My husband is an amazing father.
However, he wasn’t born that way. I know some guys who are always into kids. If kids are around, they’re picking them up, carrying them around, playing “monkey” and “horsey” and any other game you can imagine. They are totally into kids.
Mine wasn’t. At all. Other peoples’ kids were a mystery to him and frankly, he didn’t care that much. Yet he still said he wanted a lot of his own. Curious how that went down??
From the time we started dating (almost), my husband told me that he wanted a lot of kids. Like, at least 5. He promised he would enjoy them, even though he did not care for other peoples’ kids, especially babies. (He did not get why someone would want to hold a tiny, helpless baby that did not belong to them…because it doesn’t do anything, after all!)
Our niece was born in November 2005. We visited less than a week later. Everyone begged him to hold her. Even I joined in on that, because I wanted to see him with a baby. He protested, saying he just didn’t want to, but they wouldn’t let up. So, he took her. There are pictures of this moment: him sitting there, stiff and stony-faced, holding her but looking very uncomfortable. This is how he was with babies.
But then our daughter was born in January, 2008. He jumped right in, holding her, changing diapers, watching her so I could sleep, feeding her if I’d pumped. He spent at least a few hours everyday in the first few weeks with her sleeping in his arms or her bassinet or swing next to him (he worked from home since a newborn alone didn’t need too much). He was totally into it.
He very wistfully said, then, “I can’t wait until she’s big enough to run to the door when I get home.” Both our children do this now and he loves it. Now he says, “I can’t wait until they’re big enough to play board games…and do science experiments…and debate with me!”
How is he now with other kids? Well, he’ll never care about other peoples’ kids nearly as much as his own, but that’s normal. I remember when we met our nephew (born a few months after our daughter). Somehow, in the confusion of getting everyone in the house and all the stuff into the house, someone said, “Here, hold him!” But my husband gladly took him. He craddled the baby gently and said, “Hey buddy, what’s going on?” and proceeded to talk and coo to the baby. Yup…he was a daddy!
Last summer he built an air-powered rocket. It fired off “paper rockets.” So our kids got a chance to decorate their own rockets, and we went to the park to shoot them off. On the way to the park, my husband said, “I hope some kids see what we’re doing and come over to play with us. I’d love to show them.” And that’s what happened. A group of boys, perhaps 5 – 8 years old, came over and wanted to know all about it and help shoot it off. My husband was only too happy to involve them.
So, maybe he didn’t start out as “a dad.” Maybe he wasn’t the childless guy who sought out and played with other peoples’ kids. But now that he has kids? I couldn’t imagine a better father. And obviously not just to our kids, either! His experience as a father has helped him to morph into that caring, wonderful guy who plays with anyone who’s around.
If your man’s like mine was…give him a chance. I bet once he sees your baby, everything will change.
Top image by omninate