My daughter Marianna is an absolutely terrible child, she’s quiet, she sleeps through the night from about 7:30 through til 9:00 in the morning and she hates touching anything messy. She has an amazing vocabulary knowing over 300 words already (at the age of 21 months). She’s also wise beyond her years, in as much as she doesn’t talk to strangers. So when her speech and language development was assessed at 18 months, even though she could talk, she refused to, infuriatingly even saying goodbye the moment we closed the door on the health visitor.
Because of this I now have to take her to Talking Tots every Tuesday, where she goes to play with other children who don’t talk, while being watched by strangers. I really don’t see how she benefits from this, her speech is fine and is probably somewhat advanced for her age (having only one child, and not wanting to have more, I have no idea whats normal).
I have found, as Marianna’s primary care giver, that I do seem to be discriminated against, health visitors and doctors will address questions and queries to her mother, even though she is with me the majority of the time. An example that sticks in my mind is not long after Marianna was born a midwife was shocked that her mother was going back to work after three months, and that I would be looking after the baby while working from home, stating without irony that “dads can attend any mother and baby group.” Even now though no matter where I take Marianna for an appointment invariably the first words out of whoever’s mouth will be asking the location of the mother.
Maybe I’m being oversensitive, but equality goes both way. I’m just as capable as any woman at parenting, I can put together outfits that are both functional and cute as hell, I can go on the play dates and clean porridge out of my hair. I thought men were supposed to be taking more of an active role in their child’s development, but god help you if your going to try for a leading role.