Thursday, June 24, 2004

Daddy Domestic 

Once I wanted to be a househusband. I dreamed of a luxurious sleeplate life of a novelist and poet, writing while some vague and undefined child-or-so played quietly, safely, for hours in the near distance. I'd welcome my hardworking business-suit wife with a martini when she came home, and attend company picnics, making all the business cutthroats jealous of my calm, my clearly well-rested ease.

But I never learned to cook without burning toast. I fell in love years ago with an earth mother goddess type who doesn't like the businessman mindset any more than I do -- may have been one of the things I fell for, in fact. And I ended up with a job I love and a wife who's got me beat hands down in the domesticity game: balanced, tieless, and gentle when I ride the edges of maturity. And then we had Willow, and real flesh and young energy exhausted me like my visions never had. And, until now, I had never even tried to solo parent for more than three hours.

Today, though, I had no choice: Darcie started a new career in floral arrangement down the hill at Fairview Gardens; once we dropped her off at nine-thirty, Willow was mine until five.

To my surprise, it wasn't half bad, actually. Errands apres dogwalk, for starters: playing with the bongos and drum kits while dropping off the flute for new pads, now that Bob and Tom have asked me to play their wedding precessional, then a short stop to get new formal shoes for Alicia and Matt's wedding this weekend. Since she had been good (and since I cannot resist watching her overwhelmed in play), I let her run rampant in the toystore, where she picked up and dropped in rapid succession superballs, a rubber aligator, a pink plastic water gun in the shape of a dolphin, and several overpriced wooden Brio trainsets before settling upon a soft stuffed Big Bird doll.

[Speaking of Big Bird, a slight pause for metareflection: though it's summer vacation, the media teacher in me has to wonder at how best to interpret this choice. Willow's seen Sesame Street once or twice in her lifetime, but not enough to be more than hazily unaware of the semiotic/corporate iconography; she didn't know yellowbird's name until I mentioned it, and may indeed still think that "Big" an adjective rather than nomenclature-part -- kept telling me "this is a really big bird, daddy!" Anyway, back to the narrative.]

Afternoon was even easier. Leftover barbecue lunch; a short rest-but-not-nap with a bottle in bed; two episodes of the Muppets (guest starring Roger Moore and Danny Kaye, for Muppet fans). An hour of sweaty dance on the rug, Keb Mo's version of "Love Train" on repeat on the stereo, volume up as high as we could stand it. No breakdowns or tantrums, but plenty of good one-liners, including a reprive of yesterday's out-of-the-blue favorite ("Be careful, Daddy -- there's chocolate everywhere!" "Where, honey?" "Oh, everywhere."). Though Virginia never showed to help as she had thought she might, by the time Mommy called for us to pick her up, I still had another few hours in me, easy.

Just to make the role reversal comprehensive, I even made a spinach, salami, ham and asiago omelet supper, and did the dishes afterwards while Willow and Darcie soaked and splashed in the tub. Guess once I got into the groove, I didn't want to leave it.

Seems I may have been cut out for this after all. Now all we need to work on is making this an everyday occurance, barely worthy of blogmention -- for that, I think, is the real feminism, and the best role modeling of infinite possibility, that Willow's future self might pluck ripe adulthood from an infinite myriad of choice...isn't it?

posted by boyhowdy | 7:33 PM |

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