Monday, 6 February 2012
Daddy's duo (now trio - but who's counting?)
I don't care what men think - according to me, there is a definite difference in the way a dad relates to his kids as opposed to the way a mom does. It's a curious mix of delicious terror and anticipation, versus immense fun and excitement. Just watching him with them makes me laugh at times (of course, I never let him know that I am laughing at him - men also have fragile egos, after all. But that is a story for another time). In contrast to all the mayhem, I must be very boring, I think.
To give an example: my typical night-time routine with the kids consists of the usual bath-teeth-wee-bed thing, and when they are in their beds, I normally sing them a song. They invariably like the "Hush, little baby, don't say a word, Mama's gonna buy you a mocking bird" one, and refuse to let me get away without all the verses. There are about a hundred of these, since the time when the boys were little and I had to make the song as long and as boring as possible in the hopes that they would be bored to sleep (nothing else worked to get them to sleep - it was worth a try). As such, there are not only mocking birds and looking glasses; dogs, meadow larks, cherry pies, spades and pails, bright blue boats, a lily pad, and also a fat pink pig make their appearance at various moments in the song. After the customary big kissies, small kissies and fetching of sips of water, bears, toy dogs and pillows, they are finally ready to sleep, and I sneak off to begin my clearing up of the disordered house.
Contrast this scenario with the "routine" (and I use that word in its loosest application) of the Sweetpea as he puts the kids to bed. He prowls around, approaching their beds with his claws held in the air (he is the Tickle-Monster), and they shriek in delicious anticipation. Like an animal he sniffs the air and makes growling sounds or snorting noises, and the littlies burrow their heads under the blankets in mock fear and screech with abandon. He invariably asks them "Do you want shy handies, or tickle handies?"
"Shy handies," they both yell at the tops of their voices, and somehow (deliberately) he mishears and they get tickle handies instead, as he grabs them both and tickles them until they can hardly breathe for laughing. Then he sings his version of the mocking bird song. Obviously, this cannot be as boring or mundane as my version. For every item, he inserts a different action, snort, growl or weird noise, ending with a "tummy zerbert" (?) where he blows their tummies wildly until they shriek and squirm. And yet, somehow all the important bits (teeth and wee's) get done in the midst of all of the squawking, squealing, madness, chaos and general mayhem of a dad-run bedtime.
Then, giving them a firm eye, he tells them it is time for bed - no more noise. With a last kiss, he promptly sails out of the room and the three are left in peace to settle down (depending on the vigor of the pre-bedtime routine, this has been known to take a while). When they are finally settled and I go in to have a last kiss on each sleeping child's forehead, I realise that I would really have it no other way. I love his relationship with them and the way that they laugh. Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a dad. Perhaps I could be a bit more of a Tickle-Monster sometimes, too?