Tackling the mysteries of raising a daughter

This will sound a tad weird, but I'm really starting to like my daughter. Don't get me wrong, I've always "liked" her, and loved her of course, but now I'm starting to really like her.

I get her, if you know what I mean . . . and if you're a regular reader, you will know what I mean by this.

We haven't always had the best relationship, mainly because of that predetermined preference for her mother, and it's been bit hard to wear her down. But I think we're past that awkward initial get-to-know-each-other stage and we're moving into uncharted, yet exciting, territory.

I'm starting to get what having a daughter actually means and it's not as scary as I thought but it's still a little frightening. Well, I say that now when she can't really talk and is refusing to walk, even though she can.

We've been spending a bit more time together and her charm is rubbing off. She's got these gray- blue pools for eyes, long eyelashes (she'll thank her dad for those one day), and an impish little smile that she seems to know, already, when to break out. And she loves to laugh, although it can take a bit to get her started.

I drew the unfortunate straw when it came to the 15-month vaccinations - the dreaded triple jab . . . both legs and an arm.

She cried, quite loudly of course, when she got jabbed but a lollipop soon sorted that out. She's also got a couple of molars coming through - opposite sides of the jaw of course - so she's been a bit grizzly in the evenings.

That usually means she wakes about 11pm and wants a cuddle. She's worked out the best place to wrap her body around my chest to maximise the snuggle opportunities. Smart girl that.

I'm still slightly perturbed about what it means to be the father of a daughter, to the point that this week I got some "raising daughters" advice books from the library.

Since I'm only going to get one chance at doing a good job on this daughter-raising malarkey, I'm going to do my best at getting it right. For all the cuddles I think I'm going to get, I reckon it's a fair swap.

* Mark Hotton is a fulltime journalist/fulltime dad and part-time snuggle consultant.

The Southland Times