The Different Parents

Little Z is at an age (2) when she can interact with people on her own, but she needs to have someone with her. I take her out and about a lot and we meet people and it's fun, for the most part. I end up having short conversations with many parents as we watch our children play together or put on our coats after a music class or story time or whatever. It always amazes me all the different types of parents you meet. Parents are as different as people, of course.

This guy I met a week or two ago, for instance. He was a stay-at-home dad with twin boys, Tim and Jacob. I'm pretty down with stay-at-home dads. I think it's awesome if a woman can land a job that pays enough for her husband to stay at home with the kids- and pay for tuition to this lovely music class we do. Wonderful! So, I was talking with this guy after class as we were putting our shoes and coats on. (This is always a comical process, as toddlers never understand that you should not stand in front of the door. No one can ever leave or come in or reach a shoe. The place is set up all wrong, and I find it hilarious to watch, but I digress.) I was trying to steer the conversation away from our kids a bit, and we got on the topic of names... blah blah blah... he was still talking about other people's kids, and Tim and Jacob, and the YMCA and he couldn't stop talking about kids, kids, kids, and I had told him my name and everything and the guy never told me his own name, so I just asked him, and he said,
"Oh, I'm Eric, but most people just call me Tim and Jacob's Dad."
"You're Eric!" I exclaimed. "That's a good name!" (We had been talking about names.)
"Yeah, but you can just call me 'Tim and Jacob's Dad'. Like it says on the shirt."
I looked more closely at his black tee shirt, and sure enough, on the back of his shirt, it said, "Tim and Jacob's Dad."

I'm sure that, somewhere, someone is blogging about what a freakin' weirdo I am. But, man. That's weird! He didn't even want me to call him by his own name. He was just Tim and Jacob's dad. That's it. It made me a little sad inside.

There was one parent that made me really happy, too, one day. She was this real butch lady, talked like a man, with this sweet little one year old girl at the playground at the mall. Pretty much the second I started talking with her, as our kids played next to each other and completely ignored each other (as kids that age do) she was rattling off her daughter's benchmarks,
"She started feeding herself at eight months. Her hand-eye coordination is extraordinary. She was walking at ten months, turning pages of books. She can hang on to a bar and hold her own weight for fifteen seconds..." And on and on. Just statistical data, all of it extraordinary. She talked with just the utmost, complete love and admiration for her child. It was amazing. I was so happy for her. But, also, I was so refreshed by her blatant belief that her child was superior to all others. That's how everyone feels, right? My child is the best! But you never actually say so. You don't just walk up to complete strangers and tell them how great your kid is! (You leave that to the grandparents.) Man, that lady was refreshing. I'll never forget her.


  1. It's a bit creepy, erasing your own identity.

    In London it's very normal to brag about how advanced your child is, and to even use the words 'top percentile'. Sad.

    But it doesn't make me feel like I feel when I see parents shouting at their kid in public that they are stupid.

  2. My biggest fear about getting married and having kids is not being able to be me anymore. The fear that I am suddenly someone's wife or someone's mother and not just Meg who's married with a kid. Sad.

  3. I always told my kids that they were the best children in the world, but that other people probably wouldn't see it that way!

    And Meg, it isn't like that. You can have many identities depending on what you're doing at any given moment. Children can learn to accept that you are a person with your own interests and dreams. When they grow up, they'll like you for it.

  4. Z is in the "top percentile" for head circumference. I'm so proud! That's something it's okay to say in the Midwest, but that's just because nobody really wants their kid to have the largest head- figuratively or otherwise!

    Certainly, there are bad parents, and people who tell their kids they are stupid should rot in hell, if there is such a place.

    Meg, I think my Aunt Lou said that quite well! She practices what she preaches, I'll testify.