Libraries are made for epiphanies...
Lookin' good for a Monday night with a good book.
Tonight Zo and I slipped off to the library where she ignored all of the books and went straight for the toy table. Who could blame her? I would have done the same except I don't really fit at that table anymore. She then proceeded to play, poop her pants, and finally pick three new books. She denied pooping her pants, considered taking some of the toys home with her, and left without even the slightest hesitation.
"How do you get her to leave like that?" a random woman said, "That never happens for me."
"I ask." I responded quietly.
It's true. I just prepare her for decisions and then I ask her to do whatever I need her to do. She doesn't always accommodate me, but then I don't always accommodate others either. Eight times out of ten she listens, and goes gently into the task, no questions asked, in fact, she's practically perfect when Mom or Grandma or Baachan aren't around. That's no knock on the women in Zed's life...hardly, I'd be a puddle without them,and so would she... it's just that her and Mom are like business partners with adjoining desks. They get a lot of one another at times. Then, of course, Grandma's are doing appropriate Grandma jobs. Daddy and daughter is a different scenario altogether. When it's just us, I'm chill...she's chill...there's no other influences to manage, no distractions other than the usual ones you might find outside of your front door. I have to admit I don't much like parenting with a familiar audience. It's just too hard, too many cooks in the kitchen, too much competing for Zed's scattered attention. Just because there are two batter's boxes doesn't mean that two batters can face any pitcher at one time. If someone's already swinging, I'll wait until they strike out, get on base, or whack one out of the park. Baseball metaphors work for everything.
I've been around literally thousands of kids in my life, and I think...no, I know that people forget that. I haven't always worked with 18 year old meth addicts. There was a time when I ran my own summer camp. There was literally a decade where my job was to protect, teach, and entertain other people's children, whether it was via community programs, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, and/or private summer camps, including my very own. I kinda have a good grip on this kid thing. admittedly I didn't have the first clue about managing an infant, and I didn't have much of a hard time dealing with other people while I worked at learning, but toddlers and up...I got it. Thanks for your help but I'm cool. I can distract better, inspire giggles better, find adventure and mine curiosity better than almost anyone I know who doesn't own a vagina.
I'll even venture to lay a bet that I've found myself in as many if not more awkward situations with children than your average parent. I've changed diapers on everything from infants to adolescents and could write a 5000 word essay on what I've learned to help me better deal with children. I don't like reminding people of that. I shouldn't have to. Strangely enough, I find myself deflecting people's comments and judgements on a regular basis, almost certainly because I'm the Dad. It's ridiculous. A guy shouldn't have to foul that many pitches off before he gets a good one to hit.
Sorry, I'm watching the Yankees game while I type this and the baseball analogy thing is way too easy.
Trust me when I tell you that if you don't see me parenting like I invented the job when I'm around you it's because you're so involved in the situation(s) that it's not worth my time, effort, or frustration to get involved. Some things just aren't worth the effort. Similarly, some things just aren't worth acknowledging either. Ask June, if you don't believe me...I'm beyond capable, even venturing into impressive in most Daddy categories, but I'm here to do a good job for Zoey, not anyone else.
I change her diapers without incident or fuss, very often with more ease than what others get...not because I'm lucky but because of the way I go about doing it.
I put Zoey to sleep and can get out of that death trap faster than anyone in her life.
I steal Zoey to do things out in public...shreek, that's right, I said public...and we've never had an incident or a cause for concern yet...not once.
Sure I lose my patience with Zed, and sure I get upset with her, but in many instances I'm fairly lonely in putting up some fairly rigid fences around her behavior. She's so cute she makes people mush...me too, but she's nearly two years old...she's earned stern words, and alone time in her room, and early exits from the dinner table. She's needed reminding to say please and thank you and to say sorry, and she does...she says all of those things, and more than any twenty month old that I know. I don't mind being that guy because someone has to, but I do mind when I have to remind people that those things are necessary, and that I've been in the general vicinity of this ballpark before. Am I hard on her, not if you consider introducing her to these ideas and then hugging her sweetly in her room afterward to make sure that she gets what Dad's selling.
I think a lot of people make the mistake of telling us what a nice child we have in Zoey, that she's such a good kid and that we're so lucky.
It's not luck.