My friend has a 9-year-old stepdaughter. (The “step” is utterly irrelevant to either of them, but important here, because it indicates that 1) he is not her only paternal figure, and 2) they have not known each other her entire life.) She’s an adorable blonde moppet, smart as a whip and cute as all get-out — and she uses both to ruthless advantage.
Recently, my friend told me that out of the blue she made the following pronouncement:
“Dad, when I get my period, I want to use pads. Tampons sound too uncomfortable.”
To his credit, he handled this with amazing aplomb, dignity, and tact. (I believe ice cream was employed as a diversionary tactic.) He answered her calmly and reasonably and respectfully (once he finished scraping his brains off the inside of his skull), then took her for ice cream.
(I find myself suspecting she was after the ice cream all along, and knew that this would work.)
But it’s little stories like that that make me so damned relieved that he’s the one with the daughter, and reaffirm my decision to not have children of my own. There is absolutely no way I could have handled that without being reduced to even more of a gibbering idiot than I normally am.