My baby has outgrown her need for me. And she’s seven months old.
Damn, that happened fast.
There are a few things that I hold on to as “Daddy Jobs.” I get to give Abby her baths. I get to carry her in the Ergo. I get to choose what toque she wears out on trips. And I get to put her to bed. I take these jobs very seriously; the last thing I want is to end up being one of those dads that scares the baby out of sheer unfamiliarity.
The other night, Abby would not go to sleep. Normally my daughter takes no more than ten minutes of rocking before she’s unconscious, so after twenty-five minutes of cuddling that only led to whining cries and angry hollers, I finally traded off to my wife for a quick beer… I mean… break. I could hear the cries continuing, and then, nothing.
I went to check on my wife and daughter, only to find my wife gone, Abby asleep, and my position usurped.
“You put her to bed that fast?” I asked Erin, poorly hiding my despair at being crappy at making my baby sleep.
“No, actually I just put her down for a minute so I could pee and she put herself to sleep. It was like she was annoyed that we kept rocking her and just wanted to go to bed.”
It’s a fluke, I told myself that night as I lay awake and staring at the ceiling. My baby still needs me. She still wants her Daddy to rock her to sleep.
I decided to test this theory last night. Instead of our usual rocking chair date, Abby and I walked around her room for a minute, at which point I put her down in her crib, walked away, and listened to her cry.
Five seconds later, she was asleep.
And just like that, I became redundant. It will be hard to see my baby packing her diapers tomorrow, bundling up her stuffed animals, and taking down her pictures, but I won’t get in her way. I guess she has to grow up sometime.