Proud girl dad

Like most men, Ethrin Zonicle says he would have wanted his first child to be a boy – simply because he has always had the mindset that if he or his wife Mikea weren’t around that their son would step up and take the lead and look after their girl child thereafter. And then there’s the fact that he wanted to pass on male characteristics that were passed on to him by his father, Eden.

The cards had it that Zonicle’s wife gave birth to a girl for their first child, then a girl for their second child, even though during their sophomore pregnancy they had been told by their doctor that they were having a boy, based on what he was seeing on the scans. Zonicle said he was happy with that. He was getting a son. When the official confirmation came, they were no longer having a boy child, but a second girl.

Zonicle, 34, is a proud girl dad to Eryn, six, and Emri, three, bucking the assumption that fathers can find satisfaction only in having sons.

“I obviously would have wanted a boy first just because I always had the mindset that in the event my wife or myself wasn’t around, the boy would take the lead and look after the girl thereafter. Also, as a male you would want to pass on similar male characteristics to your son – because I was able to get that from my father [Eden Zonicle]. But girls … they have their ways of cheering you up after a long day of work; when you plan something to go one way and it doesn’t happen. Then there’s the days you come home and you’re not in the best mood, my girls have their way of just coming and laying on me and cheering me up.”

And like the adage of old, Zonicle’s girls, especially his oldest are the epitome of sugar and spice and everything nice.

“My oldest – whenever I leave the house, she doesn’t let me leave without a kiss.”

He’s also loved the opportunity he has to watch his children grow from dependent babies into themselves with their own personalities over the years and coming into themselves.

Zonicle said he is still awed when he realized for the first time that he was having a conversation with his eldest child and she was speaking to him in complete sentences.

“I was just having a regular conversation with my wife, and she left, and I just started having a conversation with the oldest one, and she answered me and responded in complete sentences, so that was one of my greatest experiences, other than that the ongoing love they bring.”

His daughters also have their dad wrapped around their little fingers. But he said he’s at the point where he has to be super careful with his six-year-old as she is at the age where she is learning that she can take advantage, knowing that he’s the parent to go to when she wants things to go her way.

“My wife has zero patience – and with me they know they can get away with things. They know that when they want something … when they need that voice of reason – to come to daddy. When it’s time for bed, homework, or something they wouldn’t ordinarily want to do or get away with – they come to dad.”

He admits to essentially being the “sucker” parent.

Zonicle also readily owns up to the fact that if he had a son, he would parent his boy child differently than his daughter. He says he would be stern and strict, which he said is how he was raised.

“I would definitely be strict … stern because just looking at what’s going on in the country, and the demand for males to step up be leaders. There is really not much room for error in terms of bringing up a male in the right way. I would try to instill that sense of leadership.

“My father was from Cat Island and he was stern with me growing up. With me that’s all I had to use in terms of tools to grow up my kids, so when trying to use that with girls, I’ve learnt that it requires much more patience.”

Lessons his father taught him that he wants to impart to his children, no matter their gender, is the importance of time and just being aware of procrastination, and honesty.

If there is one thing he has noticed, it’s that girls look after their fathers, forever – which he said he has seen first-hand with his sister and their dad.

“Their relationship may be stronger than me and my dad, so I’m looking forward to days when my girls will look after me, if their mom is not here – and also grandkids, even though that’s obviously way down the line.”

The father of two’s advice to dads who like himself are surrounded by estrogen, is to remember to be patient. He said he remained patient as he came to realize how his girls expressed themselves through temper tantrums when they can’t get their own way. And that he had to learn when to apply the limit and bear with them, during those times.

Being there and present for their children is another important advice he said all dads should know.

“Whether it’s to read a story, or an extra story at bed time, when they’re asking for their favorite snack – be there and be present for them as much as possible, and show them as much love as possible, said Zonicle. “Forgo going out with the boys on a certain night just so you can be there, because they’re sponges and soak up everything.”

Zonicle’s girls are still young, and he knows he has the teenage years ahead of him, but he’s hoping they aren’t bad. Like most parents he said he will deal with them as they come.

Over the years has also learned that when it’s just daddy/daughter time that it’s best that he is prepared.

“Early on, if I have to be with them for an entire day by myself, nothing planned, I was a fish out of water. Everything had to be prepared for me. As the years go by, I have become more self-sufficient with things like [choosing] the right clothes, but my six-year-old sometimes wants to find her own clothes, and that’s good and bad, and she’s also helpful with the youngest one and finding clothes for her, so I’ve grown comfortable.”

As far as the hair thing is concerned, Zonicle said that has to be done for him at all times. “I never do the hair. I never even attempted to do the hair.”

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Shavaughn Moss

Shavaughn Moss joined The Nassau Guardian as a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor. Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics. Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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