Before the birth of our first child, I honestly didn’t have a preference – boy, girl, I was happy with whatever came along. Not that you get much choice, but I was totally over the moon to see a little girl float up out of the birthing pool.
Two and a bit more years later and I was blessed again, though this time the birth didn’t go as smoothly – but that is another story. So my fate was sealed – father of daughters and a minority in my own home.
Do I ever pine for a boy? Sometimes, but not enough to have a third (my wife has other ideas), and my track record of making boys does not exactly inspire confidence. My girls have taken me on a wonderful journey, and we just got started.
They have opened my eyes to so much – and these are the highlights so far:
1. The pink (and purple)
Ok, I thought I would start with a cliche, but one I am happy to say is totally apt. With no prompting both my girls gravitated to anything pink (purple came later). Initially horrified, I did my best to promote yellow, green even blue – all to no avail (though Disney’s Elsa did give me a hand with light blue recently). Now I am totally cool with this part of the colour spectrum – so much so, that pink has made its way into my wardrobe.
2. The ballet
I will be totally honest, I never saw myself as a ballet guy. I know Baryshnikov and Nureyev did it, but I didn’t grow up in Russia, OK? So thanks to my girls’ ballet lessons (parents get to participate), I got to practice my demi-pliés, pirouettes and chassés. Impressed? I wasn’t particularly elegant, but my girls loved that I gave it a go – and it is not something I had on my radar, ever.
3. The gentleness
Have you seen the way boys destroy things? Kind of scary, and nice to know I can look on, smug in the knowledge that my girls will never do anything that violent and physically destructive. No, girls are so much gentler, considerate, nurturing – the cliches flow thick and fast. They will just max out my credit card bill when they get a bit older.
4. The hair
I was totally intimidated by girls’ hair before my daughters started to sprout long locks. And now I am fairly competent and get the hair thing. Well, kind of. I am not quite as good as the Californian dad who runs hair styling classes for dads, but I can do a ponytail and pigtails, which is more than I could do before they came along.
5. The negotiation
World leaders, make time to meet my daughters. They could help you negotiate a peace deal or free-trade agreement like quick smart. ‘Ok, you can have one lolly. How about three? Because you need sugar for energy?’ You get the idea. Always trying to trade up.
6. The chat
I might get slammed for this (and I know boys can talk a lot too), but there is a reason for cliches – they are often true (remember the pink thing). My girls are living proof that ‘The chat’ is refined in early childhood, with a verbosity, that while sometimes painful on the ear, is a wonder to behold in full flow. It also goes hand-in-hand with the negotiation (see above).
7. The dress up
Walking around the house dressed as a mermaid. You ain’t seen nothing yet! Girls love to dress up and I love the creative energy and riot of colour that all serious dress-up sessions entail. But the best thing is that I get to join in.
8. The cuddles
Any excuse for a cuddle, my girls. Movie night. Bedtime. Dinner. Daycare drop-off. Daycare pick-up. You name it, life’s one big cuddle-fest and I love it. Long live the cuddle – even though I can’t expect it to last forever, I am going to cuddle for as long as I can get away with it!
9. The pretend
My two girls can play with each other for hours – not to say they don’t fight, they do often. But they can role-play a whole afternoon away with no electronic device (digital pacifier) in sight. Mums and dads. Concerts. Hospitals. Airline pilots. Schools. You name it, they played it out and I love watching their self-sufficiency and imagination at work.
10. The journey
The best part about having daughters, is I get to be their dad on the great shared journey that is life. That means (hopefully) teaching them something and learning from them along the way. Boys? Who needs them. Girls rule.
This post was originally published on 18 December 2015.