On a rainy day last week, my husband and I took our two girls to the pool at the gym so our toddler could splash and play and our four-year-old could (literally) get her feet wet before swimming lessons begin. I did a frantic form of water aerobics while trying to keep up with our little one, who was running along the pool deck threatening to jump.
Meanwhile, my husband tried to encourage our oldest to float on her back, blow bubbles and kick her feet. It wasn’t going well. She’s suddenly scared of swimming, and she was grabbing onto Daddy wherever she could find a grip. He remained calm, and I wasn’t surprised to see that. He is — in most parenting situations — calm.
Which is why I am thinking carefully about what my kids should get me for Father’s Day.
That’s not a typo.
I picked their Daddy. He’s a good one. I should get the gift.
Consider the evidence:
- When our firstborn, dainty daughter displayed her talent for creating projectile poop as an infant, Daddy took it in stride, diapered her up and cleaned the rug. And the wall. And himself.
- Our toddler does not regularly sleep through the night. She’ll be two in August. It’s a bit of a nightmare, but it would be a lot worse if I were the sole solace at three in the morning. In fact, Daddy is the one skilled at getting her back to sleep, and he performs this task without coming back to bed and smothering me with a pillow. Although there’s no telling whether he has considered doing so.
- When the repetitive nature of parenthood – Read “Llama, Llama, Red Pajama!” Again! Read it again! – gets intense, Daddy does not sweat it. He reads the same books, plays the same games and sings the same songs over and over. And over.
- Daddy is Safety Man. He is the one in our house most likely to spot the unplugged outlet or the choking hazard disguised as a toy. Today, he teaches the girls about the dangers of hot stoves and plastic bags. Tomorrow, I suspect he will be the first to warn them about boys in cars.
- My husband grew up camping with the Boy Scouts, woodworking with his grandfather and watching a whole lot of baseball, basketball and football. And while girls can certainly do all of those things, ours have not yet shown any interest in these activities. So Daddy colors and plays dress-up and watches one Disney princess movie after another. And he has never wished that it were any other way.
Our afternoon in the pool gave me a chance to watch my husband do his thing, and it inspired an idea for my Father’s Day gift. Perhaps the girls could send me off to a spa day and some solo time beside the pool at Ross Bridge while they stay home with Daddy. It seems a fitting way for them to thank me.
Country-Fried Mama is a transplanted Yankee raising two girls in the land of college football, sweet tea and refined manners. Visit her blog at www.countryfriedmama.com and follow her on Twitter @countryfried.