Our first child is a girl, Ninah, and she is almost one year old. I have to admit when we found out she was coming I was a little dissappointed; I think every man wants a "little man" around the house that he can teach to play baseball, play army men, etc. Before Ninah was born, a good friend who has a daughter himself told me, "Having a girl will make a man of you." I wasn't sure what he meant, but he is rarely wrong.
The day she came into our world, I think it hit me why a little girl will make you a better man. What us guys are missing, which is also why we love women so much, are traits that are inherent in females. They love with their hearts, not their minds; are more sensitive towards others; tender-hearted and so many other things that I lack. Being raised by a single mother helped me understand women a bit. Getting married and being with my woman 24/7 (we didn't move in together until after marriage, old school style baby!) certainly helped me be more sensitive, but having a little woman to take care of takes the cake!
Every thing I do must be done gently so that she grows up to be a little lady. I am quicker with words to correct her and slower to anger. It has made me softer, more gentle and I think Ninah's little brother who is coming soon will benefit from Daddy having a girl first. I will never know of course, but I think it would be less likely that I would learn these things from a little baby boy. We males have a tendency to assume that making their boys "tough" means being harsh, more rough. What I have discovered through my little baby girl is that the key to raising a child who is ready for the world (remember that group? "Oh Sheila...") is one thing: Confidence. They have to be confident in themselves. Trying to make them "not sissies" by being rough and discouraging behaviors we may think are not manly, like hugging and kissing and being emotional only causes them to miss out on the love and affection they are hard wired to crave from their parents, daddy included.
When kids enter the world missing the affection and love of their fathers they do their darndest to replace that love with sex, drugs, food, and any other thing that gratifies, if only temporarily. Most fathers would not see themselves as nurturers, and indeed it does not come as easily to us as women, but we must try.
So my little boy is getting lots of love and hugs and kisses from me, followed by toy trucks, plastic guns, and little army men.