The Pinnacle of Fatherhood
This past weekend I had the honor of escorting our beautiful daughter to the annual Stepfordville Daddy-Daughter Dance, or Triple D as I like to call it. This is a first for both of us. And with she in her old flower girl dress and Me in my only suit, we head out for a night out under the Stepfordville lights. Just a Dad and his Daughter…
In Stepfordville, few things are bigger than the Daddy Daughter Dance. (The only thing bigger is the
annual luxury import vehicle giveaway…that’s the only way I can explain how everyone here drives one…maybe this is my year to win…) And due to the unrealistically large number of children in Stepfordville, the Triple D cannot simply exist as a single event held in an evening. In fact, there are so many little girls in Stepfordville that the Triple D must be divvied up like chow time in prison. Each age group (or cell block) gets a 1.5hr time slot for which to hold their dance.
We decide to surprise M and get her a pretty corsage to wear to the dance. This, of course, is met with indifference, if not disgust. (Perhaps we should not have opted for the corsage tattoo) After a quick guilt trip, she relents, and agrees to wear the flower…but ONLY until we get into the dance…So, donned with our pretty flower and a scowl, we are off to the Triple D! (After 400 photos…thank you, Mommy)
If I can describe the dance in one word, it would be, “Crowd”…or “Lines”…It starts before we even leave our vehicle with waiting in line to pay for parking. Once we have parked and make our way into the Stepfordville Conference Center and we find ourselves in line yet again. This time the line is to take photos, which, like the parking, cost money. Oh well, you gotta pay to play, right?
20 or so minutes into our allotted chow time…err, dance time, we finally make our way into the main hall. As you might suspect, we find ourselves in line for a third…and final time. This line is for refreshments. (Wow, we actually do get some chow! … the prison similarities are starting to pile up…Is that guy wearing an orange jumpsuit??) We load up our paper plates with tiny finger sandwiches, semi-fresh fruit, and stale cookies. This feast is not to be outdone by the airplane-sized servings of soda poured straight from the 2-liter bottle! Oh well, we ain’t here for the grub. Let’s dance!
We hit the floor with some fellow daddy-daughter cohorts and the dancing commences. As we approach the dance floor, a sea of suited-up middle-aged dads parts to allow us entry. These dads are busting some moves! I see the sprinkler, the running man, the cabbage patch, and even the robot. If not for the little girls, I would swear I am at an insurance seminar mixer! As they say, “When in Rome…” so I start working my magic on the floor with M. Soon, she is dancing in a group of her schoolmates and I find myself moonwalking alone. Now I know how Farmer Ted felt when Sammy left him on the dance floor in Sixteen Candles…awkward.
The rest of the dance continues in this manner except that the other “single” dads and myself make our way to the sidelines to watch our little girls having a blast…without us. It is at this point that I am thankful that the Triple D is so short. There is only so much small talk and little girl screams this man can take. (The loudest of the screams came when What Does the Fox Say comes on…I am still deaf in my left ear)
Before we know it, the time limit is up on our fairy tale evening and the DJ is ushering us out the door in order to prepare the mess hall for the next cell block. We take our girlies out for dinner and rather than cut our losses and call it an evening, we decide it will be a good idea to take them to Main Event (a mega-super-center containing bowling, laser tag, video games…and beer).
Main Event is anything but an event. As soon as the game cards are loaded up with dad’s cash, our girls are gone… So we do what any other man would do in this situation, we get beers and follow them around while they play games. If they were older, this would be equivalent to holding purses and coats while they shop. At least the beer is cold.
It takes roughly 1 1/2 hours for us to collect the girls and exit the mega-supercenter-gameapalooza-bar. The girls guzzle down the candy that they purchased with their winning game tickets on the way home while the dads ride in a silent, slightly beer-tinted reflection.
As I tuck my sweet baby girl in and looks up at me with those heart-melting baby blues and she whispers, “Best night ever” and then flashes an ear-to-ear grin (at which point she looks like a jack-o-lantern due to all of the missing teeth she has…or doesn’t have). It is at this point that I come to a harsh realization.
I have reached the pinnacle of fatherhood. Soon, this little angel will hate me. She will not snuggle with me while we watch cartoons. She will not throw her arms around me and ask me to pick her up. She will probably not even talk to me…She will grow up.
I only wish “chow time” lasted longer…
Disciple of Discipline
Lately it seems that our sweet little angelic daughter is starting to look to the dark side for inspiration. Rare are the days of snuggling on the sofa while we enjoy the timeless stylings of Dora The Explorer. These sweet moments have only come to be replaced by endless battles over what we think M should wear to school versus what she thinks she needs to wear. Pour thing obviously got her fashion sense from her dad.
We still battle at the dinner table each night trying to get Mrs. Thang to eat something besides tater tots. Although, we have experienced a little progress with her palate as she has expanded into the realm of beef in the form of hamburgers and most recently, tacos. Of course, the hamburger must be dry and may ONLY have one slice of american cheese. The taco must be just ground beef with no taco seasoning and ONLY one slice of american cheese. I realize that we did this to M somehow, but we sure as hell cannot figure out how to un-do the damage. Hopefully, by the time M is dating (Age 30 if I have a say) her palate will have blossomed so that she might be able to enjoy mac-n-cheese, or a nice hotdog, or slice of pizza. At least she will be a cheap date, right?
To go along with the wardrobe and diet battles, Mrs. Thang has taken a liking to talking back to us and she has the uncanny ability to tune us out when we are telling her to do something that she obviously does not think she needs to do. Of course, this has resulted in M becoming very familiar with the timeout area in our dining room. I recently walked by the timeout area and caught a glimpse of some markings on the wall. Awww, my baby’s first graffiti. This timeout area is starting to look like a well-used prison cell. There are hash marks that track the minutes spent in timeout prison, there are crude drawings of the things from the outside that M does not get to experience while on the inside, such as the park and TV. I almost lulled myself into thinking that maybe we have been to hard on our little princess…until the last couple of weeks at school.
Mrs. Thang has now taken her undisciplined show on the road. Apparently she has been sent to timeout at school on at least three occasions that we know about. (in the past week and a half!) I am fairly certain that there are more times that were conveniently left out of the daily “what did you do at school today” report. As a result of Mrs. Thang’s willingness to take her bad behavior out into public, we are quickly coming to the realization that timeouts are just not cutting it. We need to step up the consequences for crossing over to the dark side. How do you do this, you ask. I imagine each child is different, but what works for M, is to take away things most dear to her, such as Barbie. (On a sad side note, some of you may recall Stripper Barbie (https://genericdad.com/2010/02/07/is-barbie-a-stripper/). Well, she recently met her untimely demise due to a severe hip problem which prevented her from being able to close her legs…ironic, to say the least…a moment of silence please.)
With Stripper Barbie out of the picture, M now has a new favorite Barbie that has similar hooker boots and skanky skirt, PLUS she lights up when you depress her necklace. This is M’s crack right now, and this is what I took from her when she got in trouble (again) at school yesterday. For a brief couple of hours I had my princess back. She snuggled with me while we watched Glee (her favorite show next to Idol) and she was on her best behavior! We have also taken TV and bedtime story privileges and these seem to work, but only for the short-term. Before we know it, she’s in trouble again at school and I am running out of things to take and I can’t bring myself to spank her. Where does this leave us for discipline options? Perhaps this should have been a Dear Abby letter…