By Dr. Daisy Joy Espejo-Torina
When I found out I was pregnant, I wished for a little boy. I was thinking about how I didn’t want another female getting my hubby’s attention, about how I would resent having another female in the house, about how I wouldn’t get along with a daughter, about how it must be more fun to take care of a little boy. Others said otherwise: it’s easier to take care of a little girl, girls are “good” while boys are “bad”, a little girl would help me with house chores while a boy would be preoccupied with play, it’s much more fun to dress up a girl than a boy. As the days passed by and I discovered I’m having a little girl, my thoughts became more and more focused on having a healthy and normal baby rather than on the gender. Now I am thankful God did not heed my wish because I am happy with what I have.
Actually, my main concern was how it would make me jealous if my hubby and my baby girl would get along so nicely that I would get completely ignored. On the contrary, most of the time they don’t get along. My baby cries easily when he hears her Dad speak in a booming voice which he uses only when he’s kidding. Last night he spoke in that voice as he left our room. Once he was out, my baby said to me “Galit si Daddy?” She had to be reassured by me and by her dad that Daddy was not mad, that Daddy was just kidding. She also gets disappointed easily when her dad can’t sustain playing with her. She likes to engage us in repetitive play and we have to play with her until she becomes disinterested. If play is interrupted she would feel rejected and dejected. Lately she has been locking the door to make sure Daddy can’t enter when he comes home in the afternoon and absolutely refuses to kiss and hug and say goodnight to Daddy at bedtime.
When she does get along with daddy, it is such a joy to watch them together. Last night she proudly (and loudly) sang to her Dad the sesame street version of twinkle, twinkle little star “Digging, digging all day long” right to the end “… use a shovel or your hand.” She was happy with the “very good” remark she received from him. When she wakes up in the morning without her Dad beside her, the first question she asks me is “Saan na si Daddy?” (“Where’s Daddy?”) Everytime she hears a beep from a passing car, she would either run to the front door to take a look if it’s Daddy or ask “Daddy ba yun?” (“Is that Daddy?”). She behaves when daddy brushes her teeth, a task which she absolutely abhors. She likes having piggy back rides with Daddy. When she was smaller she loved it when Daddy throws her in the air and then catches her. Now she just loves it when Daddy lifts her up over his head and says “It’s a girl!” or “It’s not a boy!” Before bedtime she would excitedly request “Daddy! It’s a girl!” and hold up her arms expectantly at Daddy. When she feels like going around the village, she asks her dad “Joy ride tayo?” When she did something naughty her dad would tell her with feigned seriousness “Mag-usap nga tayo…”(“Let’s talk…”) and she would be quiet but would refuse to see her dad eye to eye.
There are things only she and Daddy can do together. They might have their tampuhan but they also have their lambingan. I remember a friend telling me a dad has a different kind of “lambing” which a child has to experience. I can already imagine the battles she and her dad will have when Daddy would start imposing vetoes on her teenage life. But for now, I let them have their moments together. Surprisingly, Mommy never gets green-eyed.#