Parenting Blog

On Masters of Sex and Thoughtfulness in a Sock Drawer

The Mouse was crying again, emotional spill over from the prior evening when she watched the Bear’s already cool bed transform from the skyscraper variety to the kind with a starlight roof. She wailed at what she didn’t have, at what her sister did just a few feet away on the other side of their shared purple & green room. This kind of childhood jealousy is a foreign concept in this house, like a bowl of borscht in a Parisian bistro. It doesn’t make any sense. I didn’t know how to react. I wanted my steak frites back. I craved normalcy. When she revved her salty tear engine again the next morning, it was over the warm plush robe the Bear has that she doesn’t. What the hellz was going on. And why. And if you’re so damn cold, put on socks. Let’s start there.

The Mrs who, during the course of that prior evening, broke out her classic “it could always be worse” stand-up depression routine on the Mouse to point out that, and I quote, “some children have nothing, no mattress, no pillow…they sleep on the cold hard floor.” Now’s a good time to remind you that our youngest daughter is 6. Unintentional comedy lightened my mood from a couple of rooms away. Not sure that’s what she was going for though.

I wasn’t much help during the nonsensical crying. I have several strong suits as a dad, but none are visible when a kid is losing their shit over a bed or a robe or whatever. Then, I am not the most thoughtful or considerate human being. Staying a few rooms away is best.

Here is how I display thoughtfulness. I saw a robe in Target later in that “I’m cold and I don’t have a robe but I won’t put on socks to help myself” day and I bought it. For the Mouse. The crying sockless Mouse. I didn’t go in search of a robe, I thought of it while looking for a last minute Halloween costume piece for my makeshift, poor-man’s Where Waldo? get-up. And I thought of her. Cold. Destitute. On the street without a plush robe to keep warm in the morning. In her heated suburban home. After climbing down from her deluxe 24″ mattress. Ahem. And I bought it. Not because she was whiny and crying. But because I’m thoughtful. Of course, I haven’t given her the robe yet. I don’t want her to even think about connecting these dots: me whine —> me get stuff me wants. But soon, when the menu at our bistro is sane again and memories of the insanity have faded.

Now please indulge this slightly sloppy transition.

I am a big fan of the new Showtime series Masters of Sex. In the show, the title character, Dr. Bill Masters, is incapable of emotional thoughtfulness. He’s a cold, seemingly bitter man obsessed with his own demons (daddy issues galore) and, above all else, his work. I can relate, not to his extreme case but to the essence of his struggle to give even the tiniest bit of warmth in the coldest of winters. In spite of recent successes in the nimble parenting department, I too often lack the kind of thoughtfulness most sensible people crave. I give of myself in other ways that I deem meaningful and poignant but in ways that aren’t always necessary, and often aren’t the brand of comforting the other soul was searching hard to find. Why lend a shoulder to cry on when you can offer a nicely made bed, pajamas that are washed/dried/folded and put away tidily in the proper drawer, and a hot mug of cocoa with homemade whipped cream? Isn’t that nice??

Yes, of course it is, but why not do all of that and be there for the other person physically and emotionally, not simply domestically? I dunno. But I’m still evolving as a man, a husband, and a father. Hopefully, someday I’ll get there. In the meantime, I’ve got a size 6/6x aquamarine blue bathrobe shoved into my sock drawer.

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