There’s a bit of a balancing act, when the family converges on Chad and Patience’s place, with regards to the baby. Who gets to hold her, who gets to try to put her to sleep, who (now) gets to feed her gloopy cereal. Mom, of course, can never have enough time with her, and given that my parents live out of town and visit only ever couple of weeks, I’m sure she feels herself somewhat short-changed. (Of course, there’s also the tricky issue that Patience’s family all live in BC…)
Dad (Grandpa), loves the baby, and has lots of fun with her, but doesn’t get to hold her nearly as much. He gets to talk to and goof around with her, but usually when someone else has her. And he won’t ask to hold her or anything; it’s something the rest of us just have to kind of remain cognizant of (or not).
Yesterday, I had intentionally brought the baby over and given her to Dad for some quality time. A few minutes later I picked her up and took her. I forget why. I think she needed her face wiped and there wasn’t a washcloth nearby. And my brother was there and said something to Dad like, “They just come and take ’em away…”in his trademark dry tone, which, I think, was meant half-jestingly, but, being my brother, had as much truth to it, too.
And it made me think. Because I know my brother wasn’t only talking about Dad. He’s been “relieved” of baby duty any number of times, I’m sure. And today I offered to relieve Andrew, who (good for him), turned me down. Cadence was perfectly happy with him, reclining and chewing away on a ring toy (as well as she could with two teeth).
And I recalled this blog post, and wondered, especially within my own extended family, how many of the men are plenty good and perfectly capable fathers, but who, at least from time to time, are treated like second-class citizens. If a woman wants the baby, then she’s entitled. Hardly fair.
These are equal men. Equal parents. They know how to change diapers and get babies to sleep and mix formula and cereal and administer medicine and do laundry and stop crying and dance around the living room to Baby Got Back. But because they can’t breastfeed and they have to go to work during the day, they go to second place? Yeah, not fair. Especially given how long women complained about wanting men to do their share around the house and whatnot.
So, yeah, a good lesson. I don’t have any business taking babies away from anyone, especially considering it was my brother giving me diapering lessons, and my Dad has fed, diapered, and rocked to sleep on innumerable more occasions than I have. Interesting that it was the non-parent (Andrew), who hadn’t yet been “trained” in relinquishing, who illustrated that men don’t need to be “relieved”. Everyone’s perfectly fine right where they are.