After a year and a quarter of trying to avoid certain “mom-conversations” at playgrounds or blogging extensively about Simone’s bowel movements or how happy she is to skip around the house singing old Irish pub songs, I realize I have made no advancements in being an avant-garde Mr. Mom.
True, I won’t take the bait when a parent starts to bitch about how a particular clothing chain no longer carries those perfect $50 shoes for her precious so-and-so who will undoubtedly suffer from collapsed arches before he/she turns 12. And I refuse to line up at the YMCA, at 3 am, every new year in hopes of winning the annual lottery to get a place on the waiting list for pre-school. But that’s not really avant-garde. Just a healthy dose of well-aged cynicism–a mechanism I use to avoid being solely defined by parenthood.
In spite of this, being an at-home parent has messed with my brain. Good or bad, the jury is still out. But I am prone to some peculiar behaviour–enough to make me shake my head in bewilderment when I’ve taken stock.
The other day, Simone wanted to have a tea-part. Terrific, I thought, I love tea parties. What 34-year-old male doesn’t love tea parties? I mean, what more splendid way to spend the morning than lining up stuffies, laying out miniature versions of cutlery, cookware, and food, and feeding punkin’ pie to each little bastard one by one? This particular day, the festivities were taking place upstairs in ‘Monie’s room. We laid out picnic blankets, arranged an infernal amount of Beanie-Baby bears–each aptly named for their appearance: pink bear, brown bear, slack-jawed bear, stupid-grin-penis-shaped-nose bear…etc–and set out the plastic plates. Simone turned her back to “prepare” the food on her plastic stove top.
While I waited, I checked the positions of all the guests and without even realizing it began re-adjusting them to make sure each had an equal share of the picnic blanket. Next, I went downstairs to fetch a couple of bears I knew were under the couch lest they felt left out. I made sure they could share plates as there weren’t enough to go around. I put down extra blankets for the outcasts, searched the closets for a few stragglers who may be hungry too. A moronic sense of fairness and care displayed for the inanimate. All the while Simone yammered away about the waffles she’s trying to cook and how they were very hot and one needed to blow on them first before eating.
Then I stopped. All the bears in perfect equidistance from one another. The floor of the bedroom now an amphitheater for those damned to never shut their eyes nor open their mouths. It hit me. Ho-ly Sheee-it. This was not something knew. I must do this all the time. Simone hadn’t looked at me strange once. In fact, she acted like I was supposed to do this–it was expected. The bears were real for her, a part of her social circle. And for a moment, however brief or perverse, they were for me too.
This does not bode well for me next time we’re at Toy Traders.