When I sense that my four year-old is feeling left out, jealous that the baby is getting most of my attention, we have a conversation which I hope reminds her how important she is.
"What was I before I met you, honey?"
"You were just a guy."
"That's right. And what did you make me?"
"I made you a daddy, daddy."
"Yes you did, sweetie. Thank you."
Just a guy, indeed. And, of course, I still am, though it will probably be about 15 years before my daughter understands that. She made a new friend in preschool. She doesn't know her name, though. She says she has asked her a couple times, but the girl is too quiet, and so, for now, she is "The Yellow-Haired Girl." My daughter wants to play with The Yellow-Haired Girl outside of school sometime. Yesterday she asked me, "Daddy, do you think the Yellow-Haired Girl would sleep in my bed?" And here entered the guy in daddy. I thought to myself:
"I was about 10 years older than you the first time I wondered that. But I have spent a lot of time since wondering the same thing. And the truth is, I don't know. I've never been very good at getting women with any colored hair into my bed."
Here is what I said, which pleased me enough:
"I don't know, honey. I don't know what kind of girl she is. Usually, though, you would have a play date or something first, before you had a sleepover."