I’ve just come to the realization that my boys have gone over to the Daddy Dark Side. If you were to ask all three of them, they would call it the cool side. I kind of agree, but whatever. Even the neighbor boy would agree. His standard question when I come to answer the door is, “Can Luke and Jack play?” If the answer is no, the next question is always, “Okay then, where’s their dad? Can he play?”
The other night I came into the office and found Tim jamming with the neighbor boy; we’ll call him J. Both Luke and Jack were playing football with all the other neighbor kids in the front yard. It was bitter cold and getting dark by the second. J decided to come in because he didn’t want to wear his shoes anymore and his fingers needed to warm up. Typical five year old reasoning. I guess he saw the guitar we have just sitting in the corner of the office. None of us know how to play it and it just gathers dust, but having a guitar set up in a corner implies that we rock, so we keep the dusty thing around. He asked Tim if he could play it so of course all late evening work duties got postponed to plug the guitar into the amp. When I came in, J was plucking those strings to his heart’s content and singing the improvised verses at the top of his lungs. And there sat Tim, trying to hold his laugh back, but giving J his full attention.
I realize that this is a good problem to have. There are many uninvolved dads out there and Tim has never put his toe in that dark pond. The boys probably won’t realize how lucky they are until later.
It has taken a lot of hard work and patience on Tim’s part. In the beginning the boys physically needed me and he didn’t have the goods dripping out of his boobs so I was the “It Girl”. I was also home with them all day so I was the go-to filler of all snack bowls and sippies. I chauffeured them to fun places like the mall kiddie playground and the local muddy pond to feed the ducks. I bought them popcorn to eat in the red Target shopping carts while we wandered the aisles and gazed at all the treasures. I was pretty high on their list.
We have a joke between the four of us that Jack hated Tim for the first two years of his life. Now, while that’s not necessarily true, Jack was a major mama’s boy. If he was hungry, thirsty, tired, or hurt he wanted me. If he was bored, I was the selected entertainer. In the middle of the night, he would wake up just to make sure I was still there. “Oh hey Mom. Is it really 3am? Cool. I love you, wanna hang out?” I had two choices when Jack was little. Either pick him up and carry him around, or listen to him cry, “Mamamamamamamamama,” while he follow me every-freaking-where.
During those early times, I tried to convince both boys that Daddy was actually cooler than me. He could actually fill those cracker snack bowls and sippies faster than I could. But to no avail. All they wanted was me. And at times, all I wanted to do was to sit on the couch and read without any toddlers sitting on me, laying on me or touching me.
I guess Tim’s been going for the slow play. Smart dude. He was sneaky patient through the baby and toddler years. He’d make up goofy songs and make weird noises at the chance of getting a smile or giggle. He changed diapers and bounced teary babies. He tried to outrun me when one of the boys got hurt so they would see him first and he could console them. He’s way faster than me, so he always won that one. I told you, sneaky.
Now he’s convinced them that his childhood hobby of collecting cards could be their childhood hobby too. Granted, the boys threw him for a loop when they chose Pokemon as well as sports cards, but he rolled with it. While they have been taking trips to the local card shop and scouring eBay and YouTube, the boys have been learning about pulling the coveted Michael Jordan signed rookie card. In turn, the boys have been educating him on Mega Charizard EX.
Ah! Now I get it. He’s buying them off with cards. Genius!
I guess I can see why they like him so much. A few weeks back he even upped his fun rating when he set up a Nerf battle ground in our unfinished basement. He used our left over moving boxes to set up two base camps. Each battle begins with a gun draft and strategic ammo set up. Then they get busy trying to obliterate each other with foam darts.
Sometimes he pays the price for his awesomeness though. Last week he got nailed in the eyeball with a Nerf dart. That shot bruised and reddened his eye just in time for a business video conference call.
I’m at a disadvantage now too because he isn’t annoyed like I am at potty humor. I can appreciate a good burp or fart like the best of them but after twenty in a row, I lose interest.
So I’ve come to this transition realization just recently. I’m slow, I know. Looking back on it, he’s been slowly gaining ground for a few years. Jerk. At the airport a few weeks ago, the boys beautifully negotiated on who would get to sit by the window on the plane. The thing that got them stuck was who would get to sit by Dad. Jack sited a previous flight six months prior in which Luke got to sit by Dad. Therefore, it was his turn this time. Luke could appreciate the logical argument so he consented to sitting with me only if he got to sit by Tim on the next trip. See? They are all in this against me!
After the “who gets to sit by dad” incident, I mentioned my sadness that I wasn’t the cool one anymore. Of course they all went on about how much they love me and need me. On the next flight, Luke even shouted out that he wanted to be the one who got to sit by me. All of Tim’s Jedi mind tricks on teaching empathy and affirmation worked.
I know I’m going to have to up my game, but sometimes I get the feeling that my work is futile.
“Cute fart Mom.” <>
“Thanks for the homemade veggies and hummus, but where are Dad’s Doritos?”
I’ve been getting better at coming up with good material like Ding Dong Jiggly Butt and Cheesy McNuggett Fart Face. I’m still bigger than them so I think I can still pin them in a living room carpet wrestling match. I’ll have to google more moves though; they are quick tricky buggers. And those basement Nerf battles are actually quite fun. I even out the numbers so having me works to their advantage.
I’ll get them back somehow. And I’m pretty sure my awesome husband won’t mind sharing the popular throne. He’s nice like that.