I Want To Help You Daddy

James Proclaims (4)

The other day I was giving Little Proclaims a bath. I say ‘giving her a bath’, but these days my main function is to get the water to the right temperature and then hover in the background while she plays with her plastic ducks. It’s certainly not an unpleasant part of the evening but I often find myself drifting off into a reverie until the moment when my daughter decides she has had enough of bath time and wants to ‘see Mummy’. I then evacuate her from the tub, dry her off, and send her off to ‘see Mummy’ who is responsible for the next part of, what is quite an extended, bedtime routine.

Anyway I was particularly lost in one such reverie, and feeling slightly maudlin. This might be due to the never-ending pandemic, but it was also a little bit of me feeling sorry for myself about where I am in life. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty to be grateful for, not least my wife and child. I also have a stable and solid career, a roof over my head and a car which, though decidedly uncool and far too beige, is pretty reliable. But I don’t love my job, it’s purely a thing I do to pay the bills and while I have enough money to get by, the few days before pay day can be pretty nerve-wracking affairs each month. I like to believe I’m reasonably good at what I do but I probably have plateaued a bit career wise. It’s all fine and I know I’m lucky to have a job at all in these troubled times, let alone one that allows me to pay all my bills in a timely fashion but sometimes I wonder if perhaps there might just be a bit more to life.

Of course it’s all bit ‘first-world’ problemish and I shake it off pretty quickly and remember that I have beer in the fridge and batman slippers and a website that enjoys tens of visitors on a daily basis. So life could be much worse. But these moments of self-doubt do occur when I’m left with my own thoughts for too long. And as I was pondering life’s great injustices at bath time the other night, I caught my daughter’s eye. She looked at me and, with genuine sincerity, she said “I want to help you daddy.”

And I was moved. That my little girl, my baby daughter, could have so much insight at such a tender age. But there she was, looking into my very soul and telling me that she wanted to make things better. And I wanted to rush over and pick her up and hug her and tell her that no, she doesn’t need to help me, that her very existence is enough to make me forget the perfunctory problems of everyday life and remind me that I am, quite probably, the luckiest human alive. And that it’s my job to love and support her through life’s challenges and not the other way around.

But as I wiped the tears from my eyes and struggled to contain the wave of emotions engulfing me, I remembered something.

My daughter is two.

She can speak, of course, and indeed is quite precocious in many ways. But she does sometimes get her words jumbled up. And often she says the opposite of what she means. For example she regularly informs me that she is going to change my nappy. Which, I can assure you, has not been necessary for a number of years.

And so, as she sat there in the bath, holding a plastic duck that had spilt into two parts, she was not, in fact, telling me that she wanted to help me, but that she wanted me to help her. To fix her duck.

So I gave her a kiss and fixed her duck.

  26 comments for “I Want To Help You Daddy

  1. February 10, 2021 at 5:22 am

    From the mixed-up mouths of babes! Don’t analyse it, accept it as is.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. February 10, 2021 at 5:32 am

    You, sir, are a good dad.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. February 10, 2021 at 6:51 am

    awww

    Liked by 1 person

  4. February 10, 2021 at 8:15 am

    You reminded me of a time when I asked my daughter to help to choose where to go on holiday. “That’s your job daddy”, she said.
    I replied, “then what is your job?”
    “To enjoy it”, she replied.
    And there you have it….. as a father, one job you love, and another one that pays the bills.

    Liked by 4 people

    • February 10, 2021 at 1:58 pm

      That seems like an accurate assessment

      Like

  5. February 10, 2021 at 8:58 am

    The best job!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. February 10, 2021 at 2:26 pm

    I think I have something in my eye!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. February 10, 2021 at 2:51 pm

    So adorable. And you are a great story-teller. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 10, 2021 at 3:16 pm

      What a lovely comment. Thank you!

      Like

  8. February 11, 2021 at 3:08 am

    Maybe someday she will fix your batman slippers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 21, 2021 at 4:42 pm

      She has tried to ‘improve’ them numerous times

      Liked by 1 person

  9. February 11, 2021 at 2:44 pm

    This is a lovely story and I love the way you write. Teaching is really hard, but I hate to think you don’t love it because I’ll expect you’re terrific in the classroom, and because of your sense of humour, I’ll bet the kids love you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 11, 2021 at 3:02 pm

      Lots of reasons I don’t love it but none of those reasons are the kids.

      Liked by 1 person

      • February 11, 2021 at 3:25 pm

        Administration is usually what kills the job for lots of teachers. I’m glad it isn’t the kids for you. The big chunks generally float to the top. (Crude but true)

        Liked by 1 person

      • February 11, 2021 at 5:45 pm

        Definitely true

        Liked by 1 person

  10. February 11, 2021 at 7:15 pm

    This is a great story and a very precious ending. I am choked up as I look at my own daughter Bless you Dad

    Laughing is fun Try It soon

    Liked by 1 person

  11. February 14, 2021 at 3:21 pm

    I think, regardless of what she meant, the way you interpreted it says a lot about your relationship, and that she really does help you in so many ways, as I’m sure you help her by role modeling excellent, loving parenting:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 21, 2021 at 4:43 pm

      In the end I think she helps me far more than I could ever help her

      Liked by 1 person

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