at times, but I always knew you were there.
Remember our birth? What a neat time! I felt as if I knew you even before I came out. I had looked forward to hearing you talk to me each night before I was born. I couldn't wait to meet you. When I slid out of Mommy you were there, just like you promised you would be. You didn't have breasts or milk like Mommy, but I liked your voice and your touch, too. At first you were a bit scared to hold me. I could feel your arms shake a bit. We got to know each other right away. The way you carried me, sang to me, and snuggled me felt so good. After a while you got to be an old pro.
Remember our first month together -- the day I cried for two hours straight? I just could not get control of myself. Mommy was pretty upset, too. You wrapped me up and took me for a ride, and I felt better. Thanks for taking charge, Dad.
Nighttime always scared me, but I felt so good when Mommy laid down with me the first night home. She knew the best place for me to sleep was right with you, and you agreed. I know I'm a noisy sleeper at times, and it was kind of hard on you. But you were always there to comfort me in the dark.
Remember the time when I couldn't stop crying and Mommy was afraid I was getting too spoiled? I wanted to be held, but I didn't have any way except crying to tell Mommy that. I felt so good when you told Mommy to stop listening to the lady next door and just pick me up when I cried.
I loved falling asleep on your chest. It would go up and down and I could hear the thump-thump of your heartbeat while you patted me on the back. When you let out a deep breath, I could feel the warm air from your nose on my head. And when you sang to me, your whole neck vibrated against my head. That felt good.
I remember your excited reaction whenever I did something new. That made me want to do it again. When I took my first steps, you were there. That was a big day for me, Dad, and I'm glad you were there.
There were some days when you weren't so nice to be around. You seemed to be thinking about something else. Mommy would say that you probably had a bad day at the office. That bothered me. I wanted you to feel good, just like you always want me feel good. I think that's called love. Sometimes you weren't too nice to Mommy, and that really bothered me because it bothered her. But you always made things right again. Thanks, Dad.
I missed you when you were traveling, Dad. I could tell when you were gone. The whole house was tense, including Mom and me. She was more fun to be with when you were around.
Remember all the good times we had when Mom left us alone together? When I was tiny, it was kind of rough, and Mom wouldn't be gone very long because you didn't know what to do with me. But after a while we got used to each other, and we had more fun together. I still missed Mommy, but I really got to look forward to having you all to myself. Why do they call it babysitting? We never just sat around. You always thought of something fun to do.
One day after I had started crawling and could get around by myself, I saw this interesting cord hanging down from the table. So I decided to pull it. I didn't know it was connected to a lamp. Just as I started to grab it, you said, "No, stop." Your voice wasn't angry, but it was loud and different than usual. I knew what you meant. You picked me up and took me across the room to where my toys were. They turned out to be more fun than a lamp cord anyway. Another time I tried to pull that lamp cord again. And the same thing happened. You rescued me again.
Sometimes I don't trust myself, but I trust you. I don't always know what's right for me, but I know that you do. Thanks, Dad. When I grow up, I'm going to try to remember what it was like to be small so I'll know what babies need. Having you for a dad has helped me feel right.
Editor's Note: This story is reprinted from the LLLI book, BECOMING A FATHER by William Sears, MD. To order this title, shop online at www.llli.org or call 800-LALECHE for more information.