Of dads and boys

Dot writes: the thing about having a dad in charge of day-to-day childcare is that dads don’t get excited about stuff the way mums do. If I were at home and Ken were at work, and something astounding happened such as Hugh voluntarily tidying his lego away, I would be on the phone to him like a shot (or at least, it would be the first topic I mentioned when next we spoke). There wouldn’t be much scope for a scene such as the one we had earlier this evening. The setting: the living-room. The time: just after dinner. I pulled up the nursing cushion (which is no longer used for nursing) and put Frank inside its curve in a sitting position. And…he stayed there. “Wow!” I exclaimed. “He’s sitting unsupported!” “Oh yeah,” said Ken, unimpressed, “I’ve seen him do that before.” Pause while Dot resisted thumping Ken. Then he added: “But I’ve never seen him do it for that long.” And indeed he stayed there for perhaps five to ten minutes while I excitedly took pictures, before leaning to the side and flipping neatly onto his tummy.

Meanwhile Hugh, after having first a horrible cough, and then a fever, and then being vilely whingy and clingy and difficult and generally awful, has in the last day and a half become much nicer and also taken a perceptible jump closer to talking in real sentences. Convalescence made him cross, and I think my going back to work has been quite hard for him; but children often seem to be especially fretful just before they make some developmental advance. This morning Hugh and I were watching the Walking With Beasts episode about mammoths. “Elunt going a walk”, he said, as the digital mammoths migrated through snowy Belgium. Then he pointed to the mammoth calf and his mother. “Baby,” he said for the calf. And for the bigger animal: “Dad.”


9 thoughts on “Of dads and boys

  1. THANK you.

    I thought I felt the baby move for the first time last night. I punched my husband awake, and he made happy sounds and we joked a bit and he went back to sleep. This morning I referenced it, and later I mentioned it in my Facebook status, which I know he peeks at at work.

    This evening, before dinner, I mentioned waking him up last night, and he looked at me blanky. Had NO memory of me waking him and telling him about the baby. Which is disappointing enough, but my next thought was “if that’s the case, why didn’t you text me all excited when you saw the Facebook status??”

    It’s not that he doesn’t think it’s a big deal – he was happy. But he didn’t get EXCITED. Didn’t ask me how it feels, or what makes me think it’s the baby, or how many times I felt it… questions that would come naturally to girls…

  2. Aww – Frank seems so much bigger already! And nice to see the blue cushion, too. Maybe you need to fit Frank’s knees with an electronic tag in case he starts crawling and Ken deems it not-newsworthy…

    1. Dot

      Sitting up makes a big difference, doesn’t it? And the blue cushion is very useful for this sort of thing: thankyou once again!

      I’m not sure I have the technological savvy for a tag, but I could devise a detailed de-brief form that Ken would have to fill in every evening:-)

  3. laura

    In defence of perceived gender preference: most television animation features male characters. Might that be part of Hugh’s assumption that the mammoth was a daddy? I guess that Hugh may be too young to wish to identify his own gender in the characters. As a young child, I argued with my brothers that Bugs Bunny was obviously a girl-rabbit. Sadly, this foretold of my future at losing arguments.

    1. Dot

      I always thought Merry in Lord of the Rings had to be a girl, because that was what we called my sister (spelt Meri and short for Meriel). I hurled myself at that book rather a long time before my reading skills were really up to it.

  4. Congratulations, Frank!

    It’s too bad this wasn’t “newsworthy.” I’ve noticed my husband loves to brag about Samantha’s skills, but tends to take my lead on which things are actual “milestones.” If left to his own devices, he might not notice something like sitting unsupported, but if I tell him how amazing I think it is, he gets very excited and talks about it for days :-). Men are funny.

    1. Dot

      It’s lovely he gets excited, though. So does Ken, but about the things that seem important to him rather than the milestones the books make a fuss of.

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