Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"I Need Dad"

So his cries said.

I'm an attentive mother. You might not know it when you catch me taking a cat nap on the couch while my son dumps easter eggs all over the floor, but I know what he's doing all the time.

My attention to him has also earned me a degree in "Ethan Cry Translation". That cry means "Feed Me", this one screams "I'm mad at you", and others whine "I need a nap". I'm usually right on the first try when it comes to caring for cries.

And for the most part, I take care of them and suffice to fulfill his needs. Dad is around for play-time. Mommy is the "take care of me" parent.

Until that one night. Ethan has had nightmares before - I hear they get more frequent as they progress in the transportation stages (crawling and walking). Ethan is no stranger to falling. As a "bobble-head" as my sister calls him, his top-heaviness has earned him a crash out of his crib all the way to falling out of the bathtub (that one had me cracking up as he cried in my arms...I couldn't help it). He knows falling hurts, so I assume most of his nightmares have been about falling.

Normally, when he has one of these nightmares, he wakes up screaming - not a cry saying "Mommy I'm awake", but "Mommy I'm scared". Yes, I say mommy because I'm the one that answers and he's ok with it. But one night, his cry was totally different. It was still fear, but it was more - it was terror. I've never heard him cry like that before.

I went to get him and I held him and he clung to me and wouldn't stop screaming. For an hour, Ethan and I tried different things. From bottle to tylenol for pain relief. Nothing worked. He wouldn't stop for a second. He was still screaming like he was terrified when I put him in his bed and tried something different.

As one of those women who strongly believes men are the protectors of the home, I went and woke up my husband asking if he'd try something for me. I told him Ethan was scared and didn't want me and I thought maybe Daddy would be able to calm him down.

So, Hubby went into the room and picked up the screaming child and instantly, the cries stopped.

"Daddy is here. I'm safe." Not even 10 minutes in Daddy's arms and he went right back to sleep when we put him back in his crib. It was truly fascinating.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good story. Some years ago, my Son-in-law had to work in a state far away for a month. His little daughter fell apart. She couldn't sleep at night, a nervous wreck. Which meant her mom also couldn't sleep at night.

My daughter said she was exhausted, so we took the overnight bus from Mexico City to McAllen, rested one day and drove to Amarillo, getting there well after bedtime.

When I pulled into the driveway, I could hear clear outside the house, "PRAISE GOD!!!" from my daughter. Though tongue in cheek I must say it wasn't God who had parked in the driveway, heh, heh.

A former, still at that time only partly cured extremist feminist, she admitted she thought fathers only existed to help mommies. It had never occurred to her that a father was actually important to a small child.

Now she knows. And, so do you. Good job.

Even as a former fathers rights activist, I can't articulate exactly why fathers, even less then perfect fathers, are so important to kids, but I know it is true. Thank you for providing your lovely child with a father.

Anonymous age 68