The challenge of being a dad really increases when your only daughter turns ten years old. This happened to me many years ago, but it could be very relevant to you right now.
We had four boys, and then my wife got her wish and daddy got his dream. The stork brought a beautiful bouncing baby daughter. She had red hair and a mind of her own, and perhaps at times she was just a little bit spoilt.
Joy of My Heart
My daughter did not do dancing lessons, but she did have singing lessons. Her first solo album comes out soon. See the info in the postscript. Shall I say I have an inkling of how Clare Ryan’s dad feels in the below video:
Dad & Daughter Duet – 4-Year-Old Claire Ryan & Dad
The words of Garrison Keillor come to mind:
“The father of a daughter is nothing but a high-class hostage. A father turns a stony face to his sons, berates them, shakes his antlers, paws the ground, snorts, runs them off into the underbrush, but when his daughter puts her arm over his shoulder and says, ‘Daddy, I need to ask you something,’ he is a pat of butter in a hot frying pan.”
Every daughter must turn ten years of age, and sure enough, this happened to my princess. One day my darling daughter said to me, “Dad, for my birthday party, can we have a sleepover?”
With a hunch of what might happen, I replied, “But can we call it a wake-over instead?”
“You can call it anything you want to Dad, but can I have it?” she asked assertively.
How can any dad say no to his ten-year-old daughter? He had better start practising soon, or he will never get the hang of it. ‘No’ is a hard word to pronounce to the youngest girl in an otherwise all-boy family.
Of course, the visiting girls all charged in for this sleepover and demanded food and entertainment. They sure seemed to know what they wanted. I thought I was the boss, but obviously, I was having delusions of grandeur.
Getting towards bedtime, I was commanded by my wife to get the mattresses down. This proved to be a serious mistake, because it took only seconds before the girls decided to use our internal steps as a giant mattress slide.
Unfortunately, my favourite mother and baby carved wooden elephants live at the bottom of those stairs. These were the same elephants that I had carefully carried in my backpack home to Australia from Africa. That same mother elephant now had a broken tusk.
I hit the roof! “Girls, don’t you realise my elephant needs its tusks to eat?” There didn’t seem to be any comprehension of this enormous tragedy amongst my daughter’s friends.
The noisy, riotous behaviour continued on until the small hours of the morning. It was 3 am before the last girl went to sleep. ‘Wake-over’ was definitely the appropriate term.
Ten-year-old girls have gallons of energy. They leave boys in the shade. The next morning really proved that, when I was foolish enough to agree to help them make the water bombs for their water fight in the backyard.
Who do you think got the wettest? Yours truly was still trying to get the water out of the glass of his ‘waterproof watch’ a week later. This was after the ‘daddy monster’ had been attacked unmercifully and beaten into submission by a large number of athletic ten-year-olds.
What have I learned from this experience?
Firstly, never expect to get a good night’s sleep when your daughter has a sleepover. Sleepover is a politically correct term for staying awake all night long.
Secondly, take your watch off before making water bombs for your daughter’s friends at her birthday party.
Thirdly, girls may be made of sugar and spice and all things nice, but they can bash the living daylights out of any ‘daddy monster’ that ever dares to don a sheet.
Fourthly, always put your elephant to bed before your daughter’s sleepover party.
Practice making speeches to your children such as, “I don’t really need that watch” or, “The elephant looks better with short/no tusks”. After all, life is too short to be sad about elephant tusks and waterlogged watches.
Yours for fun at all costs,
As Emily Giffen said,
“A son is a son ’til he gets a wife, but a daughter is a daughter all her life.”