Monday, July 5, 2010


Just this morning, something occurred to me. My 6-year-old son has a man-crush. On me.

This isn’t all that unusual I realise. Except that I don’t truly recall feeling that way about my own father. The world was a different place when I was 6. Mostly, fathers went out to work. Mostly, mothers stayed home to rear the kids. The opportunities for bonding were far fewer, and the imperative to do so far weaker.

My wife and I have created a life where I am home two days a week AND the weekend. I get to bond with my boys. I get to do for them. Not all men are as lucky as me.

Last night as I parked my motorbike under the car port, I heard the screen door slam before I’d even turned off the engine. I turned around and it was Matthew. I had time only to remove one glove before he jumped up and threw his arms around my neck. I nearly took off half his face with my helmet, but he didn’t seem to care. I carried him inside and he just wouldn’t let me go. I managed to cut him away long enough to get changed before he clambered onto my back and started using me for a swing set.

Today, he’s been playing with my old mobile phone. It works as a device, but has no SIM card so he can’t call anyone. What it still has on the memory card, though, is the songs my band recorded in 2008. He keeps playing them. All day. Every day. And singing along*. Because it’s daddy.

I bring this all up not to say what a great dad I am. I am still on occasions vain, selfish, grumpy, distant and impatient. Usually when I have a story boiling in the back of my head. No, I bring this up because it’s a source of great joy to me...and gripping fear.

What if I disappoint him? What if I somehow, unwittingly, betray him? These are not actions I ever intend to do, but it’s not always in my control. And how can I get him to understand that sometimes, say, five minutes out of every hour, I need him to LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE without him thinking it means anything more than just “time out”?

*Actually, it’s quite funny to hear him sing along. There are lines he just can’t get. “Though I know I’ve been cryin’” becomes “I know, I’m a crayon”. “My heart bursts open, I fall onto my face” becomes “My door’s open come up to my place”. And then there’s our song called “This Father’s Son”. The chorus is “What I need, what I need” etc. which he heard as “Wormie Wormie” that’s what we all call it now.


Katie S said...

I can totally relate. I too have a cling-on for a munchkin. She adores me and wants to spend literally every moment in my presence. I mean literally, I can't even pee in private most days.

I want to be the best mommy possible and so I try my best to give her as much time as humanly possible. It's the main reason I get nothing done during the day and end up spending my nights glued to my computer, writing.

While I'm happy to be at home with her, I have many moments where I just need her to leave me alone. I get cranky and snippy and that's when, "Mommy needs a time out."

The only thing I can say is, cherish it. They do get old too quickly and soon it will be us, the old boring parents, begging for their attention and wanting to know everything that goes on in their lives. I'm dreading the teenage years.

Smut Girl said...

five minutes to think.

mommy and daddy time.

date time/mushy time/kid free zone.

We've done it all. I've been home with mine since 2 and 4. I homeschooled both of them for several years. I've volunteered at school and chaired committees. And through it all, I have kept a firmly established 'me time' rule. And adhered to it.

A) they get it fast, they grasp the concept if you stick w/it.
B) they like their own private time as a result
C) My husband and I have always had time alone every night. We dont' lock them in a room or anything! but they go watch their shows/ read/etc while we have some time before he has to go to bed (he's up @ 4.30 every morning).
D) We've always had dates. always.

I guess nutshelling it, we've always established a pattern that everyone--yes, even us--needs time to think and be alone.

I'm by no means the best mom in the world, but I have two kids who love me to pieces. Last week at the beach, when he could have been with anyone in the world on that beach (hot girls included) my fourteen year old was stuck to me like glue. Shell hunting, swimming, talking, dreaming aloud about beach houses and Xboxes. Making me laugh way too hard.

I think you're just showing them that they need time and you need time and it's okay. Has nothing to do with lack of love and everything to do with respecting yourself and your needs as a human. And if you teach your kids to respect your needs they'll respect their *own needs* (for silence, time alone, quiet etc) when they have them and won't feel guilt as adults for taking a bit of time to take care of themselves.

God, did that make sense? Hope so. I've already sent myself an email today so I hold no hope for actual clarity.

And I think it's great that he has a man crush on you. You are a totally crush worthy man person father being. :)


Willsin Rowe said...

Aw you guys...

I know what you mean. I will miss it if it ends, and I realise it will at some point. We lose our kids for probably 5 years, and we hope that we've piled on enough love that they can't go too far without us.

Lachie's a different prospect and he'll probably always want to be around us...unless something shiny catches his eye. I'm hoping that we're planting seeds which will flower in Mattie's adolescence. The idea that at 14 he might hang around with his ol' dad and/or ol' mum is very precious.

Of course, if he goes to hang out with the bikini girls, it'll be ME following HIM!