I Scare My Daughters

I don't plan to do it, people. It just sort of happens.

I scare my young daughters.

This little cutie-pie freaked out a little bit yesterday as she sat in the very bouncer you see pictured. The other kids and I were playing Trivial Pursuit. I had a chance to win an Arts & Literature pie, but said that James Leo Herlihy's novel about Joe Buck and "Ratso" Rizzo was called Urban Cowboy instead of Midnight Cowboy. Loud was my lamentation; after all, our family motto is "always go for the pie".

Little Mara was not happy with my loud lamentation. I picked her right up and snuggled, which seemed to help a bit, but I had to hand her to mom so that she could watch me from a distance for a while.

Several years ago, when my now nine-year-old daughter must have been three or four, I showed up to a church event with a wickedly waxed mustache (as those of you who know me will know is my wont). I was at a table serving punch when a teenager walked by and laughingly said that I looked like a bad guy. I said that I was a bad guy, and immediately launched into a loud and maniacally evil cackle.

Renata freaked out. I'll never forget the look on her face. She looked like she was truly discovering that her father was a real-life bad guy. It took a lot of comforting to bring her down from that one.

I don't think she would have had the same reaction if her mommy had done an evil cackle.


These events were probably misfires, but I think they're a side effect of me doing my job around my daughters. Although both parents can teach the following to their children, fathers are Ĺ“conomically suited and better equipped to do so: life isn't all warm and cuddly bosoms.

I've worked my way through five babies, and I've learned a few things about myself. I am able to pacify my babies when they cry, but I can't for the life of me get them to go to sleep. For that they need mama. This is because, lacking both soft bosoms and patience, I can get the kid to stop crying by talking to her and holding her above my head and holding her on my chest looking out at the world. If I try to put a baby on my shoulder, regardless of her mood, she keeps her head up, looking out.

Wifey thinks that this is because I make my babies, especially my daughters, nervous. They like me...I just make them nervous.

And I kind of like that. Right now I'm the only element of risk in Mara's life that she can perceive. I hold her upside down and make her stand up before she's ready. And she likes me. I kiss her and nibble on her cheeks, and she pulls on my beard and grins at me.

Moms aren't the only parents to nurture their young ones. Far from it. And dads aren't the only ones to push their young ones. Far from it. Still, I think I'm pretty well suited to the task. If the price I have to pay for introducing a little zest and joie de vivre into my little girls' lives is to occasionally bring them down from a big scare, I'm okay with that. After all, the prescribed method is most pleasant for both parties: snuggles.


  1. Tony is the same way...and despite my requests to desist, he has always insisted he will not change. It took me a while, but I eventually saw the wisdom in that. That's why it takes a mom and a dad!

    1. Just one of many beautiful reasons!


Post a Comment