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Intricacies of bathing my daughter

With JUSTUS Njoroge

When I was growing up, I don’t remember my dad bathing me or feeding me. Probably I was too young to notice or probably it did not happen. That role of bathing and feeding a child was solely for the mother. It was unimaginable that a father could contemplate changing a baby’s nappy (there were no diapers then), feed the baby or sooth the baby to sleep.

Usually the father would call out the mother to come and pick the crying baby. Statement such as “Come and pick up the baby as he is crying, probably he is wet or hungry,” were quite common among many fathers of that time. I guess even those who would have wanted to help, were quite clueless where to start. Times have now changed.

This means one thing – that at one time, as the father you will be left home alone with the children. And although the house help would assist in handling most of the chores, that would ordinarily be handled by the mother, a great daddy would want to do a couple of things for his children. It could be feeding the baby, changing diapers, playing with the children and even washing the baby. But what happens when you have a daughter? When she was much younger, it was not a big issue.

But as she grew older I started wondering at what point do I say, you need to bathe yourself or it’s not right for me to see her naked. Soon she started proposing to bathe herself when she was about four or five years old. I took the cue that it was time for me to back up and I asked her mum to take over. This didn’t affect our strong bond that we had developed when she was younger, but I guess because of the respect I showed, not just getting into her room when she is changing without asking for her permission, made it easier for her to reciprocate the same and not burst into our bedroom unannounced.

When she complained of any pain or discomfort in her private parts, I would ask her mother to check her up. The same applied to our son where I checked on him. If you are a single parent, then that’s whole ball game together and being both father and mother is no small task.

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