Friday, 17 June 2016
Who's the daddy? Well, as far as my daughter is concerned, pretty much any adult male who makes conversation with us...
I remember when we first started trying for a baby I wondered whether our child would resent growing up without a father. We reassured ourselves with the fact that our baby would have two loving parents.
My daughter is now two and a half, and has been going to nursery for about a year. As a result she has come to medt many other children with different kinds of families and backgrounds, which is great. Lots of the children are picked up by 'dad' and I think this was her first exposure to being a little different to others. She has responded with curiosity. When my sister, brother-in-law and niece and neohew came to stay, she called her uncle 'dad' just as his son did. I actually found it really sweet, although I can't speak for 'uncle dad' as he became that weekend. Today we were being welcomed into an apartment we are renting for the weekend by the owner, who was with his young son. Within five minutes my little girl grabbed his hand and called him 'dad' much to his surprise.
Her name for me is 'mama bear' - a nickname my mum dubbed me with when she was born which has stuck. Interestingly, while she was busy appropriating other children's dads, at least three other children - including my nephew - call me mama bear too from time to time.
My little girl has the good fortune of having three grandfathers, each of whom she has a good and very different relationship. So she'll never want for 'male role models'. I long ago realised that it was the quality of the relationship you have with a child, not who you are, what your gender is and whether you have a biological connection with them.
I picked her up from nursery yesterday to discover all the children had done special drawings for their dads to mark Father's Day this Sunday. The nursery nurse was rather timid when she explained that the picture my girl had done was dedicated to me, and was that ok? I was so very touched. So it would seem that, for now, being mama bear is good enough. And chaps - if a small blonde toddler sidles up to you and calls you 'dad' within minutes of meeting you, take it as a compliment.