Becoming a parent has been an interesting ride for me. I liken it to Josh Baskin’s experience in the seminal classic, “Big.” I’m not going to rehash the plot, because I know you’ve all seen it (and memorized Josh and Billy’s epic rap, “Shimmy shimmy cocoa pop…”), but I feel that my trip through parenting has followed a similar arc to Josh’s adventures. I wanted to be a father really badly – almost enough to swing by the state fair and find a Zoltar machine. Joanne and I wished and prayed and hoped and dreamed and did a seance and thought, “did we just do a seance?,” and it finally worked – in a big way! Thank you Zoltar.

[blunt transition to topical element of post]

Just like Josh, I’ve had some growing pains in the world of fatherhood. I really haven’t had much room to wade into it – it’s been more of a sink or swim kind of experience. What I’ve really wanted out of parenting is to stake a claim on my own brand of fatherhood. I haven’t actively avoided any particular brands of parenting, but I’ve tried to be the kind of dad that suits who I am, rather than someone else.

I’ve struggled a lot recently about things I say to the kids. Usually it’s when I’m in some sort of discipline mode – Peyton is playing ‘keep away’ from Adah and I ask her to stop. Demurely, she smiles (eager to return to tormenting Adah) and I say, “wipe that smile off your face!” WHOA – what did I just say? Wipe that smile off your face?!?! Who am I, Vernon Dursley, with Peyton as my Harry Potter?? Of course I really didn’t intend to wipe Peyton’s smile away. Her smile is unbeatable. However, my moment of regret had me thinking about other things I’ve said that seemingly came out of nowhere, and didn’t represent the “my own brand of parenting” I’d been searching for. Among them:

  • If you do that again…(idle threat – nice move)
  • Not so fast, mister (am I challenging a three year old to a foot race?)
  • I will turn the car around! (basely false, because I want to eat lunch at Five Guys just as much as the kids do)
  • 1….2….2.5….square root of 7….
  • Stop that, or you’re going to your room without dinner (no way would I do this – can you imagine how grumpy this child would be in the morning?)
Please don’t call social services on me! I’m really a good guy deep down. Unlike Josh Baskin, I like being big – so I’m not combing amusement park databases trying to find Zoltar. I still struggle with trying to find my own way of being a dad though.
Have any of you said/done something as a parent that surprised you or that you felt wasn’t like you? How are you all coming in your journey to find your own way of parenting?
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