Four Lessons from Four Years of Raising a Daughter

May 9, 2017

Today my oldest daughter, the darling Ballerina, turns four. I’ve learned

a lot in four years of raising a daughter. Though certainly not limited to this number, here are four things I’ve learned in those four years.




Anything can cause an emotional meltdown. This is true of all small humans, but as they grow it is especially true of the female gender. At her party I comforted a crying ballerina because when we cut her birthday cake we didn’t give her the piece with Sheriff Callie on it. She did not actually voice the desire for this piece until after the fact, but that is beside the point. Also, last night she freaked out because today was her birthday. She did not stop until we agreed to let today be her brother’s birthday as well. He’s angling for more presents so he thinks this is a good idea, but he doesn’t want us to tell anyone at school. Apparently having a second birthday would hurt his street cred in kindergarten.



In the book, A Different Drummer: My Thirty Years with Ronald Reagan, by Michael K. Deaver tells this great story. “I’ll never forget the day I told Ronald Reagan that Carolyn was going to have a baby. ‘Pray for a girl,’ he said. ‘What about Ron?’ I asked, referring to his son, who was still living at home at the time. ‘Oh, I love Ron,’ he said, ‘but having a little girl is like seeing your wife grow up all over again.’”* This is absolutely 100% true. My daughter has a lot of me in her, far too much at times, but there are certainly moments that I can’t help but think that I am dealing with the miniature blonde version of my lovely bride.



At least in my experience having a daughter has meant that I have to be ready to dance any time, to any song. I’ve done a sauté (not a food dish)**, and enough lifts to qualify as an arm workout. That doesn’t include every time we’ve done a Hot Dog Dance at the end of an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, or just had a family dance off when I educate my children about what good music used to be like.



Boys and girls are different to be sure, but I don’t buy the whole “girls are hard, boys are easy” narrative. Having said that the one thing about having a girl that is difficult, at least for me, is figuring out her closet. Aside from tops and bottoms I have absolutely no idea what is what, and what goes with what. And I probably won’t anytime soon.




* Deaver, Michael K. A Different Drummer: My Thirty Years with Ronald Reagan. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.


**My wife and I disagree as to whether this is the correct term or not. I looked it up, but she refuses to admit that she is wrong. I found it on the internet so it must be true. Bonjour!

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