“Listen, my sweetest one, I need to get some work done, okay?” I run my fingers through her curly hair. “Daddy will be with you later, okay?”
She wrinkles her forehead, her face curves down into a frown, and she crosses her little arms. “No! I want to be with you now!”
I let out a sigh.
Working from home can be wonderful—walking out and having lunch with my wife and kids, no commutes, and no one to care whether I’ve brushed my teeth or not—but it also has its challenges.
And I have a deadline to meet.
More firmly now. “Listen, you need to go outside now, okay? I need to finish some work.”
The frown deepens. The head lowers. Tears begin to pool in the corners of her eyes.
And then my three-year-old girl looks at me with the saddest puppy eyes I’ve ever seen.
A moment later, she’s on my lap and I’m hugging her tightly, telling her how much I love her.
We spend fifty minutes watching a BBC documentary on primates, cuddled up like that, deadline extended.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my two boys like crazy cakes, but they just don’t exert the same influence on me. Somehow, I can withstand their sad faces, maintain an appropriate firmness, stand my ground.
Not so with my daughter.
She’s got my heart hopelessly wrapped around her little finger.
And maybe I’m being unreasonable, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In practice, I find different ways of treating each and every one of them as “special,” recognizing that we all have distinct relationships.
With my daughter, I wouldn’t let her get away with harming anybody or anything, or just being very unreasonable /stubborn.
But in this case, I conceded, realizing that taking an hour out of my day for her will do more good than bad.
With my other son, he likes accompanying me on any home maintenance or technical task, and is super content with all the attention gained there.
My eldest gets all of my attention in the evening, as I read to him exclusively.
So, yeah, I have a special soft spot for my daughter, but I have different soft spots for my sons as well, and try to balance it all out, realizing that treating them all exactly the same would be impossible.
My gratitude to Ben A.Wise for sharing his story.