Ava said her first word yesterday while we were on vacation in Hawaii. She locked eyes on Clayton and said, "Dadada."
Okay yes, I'm jealous that it wasn't Mama but if I'm honest about it, I am also a little surprised.
Dadada hasn't had her attached to his body 24/7 for the last 6 months. He didn't have to sleep with her on his chest for the first 2 months of her life. He doesn't nurse her. I'm not very good at pumping bottles so he doesn't even get up at night with her. Dadada? Where's the Mamama, Ava!?!?
It isn't that Clayton doesn't adore his baby girl but he wasn't quite as involved with her infancy as he was with our first child. I will admit that at first I thought that he might not really have wanted a girl or maybe was just playing favorites to Miles. After a few good talks, I realized that he felt much more capable with our 2 year-old son than he did with our tiny infant daughter. He was making an effort to contribute to the family by taking more responsibility with Miles so that Ava's needs could be tended to by me and "the boob," as he so eloquently puts it.
This was hard for me to understand at first and I asked other moms of two (and three) if they had experienced this. They all said that they had. But now Ava is 6 months old and starting to reach for her Daddy and charm the pants off of him with her megawatt smile. She can laugh and sit and grab and now she says his name! Dadada! She's said it three times already.
Mamama better be close behind!
Jealousy aside, I made it a point to tell Clayton that even though she has been physically attached to me for the first few months of her life, she has been mentally attaching to him from afar all of this time. Dadada! She said his name, not mine. She's been his secret admirer while he barely even knew it.
I share this to encourage second time daddies. It will inevitably feel tough to add value when baby #2 comes along because they need Mommy so much. Daddies may gravitate to the child they are familiar with but here is a friendly reminder that #2 needs Daddy too, even if it is less obvious. While the daddies are chasing around first (or second child), the little babies are watching them. Loving them.
So Ava's first word, well...It may not be fair but it is very sweet.