There is no doubt that Baby A is daddy’s little girl. She’s got her father wrapped around that tiny little finger of hers and not only does she know it, she knows how to keep it that way.
Daddy usually gets home right around bedtime and she only has to hear the key turn in the main door, and she sits right up, gives me a rather quizzical look and asks ‘papa’? As soon as he opens the door to the room, she runs towards him, arms extended and just as he’s about to pick her up for a cuddle, she halts abruptly, turns around and runs away. It plays out exactly like this every day. Every single day. Of course if daddy then decides to go change out of his work clothes, she’ll have none of it and will follow him determinedly into the dressing room. He may not pick her up and give her a kiss or a cuddle, but he must stay in the line of sight.
Mornings are daddy-baby time, usually because mommy sleeps like the dead. Baby A sits right up as soon as she opens her eyes, yells ‘Papa’ and lunges towards daddy’s face. She smothers him with kisses, wraps her tiny little arms around his neck and chatters away.
Baby A and daddy have a set of morning rituals that mommy is actively excluded from. There is ‘huggy time’ where daddy shouts ‘it’s huggy time’ and Baby A puts her tiny arms around his chest, her hands barely touching his back and rests her head on his shoulder. If I try to join in, I’m pushed away. This is then followed by the daily selfie where both father and daughter make the same funny face as each other and stare into the camera. If I try to photobomb the selfie, I not only get a rather dirty look from daddy, but Baby A refuses to face the camera if I’m facing it too.
The last morning ritual is my personal favourite. While daddy is dressing Baby A up for nursery, she lies down calmly on the bed in front of him and as he applies baby lotion on her body, he gives her arms and hands a massage. Baby A stares lovingly into his eyes while enjoying the massage and once he’s done, she puts her tiny hands on either side of his face, pulls it towards her and gives him a big kiss. This ritual is my favourite for two reasons. One, when I apply lotion on her post her bedtime bath, I have to fight running, punching and kicking limbs. Second, daddy hates the feeling of lotion of his hands and actually washes them thrice after contact with any form of moisturizer.
Baby A and daddy enjoy some rather unorthodox games. There’s one that I refer to as the ‘Angry Face Slap’. Daddy makes an angry face at baby and baby slaps it off. Literally. If a couple of slaps don’t bring about a happy face, Baby A realizes that daddy is probably actually angry and proceeds to give him a hug. Thankfully she only plays this game with daddy and my fake angry face receives a cheeky grin or a squinty-eyed smile.
If Baby A is around, all of daddy’s attention must be directed towards her. A hug between mommy and daddy cannot last for more than five seconds unless Baby A is included. While mommy is allowed to play with other children, if daddy picks up another child, a rather jealous Baby A will scream on the top of her lungs to remind him that he’s got the wrong child. To stop the screaming, daddy will need to put down the other child and lift Baby A up who will then proceed to give the other child a rather deadly stare as she clings on to her father’s neck. No sharing when it comes to daddy.
Everyday, I marvel at the amazing bond that Baby A and her daddy share, and I pray that this bond grows only stronger with time. I hope that Baby A will find her voice of reason in her father, just like I’ve found in mine. I hope that every time she doubts herself, she only has to pick up the phone and call her father, like I call mine, to be told of all the amazing things she has achieved to date and all the amazing things she has yet to achieve. I hope that her father pushes her to pursue her dreams and her passions, just like mine has always done. I hope that her father believes in her more than she believes in herself, so that she can face each new challenge in life knowing, just like I always have, that her father has her back. I hope that her father cries when she gets into her university of choice and on the day she gets married, just like mine did. I hope that her father gives her the same freedom as he would to his son and let’s her go out into the world, make her own choices and carve her own path, just like my father did for me.
As I hope all these things, I know in the heart of my heart that while my father has set the bar very high, the father of my child is no less. So my only hope this Father’s Day, is that when Baby A chooses a man to be the father of her child, she hopes, just like I did when I married my husband, that he turns out to be a father just like hers.
Happy Father’s Day to my father, Baby A’s father and to all the amazing fathers out there who stand behind their baby girls, encouraging them to go out and change the world.