8 simple rules for dating my daughter dvd with an intimidating boss
My husband came in carrying a shopping bag the other day. He then opened the bag and out it all came: a Hello Kitty washbag, Hello Kitty lipgloss, a pair of sparkling shoes, a princess outfit in blue, a DVD of Cinderella, a talking blonde-haired dolly. ‘But all these Christmas presents are for our daughter,’ I said.‘I know,’ he said. You are the best Daddy in the world.’ As soon as he walks in the door, looking tired and haggard, she leaps up, launches herself into his arms and covers him with kisses. When my husband is not around, she’s a normal, slightly bossy, slightly moody little girl.
‘Christmas presents,’ he said, and my suspicions were roused. I usually just tell him what I’ve bought the children so he’s not totally surprised when they open their gifts on Christmas morning. Christmas sorted,’ he said, as he pulled out a jewellery box with a ballerina on it. When he is around, she clings to him like a baby chimpanzee, stroking his face with her little soft hands and opening wide her blue-green eyes while saying: ‘I love you so much, Daddy. The only problem is that she doesn’t do it to anyone else.
The force of their love has always really touched me and made everything worthwhile.
What I hadn’t realised, though, was how depressing that was for my husband.
Sometimes, they have whispered little conversations along these lines.‘Daddy,’ she says. My husband and I could have sex only at certain times of the month and then absolutely not at other times.
On it all went until, eventually, I became pregnant with my daughter.
I called up my mother — and I’ll never forget what she said: ‘Be careful what you wish for.’Now I know what she means.
Of course she loves you.’ But it doesn’t feel that way. The boys do crowd round me like a protective cloak. If one of the boys even looks as if he might go near his father, she scoots over to him, leaps on his lap, turns to her brother and says: ‘This is my Daddy, not yours.’The boys mostly take it with good humour. How on earth have we ended up in our divided situation?
Sometimes they kick off and wind her up by saying such things as: ‘No, he’s my Daddy,’ which makes her go into paroxyms of sobs and high squeals. I think it’s partially because, if I look back on it, the boys have been Mummy-oriented.
I was so worried about it that I spoke to a professional parent coach, Dr Jenny Leonard.
‘It’s not uncommon for children to much prefer one parent, but, having said that, I think it’s clear that what’s going on in your family is a result of how you and your husband are reacting to the little girl’s behaviour,’ she says. He thinks it’s all to do with the age-old adage that girls love their Daddy and boys their Mummy.‘It’s to do with protection,’ he tells me all the time.‘Little girls know they need protecting (we are talking cavemen times here) and so they need their fathers to bond with them as soon as possible, for it is they who will look after them and keep the woolly mammoths at bay.
On and on it went — gold hairbands, hairclips decorated with flowers, a brush and comb set . ‘She’s so easy to buy for.’That would be fine, if it wasn’t for the fact we have four children, not one. She’s lovely and bad-tempered in equal measure, and she flits between me and her three brothers, seeking attention from whoever is available to give it.