November 17, 2005

Happy homemaker am I

We dads who are fortunate enough to take care of our kids all by ourselves don't like to be called "Mr. Mom". I speak for myself only in that. I prefer to be called Primary Caregiver. Too much? How about Happy Homemaker?

You see, the in-laws have escaped back to Norway and we have a gap in coverage of several days. I took yesterday off from work and will take tomorrow, too. It was glorious. Simply, totally, glorious.

We were on time to school, hair brushed, ready to go. So what that the Girl Child's knees were almost torn out on her jeans? Kindly, no one said anything.

We waited, after depositing the Girl Child, for the appearance of the fire truck. "Harrow, Fireman", sang out the Boy Child! It was a glorious pumper truck capable of holding some 750 gallons. And the Boy Child and I had the exclusive attention of the firemen for about 10 minutes while the school got organized. We got to see inside the truck and I got to take a picture of the Boy Child on the truck. Then the firemen had to leave to respond to a call so we got to watch them change into their gear. The Boy Child was very impressed.

I decided that this was a good learning opportunity, so I suggested, to great acclaim from the Boy Child, that we remove ourselves to the library and take out books on firetrucks. I made him go up to the librarians and ask where those books might be found. We each pulled up a windsor chair and poked around through them until we had selected a couple of interesting ones. We then killed a little time reading other books and selecting other ones to add to our pile. He was very well behaved, although he did object to being called "tomato", as in my instructions to him when he lags behind: "Catch up, my little tomato". (Get it? Catch up/Catsup?)

Off we then went to the supermarket, where, happily ensconced in one of the shopping carts with a pretend car stuck to the front, we "made groceries", as we used to say in New Orleans. Oh, and where he kind of embarrassed me. On the way in, he asked me a question and I replied, either, "yes, sir" or "no, sir". Well, I guess he liked that because throughout the store, he kept calling me "sir". He'd stick his golden little head out of his car and call back to me, loudly, "sir!". I got a couple of looks from little old ladies who wondered, one of them audibly, about the kind of discipline I kept my son under. Embarrassed or not, I did nothing to discourage him. He was having fun and that was all that mattered to me. And besides, I kept changing aisles as quick as I could!

After that, we picked the Girl Child up from school (after stopping to acquire more lightbulbs). She was happy to see us and off we went home where I simply dropped all the bags from the supermarket on the floor of the kitchen in order to speed the preparation of the requested mac and cheese. It was consumed with great happiness and we repaired to the bed chambers to read pre-nap stories. I had just gotten the Girl Child into bed and the Boy Child changed into his diaper when the doorbell rang.

It was the plumber who had come to charge me $120 to do nothing with my outside taps. He told me that I have frost-free pipes, showed me how to turn them off, and explained that nothing needed to be done to them to prepare them for winter. He declined to charge me less than his service fee which I thought a bit much since he showed up, poked his head into my basement, and left. Still, happy enough a report.

The Boy Child went off to bed with no protest and so did the Girl Child. At least, the Girl Child went off to bed and stayed up there long enough for me to install the new portable 250G hard-drive for the laptop so that I could back up all 4.5 years of kid pictures. We'd be devestated if they were lost and it seemed like a good idea to back 'em up.

The Girl Child quit her boudoir just as I was about to start preparing dinner. Cauliflower soup (omit the truffles when making for kids) and chili (omit all spicy bits for kids). Both from scratch.

I sat the Girl Child up on the counter and she kept me company while I cooked. After a bit, while I had been slipping her pieces of yellow and orange pepper, she said the nicest thing to me:

Pappa, I'm having such a nice time. We're chatting about nice things, you're giving me yummy things to snack on, and I'm just enjoying being with you. Its so nice!

Note to self: check on getting her pony.

Seriously, I almost melted into a puddle in the middle of the floor. And before you ask, that's exactly how she put it. I am constantly shocked by how bright and mature she is. Waaay beyond 4.5 years old.

Eventually, she went off to color while I finished cooking and cleaned the kitchen.

Promptly at five, the Boy Child awoke and joined us. The chili was a big hit. He ate his entire bowl (unusual for him) and she had two bowls and a bowl of soup, too.

One small conflict during dinner resulted in my raising my voice to the Boy Child (who was making a huge mess). His reply? Finger pointing at me, shaking up and down, he bellowed: "Stop! Yell! ME!" He's got a bit of a temper on him, that's for sure. I loved it.

After dinner, we made a mess in the playroom, danced to bad music from the 80's, and read stories, all until Mamma got home from work around 7 or 7:30.

Off went the kids to bed and I changed lightbulbs and took out garbage and otherwise made myself useful.

It was just a perfect day.

If I had the financial ability to pay my mortgage without the need to work, I suspect I'd be very quick to be the stay at home dad full time.

I anticipate another lovely day tomorrow. We also, tomorrow, will go to spend shabbat with my grandfather again as we did last Friday.

So, if I don't have time to post tomorrow, have a great weekend y'all!

Posted by Random Penseur at November 17, 2005 02:23 PM | TrackBack

So the elderly lady got onto you for having the BC call you 'sir'? Sheesh. Down here, you know the elderly lady would have gotten onto you for him NOT saying sir or ma'am.

Posted by: Howard at November 17, 2005 03:38 PM

Well, that's just one of the coolest days imaginable. Chit-chatting and snacking while cooking in the kitchen. The kind of times that really nurture a youngun. Hope tomorrow is even better!

Posted by: Tuning Spork at November 17, 2005 08:25 PM

a perfect day indeed.

Posted by: sn at November 17, 2005 08:31 PM

I love hearing stories about your children. Your passion as a dad comes out in every single story you tell.

Shabbat Shalom

Posted by: Linda at November 18, 2005 07:42 AM

What a wonderful day. I hope today went just as beautifully for you. It's such a treat to see how wonderfully connected you are with your children.

And this: "Stop! Yell! ME!"

Totally charmed me right out of my socks.

Posted by: Margi at November 18, 2005 02:53 PM

Sounds like the kind of perfect day you needed, too. Hope today and the rest of the weekend are just as good to you.

Posted by: Jennifer at November 18, 2005 07:06 PM

Shabat Shalom... your entire family has been in my thoughts & prayers.

Posted by: michele at November 18, 2005 08:20 PM

I try to get the boys to always say "Sir" or "Ma'am" as well as addressing grownups as "Mr. X" or "Ms. Y". It works pretty well except for Burger, who as often as not reverses the genders. I'm not altogether sure that it's accidental.

I don't have them call me "Sir" though. My prefered title is "Great and Powerful Dad" or "Your Awesomeness".

Posted by: Jim at November 21, 2005 10:12 AM

I loved this, RP. I smiled all the way through.

You said: "Note to self: check on getting her pony."

Now, don't forget! Ponies are very important to little girls! :-)

Posted by: Amber at November 21, 2005 12:23 PM

This sounds like an incredible and lovely day. You are such a great Dad!

Posted by: dee at November 21, 2005 05:06 PM
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