My daughter is a daddy’s girl. She is extremely keen on him. Her ears are tuned to the clank of his bike against the front window when he gets home from work and she rushes to wave at him, beaming and hopping about, she whoops for joy when it’s his turn to put her to bed, she won’t even allow him to be alone when he’s in the toilet. She stand outside the door talking, encouraging him on and asking if he’s nearly finished.
A few days ago we were eating breakfast and A was drawing. At the moment she draws the family a lot, daddy, mummy, herself and baby. Maybe a rainbow or some clouds and birds. Familiar childhood themes. A typical 4-year-old’s world. She’s making sense of things. I ask her who the people are in the picture.
She says. “When I am a grown up can I also have two babies?”
“I don’t know” I say “maybe, but first you need to grow up”
“yes, first I’m going to be a child, then a bit bigger child, then a bit bigger child, then a teenager” she giggles, the idea of one day being a teenager always makes her smile. “then I have to choose someone to be the daddy and then I can get a baby in my tummy”
She seems to have got it all worked out…”well” I say “you can be a grown up first, maybe for quite a long time, you might not just go straight from teenager to mummy”
“Yes of course” she laughs
“Where is your daddy?” she asks P
“I don’t know” he says brightly
P has never known his father. He left when P was about 4 and never stayed in touch. A knows that her daddy doesn’t have a daddy.
“But where did he go?”
“We don’t know where he went” P answers
This is a line of questioning that crops up now and again.
“Why did he go away?”
“Maybe he didn’t like it in Nederland. It’s always raining and cold, maybe he wanted to go back to his home.”
“You know that daddy’s daddy came from Croatia?” I say. “That’s quite far away. It’s a different country and it’s sunny there”
“But your daddy’s always going to stay with you. He won’t go away”
“Nooo” she says and she gets down and crosses around to the other side of the table to give her daddy a hug.