Our kindergartener did two impressions this week — one of me, one of my wife. You decide who looked better as a result.
Monday night, I walked into the house with my work badge still clipped to my belt. Usually I already have the badge hidden when I walk in — because if the boys see it, they ask to play with it. Apparently, the retracting lanyard is fun. But I’ve lost a lot of lanyard springs that way. And a few badges.
Monday was a little different, though. He pointed out that I still had my badge on, then offered to relieve me of it — helpful to a fault. He was so sweet about it, though, that I couldn’t resist, so I let him unclip the lanyard to play with the badge.
Rather than risk losing another retracting spring, I reminded him that repeatedly pulling and releasing the lanyard is a good way to lose a finger. So he asked if he could wear it, instead.
I helped him clip it onto his waistband and he immediately ran to my wife to show her how much he’s like me. This included dancing and gyrating like a madman while singing an impromptu song that went, “I am a dad, I am a dad — see my badge! See my badge!” It made me look ridiculous as an impression, but I was touched nonetheless.
Tonight we were at the mall, trying hard to get out. I’m not sure how we came to be there; I never can remember in the wake of the inevitable PTSD. But the armloads, demands, unannounced stops and tension were adding up at equally logarithmic rates.
During a prolonged bathroom stop for our nine-year-old (Doodlebug, or Scooter), the kindergartener (Sugarbear, or Stinker) begged us to buy him a bottle of water from the vending machine while we waited in the hallway outside the men’s room. My wife pulled out her wallet to look for change. This required a shift in parcels and she didn’t know what to do with her purse once she’d removed her wallet.
Sugarbear offered his help again. In fact, he practically begged to hold her purse for her while she fed the money into the machine. He put the strap over his shoulder, looked at us and grinned. My wife asked him, “Oh, are you me now?”
To which he replied, in sort of a deep, rumbling growl, “I am a mom! I make the rules that everyone has to follow!”
This was just the lift my spirits needed. Even my wife, henceforth to be known as The Enforcer, knew that I’d won this round.
“Oh, sure,” she said later. “I get the grumpy voice. You get the song and dance.”
That’s what being a dad is all about, Sweetie.