I recently told a friend contemplating fatherhood, “You know what? Having kids is totally amazing. It’s awesome. It’s why the word awesome exists. Also, not having kids is totally awesome too.”
I like to warn inform my friends of what it’s like to be a parent. Every day is like a pop quiz. They test your knowledge, strength, patience, restraint and your capacity to love unconditionally (which, fortunately, you find you do no matter what cause they’re your kids).
You don’t always pass these tests. Even my wife occasionally stumbles. We’re into that new age stuff where you tell the truth to your kids when they ask you questions. I’m inclined to lie when it comes to the tough ones, but apparently lying to your kids is no longer in vogue. So sometimes you’re forced to deal with questions armed only with the truth. Lucy asked my wife with the following yesterday:
“How do babies get in stomachs? And after they get there, how do they get out?”
Wife: Well, Lucy, I, uh, that’s an interesting question. You see, people have genes which are a map of your body. And boys have sperm, and girls have eggs and they get together, and then they become a baby. Get it?
Lucy: So, boys have jeans?
Wife: No. Boys have sperm.
Lucy, nodding her head in understanding, whispers: Sperm.
I’d have gone with “Sex…” and then quickly left the house. I’m 99% sure the word sperm will be spoken at pre-school in the next several days, and I will let my wife field the school’s questions as well. Regardless, I applaud her efforts. It wasn’t the greatest answer but it sufficed, and it was complicated enough that Lucy forgot about there “how does it get out” part which might be a little confusing for a 3.5 year old. I’ve seen it “get out” twice – and it’s kind of confusing for me too.
My wife is a really good and thoughtful parent. I tend to struggle a little bit more. As much as I love that little
devil angel, sometimes a girl needs to know that if she gets out of bed again, her dad is going to set all of her dresses on fire.
I know. I’m a psycho. Further proof… The other day she talked me into a bike ride, which I knew would turn into a bike walk, quickly followed by a bike carry-on-my-back. I knew it was coming, so I shouldn’t have been too mad when it happened. But I was.
Five minutes into the bike ride, Lucy tugs on my pants.
Lucy: Dad, will you carry my bike? I’m too tiiiired.
Me: I am zero percent surprised.
Lucy: Me too.
Me: You don’t even know what that means.
Lucy: You are zero!
Me: I don’t want to carry your bike.
Lucy begins to spasm.
“But I nee-ee-ee-eed you to carry it!” (Each “ee” was separated by a convulsing body warning of total meltdown, like aftershocks on an earthquake, except in reverse. Or maybe the tremble of a volcano before an eruption. Yeah, that makes more sense. She was like that.)
And so I said: FINE! I’ll carry it, but this is why I didn’t want to bring it along.
Lucy (meekly): Can you take off my helmet?
Me: HA! And carry that too? Wrong. WRONG!
We start walking up a hill. She’s dragging ass like she hasn’t had water in days and is stuck in the middle of the Sahara.
Lucy: Daaaaaddyyyy! Go slower. Carry my helllmet.
Me: You expect me to carry your sister, your bike, walk the dog AND carry your helmet?
I mistakenly took her silence for acceptance, so when she snuck her helmet on to the handlebars of the bike I was carrying over my shoulder, I went a little psycho killer, qu’est-que c’est, on her.
Me: Guess what? I’m going to put your bike in the garbage.
Me: Fine-fine-fine-FINE-FINE!! I won’t throw your bike away. Carry your helmet though.
“Fuck it” I tried to mumble. It sounded like a muffled sneeze. A profane muffled sneeze.
We got home right when mom did.
Wife: Hey gang! You guys been having fun?
Me: You betcha. Went on a bike ride, then a walk, and then I carried all of her shhhhhtuff home.
Lucy: Yeah, and Daddy said he was going to put my bike in the garbage.
Wife: [Glares at me with “who-did-I-marry?” eyes.]
Like I said—a daily pop quiz. Sometimes you fail.
-The Big Avocado.
<Coming soon: Little Avocado Part Deux: A year in review >
Spoiler: It’s awesome.
PS – Thanks to everyone who actually asked me to write another blog. I know it’s not my best – but I’ll get there. Shout out to: Winky John, Friedo (sp?), Jamal Tang, the artist formerly known as MCKC, Smash, Trotsky, Linder, T-Bear, Tronic and everyone else who thought it even if you never said it. And double props if you’re actually reading this. Big ups!
Also, here’s what we look like: