Sunday, October 7th, 2012
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.
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Wednesday, April 4th, 2012
While we parents are proud to share our kids with the world, we are just as eager to keep certain aspects of our children to ourselves.
The way I see it, both my wife and I are introvert/extrovert hybrids. We are both very social people; we get bummed out if we’re not interacting with other human life on a daily basis; with our son thrown in the mix.
On the other hand, we also get bummed out if we don’t have enough time together as a family; just the three of us.
The parent paradox: We love for others to be able to know our son; we also love to be able to know our son with no one else around.
We share him; we keep him all to ourselves. There are certain subconscious boundaries that we as a family unit of three abide by. If nothing else, we highly guard our quality time together.
Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out what these unwritten rules are in regards to the boundaries of privacy we have, by default. Maybe it’s possible we don’t socialize with other fellow parents enough because we are so overly aware of our family’s cultural need for quality time.
Maybe I should do a better job of being a more outgoing dad; getting involved in cool networks of dads out there. But ultimately, I’m wired to see even that as a threat to time with my family.
With as little quality time I have left at the end of each work day, I hate the thought of just giving my wife and son my emotional leftovers.
My focus on privacy is obvious to me in another way, too. A few people have expressed to me that they couldn’t do what I do: Write a near daily blog post sharing personal stories including my son’s actual name and pictures of him.
But I don’t feel like I’m selling my soul or my son, because I am carefully choosing what I allow to be publicly seen.
So what am I hiding? Well, notice how I don’t make a habit of “venting” when I am facing a new challenge as a parent. From the personal journey that led me to choose the “cry it out”method, to all the life-experiences from which I wrote my Dadvice series, I wait until after I learn the necessary life lesson before I will write about it.
I sleep better at night being able to view my life as a parent not as a chaotic mess, but as organized chaos. One way I can organize the chaos is by knowing when to hold up the “private” card.
Whether it’s regarding quality time with your family, the content you share about your family on Facebook, or even the pictures you do or do not display on your desk at work, the importance of privacy is in there somewhere.
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Thursday, October 13th, 2011
In my son’s eyes, I am the coolest person in the room; except for when my wife is there too. All she has to do is pick him up and he’ll be happy. If I pick him up, he cries for her.
It’s totally a double standard. My son is putting me in a difficult and unfair situation. Doesn’t he realize he isn’t being logical?
After many frustrating weeks of me trying to appease my son while my wife would be trying to cook dinner, I finally got it: Get out!
Get out of the room with him and distract him his toy bucket upstairs. Or take a walk outside and watch him get fascinated by every car that whooshes by.
I wanted to believe that I could make him just as happy as my wife could just by my presence. What was I thinking? I don’t have that ability- I have too much testosterone seeping out of my pores to subconsciously comfort my son the way my wife can.
Instead, I simply must engage him with some good ole distraction techniques. One of my favorite methods is to sit him down on the carpet and play with one of his favorite toys in front of him. He can’t make it longer than two seconds before he just has to play with that exact toy at that exact moment.
Another thing I do is to crawl away from him and hide behind the other side of the couch. Then I pop out every couple of seconds. He thinks it’s funny every time I surprise him. Next, I start crawling directly towards him and he does the same, like a jousting match without the horses or swords.
When we meet, I put my arms around him and squeeze him, while growling into his stomach and chest. It’s hilarious how he knows I’m going to “win” every time, but he always charges me with the same smile on his face.
It’s then that dinner is ready and the courageous crusaders must wash up for supper.
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