I don’t remember the last time I gave my daughter Eva a bath. I can imagine my mother doubling over in agony at the thought but on most days, Eva is sponged, ears cleaned out, hair washed and conditioned and on occasion brushed too but not by me, by Daddy. Sigh…
Daddy also gets her ready for bed, puts her diaper on, convincing her on some days that its okay to wear a princess diaper when she really wants a Minnie Mouse, then he takes on the protracted battle over pajamas, sometimes successfully convincing her to wear something other than her ladybird pajamas she grew out of six months ago, at this I am truly amazed and thankful.
Of course in these blissful moments of father daughter bonding mommy isn’t exactly kicked back with her feet up watching sports and drinking beer, she is usually cooking dinner, preparing lunch for the next day or cleaning up the mess from the day if not week before.
As it’s Father’s Day it seems like the perfect moment to mention that through the last two and a half years of parenthood, my husband has changed, from the parent to be who spent most of my pregnancy bewildered, and the first six months of her life thinking “what have I done,” not that was he alone in that.
Although he won’t admit it at first he didn’t want to be seen pushing a pram, but he evolved when he realized mommy was much too slow going up hill. Daddy and Eva have always had bonding moments, from their pram walks when she used to nap in the mornings, to bath time, and feeding the fishes. Through all of this, Eva’s daddy has struggled to keep his identity and continue the things he loves the best, which include primarily: Sports. In the last two years I have noticed that he has picked up one decidedly female trait. He has learned to multitask.
Take this picture of Eva and Daddy’s evening routine, and the video I posted below of Daddy in Mommy’s home office, watching sports on the TV, watching real time game feeds on the internet and entertaining Eva all at the same time. Ahhh Fatherhood.
Given Daddy’s new multitasking skills, it came as relatively no surprise when Eva said the other day, with the determination and curiosity only a two year old could muster, “I want to grab Daddy’s pee pee.” Then she paused and added “Please.”
“It’s not appropriate.”
“But I said PLEASE.”
“No it’s not right, Daddy’s Pee Pee is HIS pee pee.”
“I will say THANK YOU.”
“No thank you.”
“No the answer is just NO.”
“Daddy, did you both have a shower after swimming lessons?”
“Multi tasking needs a rethink.”
When Eva was fifteen months, my friend Claudia asked me if Eva had started to prefer Daddy yet. I said No, and she warned me that it would happen and I shouldn’t take it personally.
I was probably days away at that point from what would become a full blown Daddy obsession. Daddy goes to work long before Eva wakes up but when he comes home from work she is usually at the gate to meet him. He barely has time to take his motorbike helmet off or put down his keys and she is in his arms.
“Daddy pushes me higher on the swings,” she says.
“Daddy is more fun,” she says.
“Daddy is bigger,” she says as she swipes at me from his shoulders.
On the weekends Daddy likes to wake her up because he misses out on that during the week. When I come into the room Eva says,
“Nooooo” sticks out her lip and says, ”Don’t sit next to me.” And swipes at me again.
Then sometimes when I pick her up she flat out tries to punch me without realizing that that would probably make me drop her on her head. Sometimes I wonder if she is precocious or if all two year olds are like this with their mothers- I am sure I was. I wish I could say Daddy was immune to her ill treatment but I keep remembering the week he went to work with a blood red eye, which looked like he had joined a fight club, but in reality he had only been swatted with Tinkerbelle’s wand for hiding the TV remote.
It’s hard to feel like you are anywhere near competent when your child is offended by your presence. To make matters worse I had noticed recently that my daughter was speaking with a decidedly British accent in stark contrast to my distinct American diction. Let’s just say she hasn’t inherited the mother tongue. Eva’s father is British as is her nursery teacher Zoe which might have something to do with it- that and the obsession with Peppa Pig.
My two year old bites me as hard as she can on the arm and then says, “Pardon me.”
Our situation reminds me of those women who hire nannies who can’t speak proper English and their kids end up speaking some version of heavily accented pidgin English- just my situation was in reverse.
If Eva ever does let me take her out without her Daddy, people will think I am the nanny and not the young hot variety- the aging spinster. No I will insist, I am not the nanny,
“I’m a derelict mom with a very “proper” child.”
I have noticed that some of the things Eva has been saying lately have a common theme,
“Daddies watch sports and mommies watch the news.”
“Mommy doesn’t climb ladders.”
“Mommies don’t go swimming.”
Hmmm maybe I need to work on being more fun?
But like most parents of two year olds I have learned that I must go with the flow, so the other weekend when I came home from my brother’s post wedding brunch, I didn’t bat an eyelid when I discovered Eva and Daddy eating chocolate and watching JAWS. Maybe, just maybe I had discovered his secret.
So last night when I put her to bed, as I do every night she said,
“Mommy, I love you a little bit.”
“Just a little bit?” I asked
“Yes, but I love Daddy a lot.”
“What about your grandfather, Hamma? Do you love him a little or a lot?”
“I love Hamma a lot.”
“ Are you sure you only love mommy just a little bit.”
“I love …. Bunny a lot.”
“What about poor mommy who loves you?”
“Do you want to go to the playground this weekend and Mommy will push you really high on the big girl swings.”
“Then we can come home and have a chocolate after your lunch.”
“And if you are a good girl, you can watch some TV.”
“Are you sure you only love mommy just a little bit?”
“Okay Mommy, I love you a lot.”
“And Mommy loves you and Daddy a lot.”
I turn the light out but as I was leaving, I just couldn’t help myself.
“But we are not watching JAWS again- that crosses the line.”
Happy Father’s Day Daddy.
Xx Derelict Mom & Eva