Thursday, July 16, 2009


I've been wondering lately about the name Dad. When I hear the word, naturally the first thing that comes to my mind is my own father, whom I have a very close relationship with. My own son is only 5 months old, so he of course hasn't yet uttered anything remotely close to a word that I'm familiar with in the English language.

I'm curious as to whether that word, Dad, will always direct the image in my head to my father, or at what point does the title become mine to claim? Not that I don't recognize myself as the boy's father, I have no blockage there. I'm just wondering if I'll ever hear the word Dad in conversation with anybody other than my own children, and automatically assume "oh hey that's me!".

During last night's pre-bedtime ritual for my son Mikey, I was giving him his evening bath, as I do nearly every night. I once again engaged him in conversation, one sided as usual. He was quite content to sit in his little plastic tub that we sit on the combo dresser/changing station in his room, and play with his rubber duck while I babbled on about my day. I was discussing with him just how much my daily routine had changed since he's come along.

Pre-Mikey, I'd get home from work by 6, take my boots off and sit in my la-z-boy for a good half hour while the Mrs. and I decided what our supper plans were going to entail for that night. I'd do the cooking, as the title of head chef seems to have fallen in my favor in our relationship, while she'd sit at the kitchen counter bar and we'd continue to discuss our day, or anything else that happened to be the topic of the evening. By 7:30, we'd both by firmly planted in our spots in the living room with our supper plates, and we'd watch a movie or some shows we wanted to catch up on, until she went to bed around 10. I'm more of a night owl, so I'd fire up the Xbox 360 and loose myself in whatever game I was playing at the time until 11:30 or so, then turn in.

In my new life as a parent, I get home around 6, kiss the Mrs, spend a few minutes with Mikey, and then it's time to get back to work. There's supper to get made, bottles to warm, and endless stream of breast pumping equiptment to help keep washed. Supper usually ends up getting pulled together by 7:30, and 8 pm is the time we've decided on to start getting the little one ready for bed. So, quickly clean up the kitchen, load the dishwasher, and downstairs to get the tub filled up, find a sleeper outfit, a dry towel, and into the tub he goes, after we both take a few seconds to comment on how cute his little dimpled butt is. Bathtime usually happens around 8:30 no matter what we try to start it earlier. After I get him washed, lotioned, diapered, and dressed in his sleeper, I hand him back to the Mrs, who has been washing pumping gear, starting another load of laundry, and picking up the daily explosion. While she is putting him down to sleep with his last nursing of the night, I'm emptying his tub, and filling up the humidifier we keep in his room.

So by now it's 9 or later, and I'm finally able to sit down in my chair, for the first time since I've come home. The first couple of months, I'd complain about all of this extra work to do, but now I've accepted it as part of being normal. Still I wonder what lies in store for the wife and I when we eventually have more children. This is ONE kid, and I'm already wondering if the washing machine is up to the task.

As I'm finishing up explaining all this to my son during his bath, I know he hears my voice, although he's entirely focused on eating the rubber duckie, and the washrag, and whatever else he can reach. He drops the duck, looks up at me with his big blue eyes, and gives me the best smile I've seen out of him in days. All of a sudden, I know that the ache in my knees and back doesn't matter, because the extra work is all for him and he loves me unconditionally. I think that maybe I'm getting close to being able to call myself by that vaunted title of "Dad".

And then, while still smiling at me, and as if on purpose, he peed on me.

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