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The Father Factor

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Not Good or Bad...Just Different

Posted by Fatherhood Admin

Over the holiday, I had the opportunity to visit good friends of mine, Allen and Becky, and meet Zeke, their happy, pudgy four month-old baby who has a shock of beautiful dark hair and eyes as large as saucers.

After sufficient cooing and cuddling (Oh, who am I kidding? It was excessive cooing and cuddling.), Becky settled Zeke into his ExerSaucer, a colorful bouncy-chair flanked on all sides by plastic toys, whirl-a-gigs, noise makers, mirrors - everything a four month-old needs to amuse himself for a few minutes - so we could eat a few bites of dinner.

"It's interesting," she observed as she settled him in, "this chair has pieces you can extend from the bottom to keep it from moving around as much. I always put them down, but Allen rarely does. It took me a while to realize that's okay - it's okay if Zeke moves around a little bit."

That didn't surprise me. Dads interact with their children in a different way than moms. While moms hold babies close and cuddle them, fathers tickle their kids, approaching them from every angle. Dads lift their babies into the air - prompting giggles of delight from their children and gasps of fear from their wives.

Research actually shows that kids need this unique interaction - when dads play and tickle and toss, they're actually enhancing their child's cognitive development.

So many times dads get sidelined in the beginning because they aren't taking care of the baby the "right" way. Yes, there are only so many ways to change a diaper, but just because dads do things differently, that doesn't mean it's wrong.

Topics: fatherhood, new dads, father involvement, moms

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