I have a confession to make, dear reader, so long as you promise to not spill the beans. Deal?
I have been fooling my daughter. And therein lies a tale.
The Little One is as much in love with both of us as we are in love with her, as one might expect. But, and this is the part that breaks my heart so, there are certain things that she prefers to do with Mumma, rather than Baba.
Life, I hasten to add, isn’t entirely unfair. Bike rides, for example, are a very Baba thing.
But, and this is the breaking h. bit that I was referring to, putting her to sleep at night has become an exclusively Mumma thing indeed. She deigns to let me put her to sleep maybe once a week, and that after marked reluctance and enough emotion to have soap opera makers take copious notes.
I ask you: is that not enough to break a father’s heart? Daughters, I tell you.
And so, on one of those blue moon occasions when this lackey was deemed good enough to be given the task, I asked her while we cuddled under the blankets what it was that made her prefer Mumma so.
We went through a variety of reasons and excuses, until the truth was finally revealed. My Song To Put Her To Sleep has been, for a very long time indeed, “Daddy Finger, Daddy Finger”. Now, I assure you, unless you are a parent, you are not only unlikely to have heard of it, there is no reason for you to go and look it up. It is a rhyme that is meant to educate toddlers about the fingers on our hands, sung in a sing-song cadence, and is nothing out of the ordinary.
Madame claimed, not entirely unreasonably, that she had outgrown this song years ago – she just turned six.
A happy compromise was reached: I now put her to sleep by singing Bachelor Boy, by Cliff Richards. Mumma still comfortably leads the Put The Monkey To Sleep Tonight leaderboard, but I am at least recording a faster growth rate than our nation’s economy. Not much, I know, but I’ll take what I can get.
So where, you may ask, is the fooling my daughter bit coming from?
My wife takes about ten minutes to put her to sleep, start to finish. I, on the other hand, take fifteen.
And that is because after she has fallen asleep after two rather out of tune renditions of Bachelor Boy, I wait for a while. I make sure she is fast asleep, and beyond caring. And then, while she is newly fast asleep in my arms, I sing (very softly indeed) “Daddy Finger, Daddy Finger”
I then kiss her on the forehead, whisper “Too old, my foot”, and then make my way out.
So yes, on the charge of fooling my daughter every chance I get, I plead guilty.
And will continue to do so for years to come.
Too old, my foot.
He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
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