By: Michael J. Foster
Being well on my way to thirty-two and a new
father, I find myself continually amazed. But
not with the expected cuteness and wonderment
of the spontaneous antics of children, but rather
with the desperate lengths I will go to entertain
my 18-month-old son.
It usually begins with a harmless
phrase, "Alden, watch Daddy!" or "Look
what Daddy can do!" As soon as his blue
eyes turn upward and our tortured cat escapes
the grasp of sticky banana fingers, I shamelessly
enter into "man without dignity" mode.
This is the duality of the man-father. Like
any man, I extend "please" and "thank
you," attend church on Sundays, and pay
taxes (even under protest). When a boy becomes
a man, he customarily leaves goofyness and crude
behavior behind. No longer does he urinate his
name in a snow bank or use his sister's doll
as third base.
But a father is strangely different. Despite
his noble resolutions to set a good example
for his children, nothing will motivate a father
more than a screaming unruly child. The fine
art of placating begins.
Like any circus performer, my personal routine
is varied, but it usually begins with a pathetic
display of Jim Carry-esque facial contortions
and tribal-like dance exorcisms. Props are preferred
and juggling is a prerequisite (Batteries definitely
My bizarre gyrations excite the family dog and
he begins nipping the back of my knees as I
bound from the couch to the coffee table. This
is not so bad because at least it keeps my weary
body moving and the baby happy.
Perspective - Only in our house could you see
an out-of-shape man with a plastic donut on
his head dancing with a German Shepherd to the
sounds of cartoon theme songs while a diaper-clad
toddler spins himself into unconsciousness.
After a couple revolutions on the ceiling fan,
I stick my landing perfectly drawing tens from
the judges (but only a 9.1 from the Russian
judge). The stuffed animals and little plastic
people parts cheer wildly! "USA, USA!"
Wisely, my wife has already dialed the "9"
and "1." Just as this episode began
with a phrase, so it ends. "Oh God, I think
I pulled something."
© Copyright Michael Foster 2003