As my daughter gets older (she’s going on seven), she has less use for me in certain instances, such as doing her hair (the three-horned unicorn look I invented was quite forward-thinking, I thought) and fashion (cheetah print stretch pants and horizontal multi-colored striped blouse tells the world to look at your inner beauty). Today, however, my daughter really needed a Daddy. She was getting ready for school and freaked out because she couldn’t find a uniform skirt in her dresser to wear – she only had pants and she absolutely couldn’t wear pants, oh no, it had to be a skirt. I calmly walked into her room and started to soothe her. I realized that the reason she couldn’t find a skirt is because they were all in the laundry hamper so I went to the hamper, stuck my hand in and fished around to find one of her skirts. I demonstrated the sniff check that indicates whether a given article of clothing is ‘clean enough.’ I smiled as I tossed the skirt to her and told her to get continue getting ready. I suppose that one day her instincts will kick in and she’ll unlearn this very valuable lesson and that’s okay, today it was just what she needed.
A few nights ago was the Parent’s Back to School night. It is a night when parents can visit their kids’ classroom and meet the teacher to learn about what goes on in the class.
In my daughter’s first grade class, I sat at her desk and listened as the teacher guided us through their day and had a chance to look through her writing journal, math journal, etc. In one of her journals, I decided to write her a note so I flipped to an empty page a few days ahead of where she was in the journal and wrote,
“Dear Lilliana, I love you. -Daddy”
After I wrote it, I started second-guessing myself. My daughter has recently decided that she doesn’t want me walking in with her to her classroom since she’s too big now so maybe she’ll be embarrassed and irritated that I wrote in her school journal.
Later in the week, I got my answer in Lil’s homework binder. This binder has a notebook in it in which she writes down her homework assignment. I help her with her homework and then sign the page for her to take back to school. As the kids were changing out of their school clothes, I opened her binder to see what we had to do this evening. Here’s what was written:
“Math packet due tomorrow
Read 20 minutes
i love you because you are the best family ever. love, lilliana”
As I was driving to pick up my kids from school one sunny afternoon, I was lucky enough to catch War Pigs by Black Sabbath on the radio. What could be better to rockin’ out to War Pigs? Flashing back five years ago when my daughter was just old enough to sit in a front-facing car seat and watching her in the rear-view mirror as she pumps her fists and shakes her head to War Pigs. It was the first time she rocked out in the car and not only does it make me a Proud Papa but it’s such a fond memory of the two of us at the start of my life as a stay-at-home-dad.
As readers may already know, I’m a big Star Wars fan and now my kids are too, even though they aren’t old enough to have ever watched it. With my t-shirts and other paraphernalia, they kids know all the characters and ask questions to learn all the stuff they’ve never actually seen in the movies. Whenever practical, I try to infuse our Star Wars discussions with some life lesson or other parenting moment.
Daughter: Why does Darth Vader wear that black suit?
Dad: Because his entire body was badly burned and chopped up.
Daughter: How did that happen?
Dad: He lost control and threw a horrible temper tantrum in a dangerous place
Daughter (pensive): oh.
(silence for a brief moment)
Daughter: What about the cape?
Dad: Well, that’s just for style ‘cos it matches the suit; someday Mommy will teach you how to accessorize.
I found my daughter playing with scissors in the playroom and immediately told her to stop. I knew it was her safety scissors but I felt that scissors need to be used at the art table and with at least some initial parental guidance on the art project rather than random cutting while sitting on the carpet next to her brothers.
Daughter: “They’re safety scissors so no one will get hurt…see?!?!”
[pause for introspection]… This puts me in a difficult situation that I find myself in more often than I’d like. I’m trying to set some safety rules to prevent injuries but when no one gets hurt, the kids think it’s a stupid rule. For example, I let my kids walk ahead of me when we’re out walking but I make them stop at all streets, alleys, and driveways to look both ways. If one of them forgets and starts running, I yell out and, while they do stop, they look at me with “stink eye” as I hold their hand to cross a street that didn’t have a car in either direction for as far as the eye can see…[end introspection]
Daddy:”Well, I don’t like you playing with them on the floor, and not when your brothers are around because they aren’t old enough, so please put them back where they belong for now.”
Angered, she throws the scissors down on the soft carpet and it bounces up and hits my middle boy in the arm and he starts crying, more out of shock than anything else. Instantly, I see my opportunity and I seize it.
Daddy: “See, I TOLD you they’re dangerous.”
It’s been said that, “Daddy is a Little Girl’s first true love.”
To this, I must add,
“…and a Little Girl is her Daddy’s last.”