This morning on the car ride to daycare, Jack had a big sneeze: “Dada? Nose.”
Unfortunately, I didn’t have any Kleenex in the car or even a blanket for him to wipe his nose off with. About 12 minutes later, we had arrived at KinderCare.
We got there earlier than normal, so I was able to sneak him in the front nursery room where no one else was yet and take my time carefully cleaning his face.
I was concentrating so hard to get Jack clean, when all of the sudden, I… well,it just came out of nowhere!
“Dada did it!” Jack loudly proclaimed with a straight face.
Fortunately no one else was around to hear it; but if they were, Jack wanted to make it clear that “Dada did it!” and not Jack.
I’m just glad that embarrassing story gets to stay between father and son. It’ll be our little secret.
Gone are the days when Jack was unaware of anything bathroom-related. Now, he feels it’s his job, in the likeness of a herald, to announce to the general public what should be private.
Let’s just say that if you come to our house and go upstairs to use the restroom, Jack will announce to everyone in the living room:
“[Insert your name here] potty.”
He hears the subtle flush and knows that’s his cue. Same thing with showers.
So if you use the potty, shower, or accidentally pass gas, Jack will announce it for everyone to hear. He’s on Potty Patrol!
For the past several weeks now, he has been practicing using his toddler potty before bath time. He’s actually only gone twice out of dozens of attempts, but it’s not for a lack of trying.
As I sit in front of him, watching my naked son try to make some magic happen on the potty, I think, “He should be weirded out by me being right here.”
Instead, he appreciates the moral support.
But what’s funny is he always pulls up the bathroom rug to cover his feet while he tries. I don’t think his feet are cold, the bathroom rug just serves as a sort of good luck charm.
Last night, he was doing his normal potty ritual while my wife and I watched and rooted him on.
Without any prompting, he covered his nipples with his fingers, waddled his arms like he had chicken wings, and made a weird barking sound.
My wife immediately asked him, “What are you doing, Jack?”
His eagerly replied with a scrunched up nose and a tone of celebration in his voice:
That was by far the most absurd and most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen or heard my son do. Ever.
I’ll never know how an unsolicited impression of a barking, wing-flapping, nipple-censored snake shows up in the midst of watching your parents watch you try to use the potty; which for the record, remained empty after the snake impression.
I would say what happens in the bathroom, stays in the bathroom.
But then again, I’ve got a toddler who is on Potty Patrol.
In this economy, it’s no secret that you should make yourself more valuable by learning new skills. The idea is to make yourself the go-to person for certain exclusive things.
I translate this same concept to the home life.
As the dad, one of my main exclusive roles is putting our son to sleep for all his naps and bedtimes. Without me, bedtime is not a simple event. It’s a long, drawn-out, nerve-racking experience.
Another thing I’m exclusively good at is transporting our son to and from daycare, being the mediator between his daycare teachers and my wife, and challenging our son both physically and kinetically during playtime.
While my wife and I share many duties, it’s really important to me that I do certain exclusive things.
This Christmas, I am planning on buying a foldable extendable ladder and a drill set. I want to increase my handyman skill set ASAP.
But wait, there’s more…
As the title infers, I also want an iron and an ironing board. Here’s my masculine reason why:
For my day job, where I am basically the Employee Relations Specialist, I assume the role of HR in the office. In other words, it’s very important that I present myself as very professional… above reproach.
I’ve always been the guy to wear ties and jackets to work anyway, even though I’m pretty much the only one who does. But now I feel that’s not good enough, in my own mind.
That’s because my clothes are a little on the wrinkled side.
I could easily convert a few of my “Sloppy Saturday” shirts, like the one I’m wearing in these pictures where I was made into a “Mummy” at my son’s daycare Open House over the weekend, into “Tidy Tuesday” shirts if they were simply ironed.
That’s not to put down by wife in any way. I can vouch for the fact that with all she does for our family, she definitely doesn’t have the time to iron, too.
Regardless, we don’t own an iron and an ironing board.
Even if we did, I want this job. I want ironing to be my thing in our household.
Call me a classic 1950′s American man, but I think men ought to care enough about their appearance not to represent themselves as slobs. There should be no shame in taking extra time to look handsome.
I’m thinking right now of those Men’s Wearhouse commercials: “You’re gonna like the way you look.”
