Im the Man!
Since I became a parent, I have made a point to
avoid taking credit for things my children have
done, no matter how well I taught them. However,
this week, I was bubbling with self-pride twice. I
couldnt help it.
The first accomplishment of mine really had
nothing to do with the kids, except that one
precipitated the feat. We had been to the county
fair and met the clown who gave everyone balloon
animals. He was really good, talking to passersby
while he whipped out a cat or a dinosaur or
something that looked like a cross between a truck
and an alligator. It was not long after we were
home when Anna brought her poodle balloon to me,
weeping because it had become unraveled.
She handed it to me with that, Fix this,
Daddy. You can fix everything look.
I gulped. The last time I even touched a
balloon, it exploded. I did not want to be
responsible for killing her new pet. I gently
twisted one way, then another. I spun the end
voila! The dog had retuned to health! It
only had one back leg, but Anna didnt notice.
She bounced away, her resurrected pet barking along
I was the Man!
The second rush of pride came at bedtime. I
always read to the twins at bedtime and their
latest favorite is Are You My Mother?
This is a great choice because it was one of my
favorites as a child and it has just the right
amount of voices. I like to do voices.
I have a degree in Theatre. For twenty five
years, I performed or directed in schools or
community theatres. I have done a little
professional work, but most of my experience is
amateur. Since my schedule of late has very little
room for theatre, I enjoy performing a
little when I read to my kids. Kids make the best
After I read the book, Anna took it from me and
said, I read. I sat back and listened.
She turned each page and read nearly
every word. She is three and obviously only spoke
what she remembered from what I said a few minutes
before. This is an important first step toward
reading and I love to watch my kids progress.
But that wasnt what I was proud of.
She was doing voices.
Have you ever heard a three year old girl say,
Are you my mother? in a voice that is a
cross between Speedy Gonzalez and Chilly Willy? It
is an absolute hoot. Next to that, I think the
dogs voicea old Southern hound
dogis my favorite. She did them all.
Occasionally, she had to ask what the words were
(What I say here?), but she always knew
the voices. Thats my girl.
I know Natalie and Anna will learn to read, and
whenever they reach that milestone is fine with me.
I have no desire to push them so they are the best
readers or the earliest readers when they get to
But (I cant help it) they will do the best
As I finished writing this, Anna came up with
her poodle. She noticed that it only had one back
* * *
Women, it's true, make human beings, but
only men can make men. - Margaret Mead
Phillips is a Stay-At-Home-Dad and freelance
writer. Along with raising his four children, he is
developing a franchise called The Vacuum IS a
Power Tool. It is designed to help SAHDs
maintain that which makes us men, instead of hairy
Mom-substitutes. He earned a B.S. in
Communication/Theatre Arts and teaching
certificates in English, public speaking, and
psychology from Eastern Michigan University. After
six years as a high school English teacher and
Director of Dramatic Arts at Powers Catholic High
School in Flint, Michigan, he changed careers and
became a Stay-At-Home-Dad. www.TheVacuumIsAPowerTool.com
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