Dad of All Trades, Master of None

Domesticated, Not Demasculinized

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Posts Tagged ‘MILP’

As of today, I am the father of a school-aged child

Posted by doatmon on August 20, 2009

I’m the father of a school-age child.

That’s right, Kristen and others who repeatedly remark on my self-centeredness.  French Fry went to Kindergarten today.  And yet it’s still all about me.

I have a child in school.  I’m not going to lie to cyberspace.  Wasn’t handling it well.

Okay, okay, okay…let me start by saying that she’s fine.  Got it? No problems with her.  She is even more talkative than her father.  As beautiful as her mother.  And as intelligent as the two of us put together.  She was in an all-day preschool last year where she was a “peer model” for children who were developing at a slower rate.  She’s fine.

This is my blog and I’m going to talk about me.

This may shock you, but I’m not exactly an emotional rock.  I know, hard to believe.  But it’s true.  I bawled uncontrollably when Sidney was born.  Most sports movies leave me in a state of allergic agitation somewhere toward the end.  I am also a sucker for milestones.  And cameras.

“Look honey, she just spit out her first spoonful of peas. [snap]”

“Oooh, oooh, I think she just laughed for the first time. [snap]”

“Oops.  Nope.  Not a laugh.  But she just snorkeled for the first time. [snap]”

So if I react that way to those major/minor milestones, you can only imagine that the batteries literally died in the middle of the photo session this morning.

But my issues started well before this morning.  On the first day of daycare, back when I was employed, I remember strapping the little peanut into her car seat and heading the five miles to Enchanted Care.  Approximately 45 minutes later, I had stopped twice to re-adjust her fragile skull to ensure it was safe and twice to unzip her jacket further to ensure she continued to inhale and exhale appropriately.

I cried all the way downtown.

Then there was her acceptance into the preschool.  It was all-day for God’s sake.  Coke got to take her to school every day, but it was my privilege to pick her up every day at 3:30.  I all too often gave in to her wishes of McDonald’s nuggets and sweet teas because that quick drive-thru stop allowed me to pry details of her day while she was sugar-drunk and stuffed.

She was interviewed on Channel 10.  Her name was up in lights.  At the ripe age of four.  To this day, I’ve been only on TV twice.  Once was completely forgetting King and Jackson when interviewed on the names of the “Fab Five” by an Ann Arbor station at the Michigan-OSU game in Lexington.  The other, well, it was closed-circuit television.  And I was giving out handicapping advice.  Not something you want to share with your children.  I was so proud of the little devil I bugged one of my many media friends multiple times a day before she caved and sent me a CD of French Fry’s debut.  Thank you again, Lindsay.

Did you know the child actually had a graduation for pre-school?  There were songs, emotional videos and slideshows.  Processionals and recessionals.  And she tied Coke for most bunches of flowers purchased by me in the year 2009.  Damn that Columbus School for Girls and their budget cutbacks.  There was so much dust in that auditorium, my eyes wouldn’t stop watering.

And that brings us to this week.  I was somewhat prepared for today.  I had gone over it in my mind for weeks.  I had properly ignored her need for a first-day of school outfit.  I had sufficiently put off thinking about the logistics of today.  I had been able to successfully repress any memory of my mom’s opining on what I could expect.  See?  I was dealing well.

This week, I was ambushed by “Meet the Teacher” day.  I was not prepared.  The sickeningly sanitized smell of the school, the prowling PTO Nazis, the loudly, color-emblazoned bulletin boards accosting the eyes, I was overwhelmed.  Yes, she was fine, but remember, this is about me.

Coke, Chicken Nugget and French Fry strolled down the “Green” hallway to her classroom while I stalled, shuffled and stifled a sob.  Okay, there were a few sideways glances at the potential MILPs, I’m man enough to admit it.  But mostly, I was miserable.  Her teacher is brand new.  The school is relatively new.  Can they possibly comprehend the precious person now under their care?  Her old teachers did.  Maybe I could pay them to come be Assistants in this classroom.  I know, I know…stupid.  I’m WAY too broke to afford that.

Then there were the kids.  Some looked ornery.  Some looked like straight out of “Mean Girls 2020” casting.  One might have been an undercover cop.  I think I saw a beard.  Regardless, all were suspicious.  Judging the teacher, the staff, the kids and still trying to check-out the scrub-clad redhead who looked to have a little one about Chicken Nugget’s age.  If we hadn’t left, hyperventilation was imminent.

