So, I’ve been with TRMan since NYE now. We have gone from strength to strength, made future plans & him and Shy have got a great bond. If you don’t know the story, read it here. He’s the main male role model in her life although she does have extended male family (Uncles, Grandad, God Fathers etc).
In a conversation we were having the other day as I had been dealing with a few issues over the last few weeks, we discussed the matter of the role of “Father” I guess. In essence, TRMan is my daughters father. He provides for us, looks after us and treats her like his own. He helps me with her, we go out as a family, we make plans for the future as a family – there is never any question of “does that include Shy”, it is a given. If I ever ask “even Shy?” I just get a look like to say “don’t offend me… she’s as much mine as she is yours”. So I no longer ask as I now know the deal.
So anywho, TRMan said if Shy was to start calling him Dad now for whatever reason then he would be fine with it which makes sense to me as they have that bond anyways BUT we have decided that as she doesn’t already know the word (she has had no reason to) we aren’t going to teach it to her. We both feel that for now, there is no need until she is at an age where she can understand and make a decision by herself or if it is unavoidable.
Obviously, as we have discussed more children, I guessed that when I am pregnant or there is a new baby, she will hear him being called “Daddy” and may decide she wants to be part of that and start to call him Daddy too. Which we are both fine with.
But there are obviously a few issues I’m unsure of how to deal with. One, I know some people would not agree with the decision to let her call him Dad BUT Shy has never known TBF ever so she has no association with the word and would not be replacing anyone in her mind with the title – it would just be a name for the guy who she pretty much recognises as her other parent. Secondly, I want her to be clear as soon as possible that he isn’t her biological father but have no idea how you explain that to a toddler. And lastly, the matter of TBF making an appearance – whatever age Shy may be, if she is calling TRMan her Dad and TBF turns up how does one go about keeping the confusion minimal (although I guess by point 2 she would be aware that TRMan isn’t TBF so if he did appear it would be a bit easier to explain).
It is a crazy situation, with many possibilities and questions I have no answer to. I only have two examples of similar situations that don’t help: my older (half) sister calls my Dad her dad because he raised her although she has contact with her biological father and calls him dad also – So maybe I should ask her. Example 2, I know someone who’s child calls their partner Dad and has done for a while now, even though they did bond with their biological father kind of in their first year… So now the biological father is pissed off and left out whilst the partner is Dad.
Now if TBF wanted to be in Shys life and was reliable and stable, I wouldn’t be able to say “no, she has a father bla bla bla you wasn’t there bla bla bla” as I don’t think I have that right – if Shy grew up and decided she didn’t want to know him of her own accord that is something else. But I would obviously need to discuss it with TRMan and find a way to make it work for everyone.
So. This is where we are at. The situation as it stands. The predicament I feel I am in. Shy doesn’t need to know TRMan by the name Father but will get to an age where she notices that other children have Fathers. Do we let her have that assurance from now or do we wait and see how she handles it? Does the title Father make a difference or is the fact TRMan is in her life as that role good enough? How would you explain the situation as simply as possible to a toddler? What would you do?