Stay-
at-Home
Dads
 

I’m 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 couldn’t 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 and…voila! The dog had retuned to health! It only had one back leg, but Anna didn’t notice. She bounced away, her resurrected pet barking along with her.

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 audiences.

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 wasn’t 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 dog’s voice—a old Southern hound dog—is 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. That’s 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 school.

But (I can’t help it) they will do the best voices.

As I finished writing this, Anna came up with her poodle. She noticed that it only had one back leg.

Uh oh…

©2008, Mark Phillips

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 Women, it's true, make human beings, but only men can make men. - Margaret Mead

Mark 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 or E-Mail



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