In the Nuts

“Just write whatever.” Those were the parting orders from Kate today. She had asked what I planned to do today. I told her I wasn’t sure since it was a little rainy out.

“How about your blog?” She asked.

“I did that already.” I told her.

“You need to keep writing it, honey, that’s how blogs…”

“I know how blogs work, Kate. Quick question: How many blogs do you have?”

I was sort of joking with her. She knew I knew I had to keep writing if I wanted to have a real life BLOG, that I have a tendency to quit things after just a minimal effort, that I have a fear of failure…or success (whichever makes it harder to accomplish things).

“Why don’t you write about this whole Ann Romney debate about stay-at-home moms. I bet a lot of people would be interested to hear what a stay-at-home dad feels about it.

“Naw.”

“Why not?”

“It’s just kind of boring.”

“As opposed to your story about trying to find money in the car to feed the meter?”

“It wasn’t a meter. It was ticket thing where you had punch in your space number…”

“Whatever. You could make it funny. ‘I CHOSE to be a dad!’ Right? It’d be funny.

“I did choose to be a dad. I don’t think that’s very funny. Do you?”

“I know you’re joking but I think it’d be good to discuss things like this on your blog.”

“I’m not a real topical, current events kind of guy. I’m not real political.” I say.

But then it occurs to me. I do have a beef.

This whole peanut allergy thing. This morning I spent a good half hour making two, gourmet, egg, parmesan and prosciutto sandwiches for the kids’ lunch. Do you think I wouldn’t have rather thrown together two PB+J’s and treated myself to a bowl of cereal and a shower? I would have. Are peanut allergies real? I’m sure they are. But, honestly, the kid that has one isn’t even in either one of my kid’s classes. The other day, while picking the kids up at carline, George’s teacher leaned in close, her head nearly inside my window, to tell me that the protein bar I packed in his lunch had peanuts in it. I winced and gave my best impression of a shocked and highly concerned parent. I knew from earlier, when I packed George’s lunch with actual peanuts, that the offending child has to eat their contaminated lunch ALONE in the principal’s office. I came in around lunchtime once to drop off some forms (a different time from the peanuts, believe it was a snackpack of mixed nuts) and found him in the office alone just quietly sifting through his maligned meal.

“What’cha doin’, Georgie?” I asked him.

“You put peanuts in my lunch,” he said, his head still down, his stomach probably too knotted up with shame to eat anything.

“Where are there peanuts?” I asked, going over to him.

“In the nuts.”

The things you have to worry about now as a parent. It’s crazy. The world is changing. There are computers now…

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b6Ff9Qm2FU)

There’s my political rant. For Kate.

But, for real life, as my daughter Louisa has grown accustomed to saying when she’s getting serious, I do think it’s a particularly emasculating time to be a stay-at-home dad. If my dad was a stay-at-home dad, I would’ve eaten PB+J’s every single day. I would’ve been tossed in the back seat of the car and (maybe) told to put on a seatbelt. He would’ve arranged for one of the mom’s to pick me up at school and dropped me off and then he would’ve… shit, I have no idea. I literally have no idea what my dad would’ve done with me for the six hours till his wife got home from work. He was a good dad. A great dad. But there are just things he wouldn’t have done.

For instance, the other night I was tidying up the kitchen and started breaking up some cardboard boxes for the recycling bin. I found myself breaking down a one-by-one inch box of Nerds. (The kids are still eating their Halloween candy) Have we gone too far? Do I have enough testosterone stored up from my “effective” years to get through this intact? Yesterday, on the swing, trying to demonstrate the proper ‘pump’ and ‘kick’ to keep oneself going…how long does it take to come back from that? Do your testicles make the migration back to their sack slowly as you amble back to your Volvo station wagon while telling the kids that if they’re good and get in the car without a fight they’ll get a treat when they get home? Or do your testicles stay up there, effectively saying, “Well, shit, if you don’t need us, I guess we’ll just hang up here.” And then when the kids are asleep and the wife has submitted to another pregnancy-induced narcoleptic fit on the couch next to you, you grab the laptop to read some news and you see that J.Lo has a new haircut and then you remember that fellow mother who told you about that J.Lo video you have to see so you go to youtube and as you type “you…” in the browser window…and ”youjizz” comes up and then…huh…you used to do this sort of thing… a lot, it appears…and it comes to back to you…that feeling …it feels weird but kind of good…and suddenly, there’s a stirring, your testes awaken somewhere underneath that pelvic fat and they’re going, “yeah? We doin’ this? For real life?” And then you realize that there’s a new New Girl episode on the DVR and you kind of have a headache anyway. And then your testes just give you the finger.

Comments

  1. Did Kate tell you that you made me do a 180 degree flip-flop on my worldview about how much of this mom/dad stuff is actually nature? I thought that mommies were naturally the first source of comfort kids look for – until Kate told me that when the kids get hurt and both of you are around, they ask for you.
    Then I realized – You are the first dad I know to stay home full time with his kids. You may feel like Sisyphus, but you are really a pioneer. Kind of like Peggy Olson from Mad Men. Like working women in the 60s, society doesn’t know what to make of stay-at-home dads in the ’00s. That may be part of what makes it feel so rough.
    By the time George, Louisa and their little brother are parents, hopefully the “glass ceiling” of stay-at-home parenting will be lifted and anyone who wants to stay home will feel supported to do so. Because you are staying home with them now.

  2. Nat Noone says:

    After reading Rachael’s comments I now feel shallow because I am still giggling about the youjizz part. You should be proud of the broad intellectual spectrum of your reader base. It will be nice when you get to 3 readers and we can narrow in on your core demographics.

  3. scottg says:

    This is very funny.

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