As a non-metrosexual, I want to be like a former military guy who takes pride in his appearance enough to still iron his clothes like he had to when he was in the service.
Yes, I think it will be pretty cool to not only iron my own clothes for work, but to iron my wife’s clothes, and eventually, our son’s.
It’s pretty masculine if you ask me. I’m not turning into a “Mummy.” Instead, I’m manning up… once I get my iron and ironing board, that is.
It turns out that several people who read both Part 1 and Part 2 of “Oh Wait, Are We Helicopter Parents?” a few weeks ago had to ask me what a helicopter parent even is.
Basically, it refers to any parent who “hovers over” their child to the point they could be considered to be practicing attachment parenting.
The stereotype would be a parent who when dropping off their child at daycare, creates anxiety in their child by lingering around too long, instead of properly saying goodbye and giving their child confidence they will be okay for the day without their parent there the whole time.
I realize now, I’m definitely not a helicopter parent.
It’s more about risk management and being my son’s bodyguard, necessarily.
When I think of a helicopter parent, I think of someone who freaks out when their child darts away in the middle of a park.
My preconceived idea is that the parent sets such tight parameters on that child that he or she doesn’t know how to act when they are presented with a window of freedom.
I would like to think of myself as the kind of parent who encourages my child to be independent. I want my son to want to explore his world, but yet at the same time have a concept of the real dangers that exist out there.
While we were at the pumpkin patch a couple of weekends ago, my son Jack was excited when he saw the pick “potato sack slide.”
But as we climbed up the stairs and he saw how far down his Mommy was, he began to get scared and started to cry.
Needless to say, we went down the slide together, despite his reservations.
For me, it was a symbolic of how as a parent, I’m there to push him when he needs courage, to inspire him to try new adventures, and to remind him that while I may not being hovering over him, I’m still there keeping him just as safe.
Consciously attempting to give someone “I’m married” vibes is not something I am used to having to do.
After all, I have so forgettable of a face that even people who are “good with faces” have a hard time remembering meeting me the first time.
But a couple of months ago, there was I minding my own business at Starbucks during my lunch break, reading a book on how to read people, when a college-aged looking girl asked me to watch her laptop while she went to the restroom.
When she returned, with a deadpan delivery, I said something like, “Your laptop is still there, so I must have intimidated any potential laptop thieves.”
That was just my non-boring way of relieving my job duties now that she had returned. But maybe it sent a different message?
Barely a minute later, she dropped her pen, which happened to roll to my direction. So of course, I picked up it and handed it to her, barely even looking her in the eyes, as to make the favor as generic as possible.
Then she started asking questions, like if I was also a student. The thought of someone mistaking me for a 22 year-old caught me off guard. After all, when I turned 22, the year was 2003!
By this point, I knew officially that I needed to bring my left hand to my chin, as to flash my wedding ring to her like a Batman signal. To no avail.
The questions kept coming and she ended up asking me what I did for a living. Sure, I have a day job, but I felt it necessary to go ahead and cut straight to the chase:
“I write a daily blog column for a magazine’s website. It’s called Parents magazine.”
From there, I was able to throw in a “my wife and I” in conjunction to my son.
Whew. It was a relief to finally make that message clear: I’m married.
I was caught off-guard that day. I didn’t want to let the mystery continue for any longer than it needed to. At the same time though, I didn’t want to be rude to the nice and seemingly innocent girl.
It’s a delicate balance of being both direct and subtle in a case like this.
Personally, I don’t expect this to happen again anytime soon. Who knows? Maybe when I’m 42, someone will think I’m 31.
And if that’s the case, I’ll do the classic “left hand to the chin” move, followed by a “my wife and I.”
If that doesn’t work, I think I’ll just pick up my phone and casually give my wife a call right then and there.
Being flattered by a curious stranger who thinks I’m single; well, it does me no good.
There’s nothing good that can come out of me allowing myself to think for a second, “Man, I still got it. This chick digs me.”
That’s one of the many reasons I wear my wedding ring; especially when my wife and son aren’t around.
It’s an instant reminder, as if I needed it, that I already have a beautiful girl who digs me, and I’ve been married to her for over 4 years.
These days, it’s not always enough to give “I’m married” vibes.
Sometimes you have to give the “I’m happily married” vibes instead.