You have officially learned to spit. That’s both a good and a dangerous thing.
It’s good because it’s an important part of brushing your teeth. It’s a dangerous thing because I have to trust that you’re not going to spit at an inappropriate time or place.
I guess I make it more alluring for you to want to spit because over the past couple of months, I have taken up the Indian folk remedy of “oil pulling.”
Yes, I know it sounds weird. But two or three times a week on the drive to school, I swish coconut oil around my mouth for 20 minutes (it helps serve as a natural mouthwash and preventative of headaches for me) and then at the Nippers Corner crossing, I spit the coconut oil out my car window.
I always feel bad for whoever’s in the car behind me, especially if it’s a woman. I’m sure they assume I just got sick.
Each morning as you and I are getting ready to leave the house, you always ask me, “You gonna put that stuff in yo’ mouth?”
Watching me do my oil pulling is normal to you by now. However, I don’t think you’re totally clear on when it’s okay to spit.
With that being said, this past weekend on Mother’s Day, when Mommy told you that you couldn’t have a 2nd granola bar, but instead that you’d have to eat more of the main lunch she prepared for you, you acted like you were about to spit at her.
After I put you in a time-out session providing me with enough time for finish my own lunch, I had you apologize to Mommy:
“I sorry, Mommy.”
You saw how important it was for you to apologize, so then about 10 minutes later, you apologized to Mommy again.
Within the hour, you had begun using “I sorry, Mommy” as a new way to ask for things.
“I play with Play-Doh? I sorry, Mommy.”
I guess it’s an interesting spin on the saying, “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.”
Disclaimer: Contains potentially confusing viewpoints that may be exclusive to the male mindset.
The main reason I feel anxious about the thought of having another child is not the financial aspect, or even the fact we only have a 2 bedroom townhouse; it’s knowing that I would be placed in that frustrating position again of not knowing what to do on a daily basis.
Sure, I’d know more of what I was doing the 2nd time around, but it would also be on top of taking care of you too; though you demand less attention than you did when you were a baby.
To see me in my worst element is to see me in a high pressure, reoccurring situation where I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. For me, that was the first 15 months of your life; back when you wouldn’t let me take care of you without Mommy being in the same room.
Therefore, I couldn’t feel like I was leading our family, and it made me feel horrible about myself.
Just to be clear, I don’t mind high pressure at all. In fact, I like the challenge of it; given that I’ve been well trained on the subject.
It’s no secret: I find my self-worth not in how others see me, but in how I see myself. If I don’t feel in control, or at least that I know what my role is, I sort of feel worthless.
Now that you’re well beyond the age of 15 months, in fact, days away from being double that, my frustrating days of flat-out not knowing what to do in regards to being a dad are mostly a thing of the past; back in the year 2011.
As for modern day life, I know my role now; every minute of the day, and I love it!
In addition to being your official chauffeur, bedtime singer, protector from monsters… I also am the official dishwasher, bathroom cleaner, garbage man, vacuumer, relationship mediator, and the parent juggling two jobs outside of home life.
Every night, after our family eats dinner, I know that once Mommy takes you upstairs for your bath, I am going to immediately start washing and drying all the dishes, then wipe off the counter, and vacuum; just in time to go upstairs and sing your final bedtime song.
While it would be really nice to just chill out after dinner instead of doing housework, I don’t even mind. The reason: Because it sure beats the heck out of those first 15 months when I didn’t know my role.
As your dad, who is wired to fix problems and lead others, it’s very challenging for me to… I’m trying to think of a way to say this without using the PG version slang word…
I like to be driving the motorcycle, not riding in the sidecar.
(Watch the movie Garden State, when you’re older, to fully understand the reference. “Sidecars are for…”.)
What I am saying is that right now, I don’t feel like I’m riding in the sidecar. I feel like our life is predictable enough now where I don’t taste the chaos in the air anymore.
I love having this peace in my head; not dwelling on my inabilities to successfully figure out what exactly I’m supposed to do every single second. I love knowing what to do.
