Pink and Blue ParentingMarch 13, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Posted in Family, Giggles, Lollipop | 12 Comments
Pink and Blue Parenting: A Parable in Three Parts
I: The Good Egg
I am trying out a great new egg casserole recipe. It calls for cheese and lots of it. Is there anything better? I think as I crack, whisk, grate, peel, chop, and mix. Then I take a closer look at the egg carton. Eggs: expired. By two days. Salmonella. I am certain.
I call in my husband for a consultation. He says they’re probably fine. I press. He googles. He says they are fine, shows me the fine print on the USDA web site. I press. “They’re fine!” he says. “Really, they are.” And goes back out to paint or saw or mulch or something that suddenly seems way more black and white, more concrete, than cooking eggs.
For dinner that night: My husband has the eggs. Lollipop, Giggles, and I feast on PBJ. If Husband makes it through the next 24 hours without getting sick? We’ll all have the eggs tomorrow.
And he does. Of course. I don’t ask if all that cheesy yumminess tasted better the first time around. Leftovers are just as good. I am certain.
II: Basketball Diaries
My husband and I are going on a date. (A date!)
Lollipop wakes up from her nap and he sets her up downstairs with Disney and a drink. He then joins me upstairs to get ready. Wherein Lollipop is the sole human creature on the first floor. I have my reservations about this, as I tend to worry. My husband tends to roll his eyes. So, tongue: held.
As I’m trying to find the “fancy” jewelry I hardly ever wear, I activate my go-go-Gadget hearing. The front door is opening. I sprint downstairs as my husband yells behind me, “Is the babysitter here already??”
“No, Lollipop is outside!” I haven’t yet confirmed this. But I know.
Sure enough, that’s where I find her. Standing on the stoop ringing the doorbell. Because opening the door from the outside is not a skill she’s mastered yet. (Tiny detail.) I do not remain calm. I do not take a deep breath. I freak out, which freaks her out, and tell her to get inside this instant, that she is never to go outside without Mommy and Daddy, ever, ever, do you understand?
She says in her squeaky little-girl voice that she only wanted to play basketball with the boys outside, and I can see on her face that this logic seems unimpeachable. I try to explain why this isn’t a good idea. And I fail. Because my heart won’t be still at the thought of my daughter outside alone in the street with cars and strange boys.
Enter Daddy. Who calmly tells Lollipop why it is not OK to go outside by herself. She nods. They hug. All better. (Except for my panicked heart. Which just. Won’t. Be. Still.) Then he says, “Guess she’s not quite ready to be kickin’ it by herself down here, is she?”
III: Hands Down
We’re at the zoo. For the first time as a family. We opt to skip naps in favor of the train ride and tarantula exhibit. Consequently, everyone is a little punchy at the end of a long day. I buckle Lollipop in the car while my husband returns the deluxe stroller we have rented. (Our kids can’t say we never splurge.)
Giggles needs a diaper change. I gather the supplies with one hand while clutching the hood of his jacket with the other to keep him from running around aimlessly, as he does when he is beyond tired.
I close the door. His fingers are in there. I repeat: Door closed, fingers inside. He screams. I scream.
I open the door. Scoop him up. Run for my husband, convinced we need a police-escorted trip to the ER and an icy cooler to pack the surely severed fingers. I am crying so hard I can barely talk when I find my husband. Finally, I point to Giggles’s fingers. All there. Red and puffy, but all there.
Husband takes a look. Pokes them a little. Bends them. Assessment: probably just bruised. Probably fine. Let’s watch them for a few hours and see what happens. I realize I’m clutching Giggles so hard the button on my jacket has left an imprint on his cheek. I loosen up. A little.
He squirms to get down and picks up a rock, shifting it from hand to hand. He stops crying. I cannot. We change his diaper, buckle him in, head on our way. He juggles his rock and giggles. I cannot.
We reassess his injuries at dinner. Fingers are fine. Hand is fine. Giggles is fine. I am not.
Moms (just this mom?) over-react. This is why we love them. Dads (just this dad?) play it cool. This is why we love them. Together, Moms and Dads get the job done. And this is how parents keep food poisoning, insurance co-pays, and therapy bills to a minimum. At our house, at least.