Doodaddy is a fake parent

by doodaddy on December 22, 2008

I am a fake.

20081206-003
Currently: my Tamagotchi.
Soon to be: my daughter.

Not in the sense that I make up funny stories for the blog, or even that I’m actually a 14-year old boy from Salzburg.

No, I’m a fake parent right now, and it’s all Blueberry’s fault.

The other day, two of the girls’ visiting grandparents went out to dinner and I couldn’t escape the thought — No! You’re supposed to be entertaining our children! I have seedlings to plant!

In other words, part of my very existence orbits around ways to pawn my children off on other people.

Nearly the exact same thing happened the first time I became a father — for the entire duration of my wife’s maternity leave, I approached every moment with Boobaby as part of the job. I enjoyed our time those months, for sure, but I was very businesslike about it.

Change diaper. Check. Feed. Check. Put down for nap. Check. Rinse, tummy time, repeat. Take lots of pictures.

It was more like I had one of those Japanese toys you take care of so they don’t cry or vomit: I had a human Tamagotchi.

Then came Working Mom’s first days back at work and suddenly I ceased to be a trainee nanny and turned into — gasp — the sole stay-at-home parent. The feed-diaper-repeat cycle continued, but suddenly deprived of handy adults, I started talking to Boobaby.

My early conversations with a newborn were limited but satisfying, since she nearly always agreed with me. Then she would take me out for coffee or a quick stroll to the hardware store. And then I would take her to the playground and lo! suddenly I was verbing a noun I thought I’d never verb: I was parenting.

I’m not there yet with the Blueberry. Frankly, with my wife at home and so many visiting friends and relatives, I hardly feel like much of a parent to Boo, either. I handle the practical bits as needed, of course, but if I can turn the kids over to their beloved elders and get some chainsawing done, I’m a happy man.

I’m just not much of a parent.

Certainly I will be again, though. Come February 9th (and don’t think I’m not counting the days with deep, deep ambivalence), Working Mom returns to work and I will take over sole charge of two girls who share genes and, at this age, almost nothing else except an unlimited capacity to demand attention.

With any luck, history will repeat itself and they’ll take me out for coffee, a quick stroll to the hardware store, and a stop at the playground. Where I’ll become a dad again, and stop being a fake.

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tagged as in failure,parenting,teaching ·

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan December 22, 2008 at 9:39 am

I felt this with my second too. and I also felt guilty because I preferred spending time with my eldest as she was just more interesting. Everything righted itself in time though.

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Annie December 22, 2008 at 9:40 am

I’d say you’re the furthest thing from a fake. There’s nothing wrong with taking a back seat from time to time, and it’s something I look forward to any time we have visitors. When we have company – my kids want nothing to do with me and I like it :) It gives me a break.

We were supposed to be hosting my MIL and FIL for Christmas – FIL had a heart attack 2 weeks ago and now they aren’t coming – a BIG part of me is gutted because they won’t be here to entertain my kids for 2 weeks – shh – don’t tell!

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Adam December 22, 2008 at 11:24 am

I have been wrestling with thoughts of this nature. Our first is coming and so far it feels as my role is completly auxilary. I have read it’s normla, but when baby shows up and my wife stays home with her, won’t it only get worse?

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doodaddy December 22, 2008 at 12:09 pm

@Dan – And then again, since Boo is very two sometimes, the baby can be quite a bit easier…

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doodaddy December 22, 2008 at 12:15 pm

@Annie – Oh, I’m so sorry — on every level!

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Arron December 23, 2008 at 9:06 am

Nothing to add other than I’ve felt similar emotions two years ago when Mar joined the family. And, like Dan, I too and myself longing for my oldest more, an emotion I try to keep in check (thanks, Dan — the thought of it “righting itself” on its own is comforting).

Your honesty is also comforting, DD. Thanks.

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Nan December 24, 2008 at 8:04 am

Hee hee! Merry Christmas, Doodaddy. Enjoy all the help while it lasts!

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