Ah, if and when the time comes for a 2nd child, I fear losing that again.
Yesterday I bragged on how much I loved the “Pals” ad by Robinsons. Since then, I’ve read some comments online pointing out that the commercial closes with the tagline, “It’s good to be a dad, it’s better to be a friend.”
For some people, that motto carries a different meaning than it does for me.
Here’s an example, from “richa20560″ on The Drum.com, of the kind of comments that barb in between the positive ones, in reference to the ad:
“Nice ad if you reversed the strapline. Current ad epitomises everything thats wrong with current parenting practises, kids have plenty of friends in their life but only 1 mum & dad this trivialises the importance of stepping up & being the dad you can’t always be their friend, to infer its better to be their friend devalues the vital role of a parent, sometimes you have to say no & sometimes they won’t like you for it. Better to be a dad and raise a child capable of making friends, than being the only one who can bare to be their friend.”
As for me, I hear the phrase “It’s good to be a dad, it’s better to be a friend” and I don’t think that the message is to be a parent who overlooks discipline for the sake of wanting your kid to like you.
I can hear it without thinking it is promoting something stupid like buying alcohol or cigarettes for your kid, too.
Instead, I totally get what ”It’s good to be a dad, it’s better to be a friend” means; without jumping to polarizing conclusions or taking it so literally.
As I mentioned yesterday, it’s impossible to love and lead you without serving you. Therefore, so many of the elements of me being a good dad require that I am a good friend.
My interpretation of ”It’s good to be a dad, it’s better to be a friend” is this: The best part of being a dad is the part where I get to have a buddy who loves me unconditionally.
I could go on to theorize that the worst part, or, my least favorite, is the discipline part. However, it’s no less important that the “being the friend” part.
As your dad, I do my best to make sure the majority of our time together fits into that glorious (and more marketable!) “friend” category; because a good friend can still teach, mentor, and even discipline you.
Really, I guess it just comes down to a person’s definitions of the words “dad” and “friend.”
I suppose it’s just universal that, as a little boy, you naturally like to try on your daddy’s shoes. I mean, it wasn’t that difficult for me to dig up a picture of myself in 1983, as a 2 year-old, wearing my dad’s boots. (Pictured above.)
You know it’s funny when you’re doing it, yet I can see you really like to imagine what it would be like to be my size.
Last week you turned to me randomly and said, “Daddy, you’re big? You’re big.”
I’m 5′ 9″, but hey, I’ll take the compliment.
This morning as we were all getting ready in Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom, you snuck into the closet.
I wasn’t really paying attention; not to mention, I was barely awake, but then I heard you laughing… like you knew you were being a rascal.
Turns out, I was right.
You proudly walked out to Mommy and me in your Sacramento State football player t-shirt, a diaper, and a pair of mommy’s heels.
Oh, and to top it off, you were holding your monster truck.
You were quite the walking contradiction, literally.
There are plenty of times when you are hilarious and don’t know why. Today was not one of those times.
So you are now looking at the new wallpaper on my cell phone. Well done, Son.
Mommy and I recently bought you a 3-pack of Play-Doh that looks like Neapolitan chocolate chip ice cream.
After you experimented with it for a little while, transforming your plastic horsey into a dinosaur, and using the brown Play-Doh as mud that your monster trucks drive over and “got stuck” in, you eventually wandered off into the bathroom.
I was curious as to what was going on in there, but I gave you a few minutes of privacy.
Then you called for me…
As soon as I opened the door, you announced, “Hey Daddy, I make snacks for the kids!”
My favorite part about that moment wasn’t even the fact that your potty bowl was being used as the serving tray for the Play-Doh “ice cream” for young consumers.
Instead, it was that you assumed the role of the adult, and you assumed that “the kids,” who evidently are other kids your age, look forward to the glorious (and sanitary) ice cream treats you have waiting for them in the bathroom.
I try to picture a dozen 2 year-olds lining up at our front door, eager to get a taste of the delicious soft serve ice cream you serve from your potty.