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Development Dads - To Be - Neonate

Updated on November 9, 2016

To Be

Why Not?

Of course, it was a warm late spring morning. The border tulips were in full bloom and admired by her mother, grandmother, and three aunts as they climbed the steps to the front porch. As they approached the door carrying their gifts wrapped in various pastel colors, it was opened for them by the father. They stepped into the foyer and were greeted by him and, in his arms, his two week old daughter. His smile overwhelmed his face as each woman cooed like morning doves and positioned themselves in a half circle just waiting for the opportunity to first get a look at and then their hands on this precious newcomer. Of course the grandmother, her mother, got first dibs at taking the baby from his arms. As he gently relinquished, the other women ignored him and followed the grandmother into the living room to where the mother was waiting with open arms. The father watched from the foyer as more cooing, fussing, kissing, and hugging transpired. The great grandmother and great aunts piled the packages on the coffee table and then positioned themselves in rank waiting to get their first hold. The father headed for the kitchen.

After a half hour passed and all of the women had got their cuddle fix, the father returned from the kitchen with cake and coffee. The women were very impressed with his attentiveness and flattered him. He then picked up his daughter, checked her diaper, and then left the room with her. All the women except the new mother watched him leave, they looked surprised. When he was out of range, the great grandmother looked at the new mother and asked, “Is he gonna change her”?

The mother replied, “He always does. – I’ve only changed her a couple of times this whole week.” The women’s expressions then changed to amazement. “All the time?”, asked one of the great aunts. “Yep”, she replied, “he changes her, bathes her, dresses her, rocks her to sleep, - gets up when ever she makes any noise in the middle of the night. – He’s the best. – I can’t imagine a father loving his daughter more.”

In about ten minutes, the father returned with his daughter and asked, “Well, who wants her now”? One of the great aunts immediately stood up to extend her arms. “We all do, but me first”. She took the baby from him. Then, in turn, all of the visiting women poured flattering comments over the father like sugar and cream in their coffee. It seemed that they couldn’t compliment him enough on how wonderful of a father they thought he was. Then the grandmother reached out and stroked the father’s arm as he stood beside her. “You know, John, – Beth’s father never changed her when she was a baby.”

John looked at her and asked, “Why not”?

The grandmother looked over at Beth and then back to John. “Good question. – You know, I really don’t know. – Hmm, – never asked him.”

“Well, he sure did miss out on a lot. – It’s one of our favorite times together. – After I get her diaper on, we have some of our best conversations. – This morning she said a new word - gultygulty. - I think she was thanking me. ” John smiled at her and then looked to the rest of the women. “These past two weeks have made me wonder. – Why is it that when a mother nurtures her baby, it’s natural, almost taken for granted? – But, when a father does it, it’s some how way out of the ordinary – almost miraculous.” He looks at his mother-in-law. “I don’t do it because it’s my responsibility. I don't do it because I read in a book that I should. – And I don’t do it because I want to impress people. I do it because she needs me and I love her more than I ever imagined possible. – Taking care of her is the most wonderful experience I have ever had in my life. I have no idea how a father could pass on these feelings.” He then excused himself to do some yard work. When he was out of range, the great grandmother leaned over toward Beth, gave her a wink, and smiled, “I love this man.”

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