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Friday, June 28

Fatherhood Friday

Papa J loves Doodle Bug, this I know.  However, I wouldn't be fooling anyone if I said their relationship was smooth.  The step-father/step-son dynamic can be quite complex and we have just as many tumultuous nights around the dinner table as we do peaceful ones. 
, along came Baby E. 


Our baby girl is VERY attached to me.  She is "mama's girl".  Has been since birth.  She needs to hear me, touch me, be on me, sleep near me, sit by me... she has her hands curled in my hair every day and her head resting on my breast every night.

The same can not be said about Papa J.  Our baby was (and still is) a crash-course in patience for him.   There was a period where she would honestly scream if he so much as looked at her.  He could hold her without incidence only if he stood directly beside me and she could see me.  And even that only lasted five minutes.

Almost every idea he had about what it meant to be a dad seemed to fly out the window.  I noticed that there was even a shift in how he approached Doodle Bug.

His fuse was longer, his words softer.  I caught him offering to play video games with Doodle Bug (my partner is a video game perfectionist, so this is RARE).  It was as if he appreciated the company of a child that wanted him around.  

But, bless his heart, Papa J kept trying to bond with Baby E.

He couldn't sit with her, he couldn't calm her, he couldn't bathe her... he could barely change a diaper without her releasing red-faced screams.  This, combined with the strains in his relationship with Doodle Bug, began to make him doubt his ability to be a good parent.  Late at night, he would whisper his sad lament across the pillows to me, "She hates her daddy." 

My darling Papa J was in a funk.

And then, on Father's Day, as if she knew how important it was to him, it happened.

All day long, she reached for him, sat with him, slept on him.  Mom was dirt... daddy was all the rage!

Did she finally understand that he was taller and there was more to see from his shoulder?  Did she discover that chewing on his fingers was more soothing to her gums?  Did all those nights of sleeping beside him help her to accept his scent and heartbeat in addition to my own?


It could also be that he made her laugh.  If you can make a girl laugh, she'll love you forever.

And now she just can't get enough of him.

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