Thanks. We were watching Little Bear the other day and there was a scene where one of Little Bear's friends briefly convinced him that sometimes Little Bear's father turned into a monster. My Ari, making the connection that if Little Bear's daddy could indeed become someone scary, then maybe it was possible that her daddy could also do the same. She turned to me and looked for reassurance that I "never turn into a monster, right?"
Of course, this was on my second consecutive day off from work and my scruffy face didn't help my case as I told her in my softest and most loving voice that I would "never, ever be anything other than her daddy who loves her so much." I hadn't shaved in a couple of days and I'm sure I was a bit haggard looking as well. She seemed cool with me, but I noticed that she kept her distance all the same. At the innocent age of three, she was now watching the rest of the episode with her hands over her eyes. I thought I was a bad enough dad for introducing her older brother to Star Wars at a young age. But heck, I'm not supposed to worry about Noggin, am I? Anyway, our day continued and we got back to goofing around and playing together. The moment was behind us.
However, last night she awoke crying in her bed. I came to her room to soothe her cries and get her back to sleep as I usually do when she wakes up in the middle of the night. She always falls right back to sleep with her head on my shoulder and is back in her bed within minutes. Nothing doing this time. I held her and while she didn't pull away, she just kept crying and crying, not answering me when I asked her what was wrong. I was baffled.
Then her mom came into the room. I handed our daughter to her in hopes that a softer and different shoulder would do the trick. It did the trick immediately. She nuzzled up to my wife and drifted back to sleep just like that. I'm not saying it was necessarily the monster stuff going on in her head, but I do wonder. I suggested that theory to my wife and we laughed at my feigned hurt by my daughter's sudden skepticism toward me. Although, as I walked back to the living room alone, I could feel a very real sting in my heart. This is what it's like when a daughter needs someone other than Daddy for comfort. In fact, any family member BUT Daddy.
A moment to prepare me for her teenage years, maybe? Ugh. I'm not ready.