Monday, February 1, 2010

I'm Not Daddy

I've been talking a lot about being Mommy. And that is all well and good, but I think I got a taste of what it's like to not be the "other" parent. I do most things with E. But there is one thing that Daddy has done with E every night since we brought her home. And tonight, I had to take on this task.

Daddy won't be home in the evening every Monday for a couple of months. And for this reason, and this reason only, Mommy, is taking on bedtime. This doesn't seem like it should be a big deal. But as 7 PM approached I cautiously considered how putting her to bed by myself would go.

It's not that I don't see her at night usually, or even not as though I don't pop in after we put her to bed to put the pacifier in, but Daddy is the main parent for this task. Both Mommy and Daddy get E ready for bed, change her daddy, change her jammies, and then swaddle her up tight. I give her kisses goodnight and then pass her over to Daddy. The two of them sit in the rocker and share a bedtime bottle, and then Daddy rocks her for a while. Once E is either asleep, or ready to get in her crib. Daddy puts her there, and that's that. It's a special time for the two of them, so I haven't ever intruded. I think it's important for the two of them to have this time.

But tonight, Daddy wasn't home, so Mommy had to try to take on bedtime herself. We went upstairs and went about our evening routine. But when we got to the portion of the routine that is primarily Daddy's I felt somehow insufficient. In her little whimpers and cries, I could hear "This isn't how Daddy does it. You're doing it wrong Mommy. I don't want to be held like this. This is the wrong way." And I just felt like somehow I wasn't meeting her needs. It took longer for me to get her down than it takes Daddy. Maybe it was a coincidence, maybe it was that it was me instead of Daddy. And maybe next Monday it will go quicker. We'll have to see.

I spend so much time with E. And I know there are times that Daddy is with her that I try to let him know how E likes it done. And suddenly, today, I could imagine how he feels. What it's like to be the parent that doesn't know exactly how it's done. To know exactly how she likes it done. And I suddenly have a new appreciation for how it feels to be Daddy.

So we learned something new today. I'm not Daddy. And as usual, that's ok. It's good to have a Daddy.

I hope all the Mommies remember Daddy, and all the Daddies know that they are needed and loved, and that they hold their own little special place in the little one's lives. And does anyone know who dropped the pacifier?

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