Last night, each well-wisher dialing our phone number almost put me over the edge.  I finally had to turn off the ringer in the den and fire up the computer.  I couldn’t deal.  This morning, I begrudgingly got up with Chicken Nugget. She helped make sister pancakes.  Just like my dad did for me.  We were dressed, showered and ready 45 minutes before it was time to walk over.  So we waited.  And we waited.  And I sweat.  And I tapped my foot.  And I bounced my knee.  And I checked Facebook.  And I drank coffee.  And I checked Facebook.

Then something happened I wasn’t even remotely prepared for.  I was at peace.  We walked her over as a family and joked and laughed and beamed at our “little” girl.  Her confidence, willingness and readiness put even a neurotic father on an even-keel.  She disappeared into the school, pink backpack covering everything but her shoes.  I waved goodbye to the backpack, gave Coke a knowing hug and was shocked to realize it was more for her than me.

Yes, this was another milestone.  One which was as visceral and painful as the others.  However, these milestones, they’re not my milestones.  They’re not about me.  They’re her milestones.  And I’m privileged to witness them.  And to share them.

I’m the father of a school-aged child.  I couldn’t be more proud.

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With all due respect to Mr. T…introducing the “Pity Da Fool”

Posted by doatmon on July 27, 2009

Well, it’s Monday.

As recently as a week ago, Monday meant the start of a hectic and uneventful work-week.  It meant taking French Fry to pre-school, Chicken Nugget to Daycare.  It meant returning phone calls and e-mails.  It meant updating web sites and scouring the weekend’s news for stories I might have missed pertaining to my clients.

This week, it’s Monday.  And that means, well, it means it’s Monday.  Oddly freeing and yet suffocating.

About the only other thing I can say is that Monday also means that the play-yard at one of our local malls is inhabitable again for the first time in three days.  The bullies, teenagers reliving their terrible twos and princesses screaming about their nails getting chipped have mostly all returned to their respective residences.

And of course, that’s where my two rugrats want to go on our first Monday together.  The play-yard.  The most dangerous Petri Dish in Columbus.  Where Jimmy Hoffa, little Timmy and parental sanity are all buried, never to be seen again.

But it also means a few moments of physical activity for my daughters, in air conditioning as mother nature intended.  It means a few minutes to catch-up on podcasts from the weekends.  And the always remote and outside chance of meeting a MILP.  Not MILF.  MILP.  To me, at this stage in my life, the MILP is infinitely more important than the MILF.  You know, MILP.  Mom-I’d-Liketo-Playdate.

Sadly, no MILP’s today.  But plenty of moms.  Plenty of SAHers.  Plenty of opinions as to what the overweight, balding father with one ear-bud might be doing desecrating their diseased play space.  In a relatively short period of time, I feel I have learned to decipher the myriad of looks I receive whether at play-yards, playgrounds or “mommy and me” time at the local library.

There are almost as many stares and glares as there are Wiggles songs that make me want to commit Hara-Kiri.  Just to be clear, that’s a lot.

I plan to enumerate the various looks in future blogs, but I thought I would start with the one most prevalent today: The “Pity Da Fool.”

The “Pity Da Fool” is a mother (I have yet to run into a PDF dad) who is clearly a SAHer and a veteran one at that.  This ain’t her first pediatric rodeo.  She deftly maneuvers strollers through malls, is confident in her ability to sit on a bench at the playground and maintain order amongst the masses and is most likely a member of at least one play-group and one book club.  A regular Bunko night is optional, but routinely present as well.

The “Pity Da Fool” isn’t angered or threatened by the presence of DOATMON, but rather has sorrow and, well, pity, in her immaculately primped and plucked eyes.  There is a palpable sense of the real possibility of The “Pity Da Fool” patting DOATMON on the head and saying, “There, there…everything will be okay.”

Should there be a physical, verbal or tearful confrontation between the kids of a PDF and DOATMON, the PDF will shepherd her children away and explain the virtues of being kind to those “less fortunate.”  Should a Starbucks be spilled, a diaper be defiled or a tumble take place, the PDF is one of the first on the scene to “assist” DOATMON and offer her condolences and her advice.

This is not to say that the PDF is rude or intentionally condescending. Rather, it just never occurred to her that a dad would either be capable or interested in staying at home with the kids.  The “Pity Da Fool” is often easily converted into a friend and could, down the road, potentially become a MILP.

Anyone know any PDFs?

No, geeks, not Adobe PDFs.  I know it’s hard for you nerds to exist in our society.

“There, there…everything will be okay.”

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