Parenting Blog

The At-Home Dad Chronicles: Inside-Out Pajamas and Spoons Under Pillows

On Tuesday there was giddy chatter about a possible Friday snowstorm. The Bear’s buckle hadn’t yet clicked and she was already telling me about a revolutionary, union-culled consensus amongst the 3rd graders to wear their pajamas inside-out and place a spoon under every pillow on Thursday night. Tonight, as I type this. This will, as the legend goes, ensure a snow day, a most-precious day off from school, and, as timing would have it, a glorious, white-washed three day weekend.

I didn’t hesitate to tell her that I’ll do it too, the pajamas and spoon thing, if she thought it would help the meteorological mojo. Her smile at that exact moment, a mix of ‘I just won the lottery’ and ‘triple scoop ice cream cone’, is why being a parent is unlike anything else in the world. If some tech wizard at CES 2013 unveils a way to bottle these kinds of looks from children, to store not just the image but the emotion, joy, and love captured within, I would be the first in line to plunk down the cash to buy it.

A weird thing has happened around here. I have been, from the start but also, and more confoundedly, increasingly the angry parent, the disciplinarian, and the one most likely to verbally snap 1st. And 2nd. And maybe 3rd. And over the dumbest of all the shit kids typically do. I’d let the overall amazingness of my daughters slip out of my mind temporarily when they’d make a tiny mistake, their past goodness carried no currency with me in those gut-reaction moments. They’d spill something in the kitchen, forget to brush their teeth, that kind of trivial nonsense, and I would too often act like they’d just flushed my phone down the toilet on purpose, or deleted all drafts of my book from my hard drive, you know, evil-like shit. I don’t know why I would act like that, I really don’t have a fucking clue. It was the one major black mark on my parenting record book, like a brilliant striker who was also a racist, who flops like a fish out of water, and gets too many cards, yes, I was the Luis Suarez of at-home dads, but without the wicked overbite and racist tendencies.

But, almost two weeks ago I mostly dropped that piece of my parenting personality. I’m not quite at smoked-out-stoner levels of chillaxation, but I am not sweating the small stuff. What is most curious about this change is that I am not trying to not get upset about those things. I’m simply not anymore. And my girls have noticed too, and their ramped up level of affection for me makes me think how much love I’ve been missing out on because of my unexplainable harshness.

So tonight, I will make both of my girls hysterical by wearing several layers of inside-out pajamas, and placing my over-sized slotted cooking spoon beneath my pillow. Because, while they may wish for it, no one wants a snow day tomorrow more than me. Because that’ll be another day I get to spend at home together with my kids, and maybe one that’ll provide, if not a lottery win, a triple scooped ice cream cone for each of us.

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