Thursday, October 1, 2009

Teach your children well...

Theo and I spent most of our afternoons in August at the pool around the corner from the house. Theo has always loved being in the water and there's always tons of little kids there - even if I have the occasional heart attack when his seemingly boundless confidence gets way ahead of his abilities.

One day we were playing in the shallows of the adult pool, where Theo's favorite game was throw himself in headfirst so daddy could drag him off the bottom. Theo started playing with another little one who couldn't swim yet, and that boy took a liking to me-- talking, jumping on my back and whatnot. I played with him as much as I could, but explained to him that keeping my boy from drowning was kind of my top priority.

His mother apologized and explained that be tends to latch on to men in the pool, because his own dad won't get in with him. Hey, whatever; it's obviously not the way I roll, but everyone has their way of doing things and I have no issue hanging out with kids.

In talking to my new pal, the conversation did eventually turn to that daddy.

"My daddy isn't here. He's at work."

"That's too bad. But we understand. Theo's Mommy is at work too and sometimes she gets home late."

"Noooooooooooo!" he said this to me in that manner perfected by all kids, combining "I don't believe you" and "you're crazy" into a single long syllable.

"Yes, she's at her job."

"No, only DADDYS do that!" Obviously, I missed the memo on this one.

I think I eventually convinced him that yes, some mommys work too, while some kids have daddys who stay home.

And as tempting as it would be to ramble on about how even a 3-year-old has been hopelessly indoctrinated into the dominant patriarchy by a distant father who refuses to frolic in the pool, I know that this is just a kid who has made a incorrect assumption about the rest of the world based on his own family and the people he knows well.

But oh, my, did be give me a good laugh that afternoon. I am pretty proud of myself for just laughing, instead of breaking into my usual sarcasm and asking, "Oh, really... So, what does that make me, then, if I'm a daddy who doesn't work?"

1 comment:

MCNB said...

Moms who stay at home: "homemaker" -- Term often leads to a debate over how to balance parenthood and career with some people taking strong sides.

Dads who stay at home: "unemployed"

I'm exaggerating :)