Disclaimer: This post was mostly written at the end of Valentines day/ Daughter week (a made up Facebook holiday) if you can't use your imagination and pretend it's February 17th for about 8 paragraphs this post may not be for you. Sure, I could edit it more to bring it up to date but why should I? Look, I'm giving you something marginally entertaining to read for free for the next 7 minutes so just read it already!
I just learned on Facebook that this week was “Daughter Week” So on top of feeding my daughter, playing with her, paying for her clothes, doctor bills, and preschool, bathing her, combing her hair, strapping her into her car seat, wiping her ass, driving her to school, and dropping everything when she says “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” I’m supposed to get her a card or something?
Ok, ok, I’m exaggerating…she sort of wipes her ass now.
Is it just me or did none of these things like “Daughter Week” exist before Facebook? Also, (sorry, this is my last complaint about fake holidays) is it a coincidence that it’s also the same week as Valentines day? I’m not ‘conspiracy guy’ but it seems weird right? Lucky for me, my daughter doesn’t use Facebook yet so she has no idea that she may be missing out on extra swag, but even if she was aware I’d probably just say, “I wrote about you on my blog! What more do you want?”
“Chocolate!” She’d probably say.
Fake holiday complaining aside, it’s interesting that this week happens to be “Daughter Week,” because I had planned on writing about her before even knowing any of that. My son, her usual weekend playmate, was sick this past weekend and so he spent the majority of his time on couches, in bed, and watching other people play video games on the iPad (that’s a whole other blog post!). With her brother literally laid out this paved the way for a Daddy-Daughter playtime marathon and I thought I would compile a few facts for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of playing with a 4 year old for three days straight (at least what it’s like to be around mine).
The first and most important thing to understand when playing with a 4 year old in Batgirl pajamas is that you will not be doing any independent thinking! She has been anticipating a grown-up’s full attention since the moment she woke you up at 6:30a.m. A daily occurrence, where her and her brother enter our bedroom like a couple of tag team wrestlers (sometimes there are actual costumes and masks) and let us know they are awake so that they can rumble into the living room, turn on Netflix cartoons at an inappropriate volume, leap off of furniture, make forts out of pillows and keep my wife and I from returning to a full sleep. Well, we sleep a little, but it’s the kind of sleep where you’re awake and you lay your head down, but you’re getting such crappy sleep you might as well get up. Anyway, with her tag team partner on the mend my daughter had a playtime itinerary on a mental clipboard with a lot of material to get through so my primary job last weekend was to “Pay attention daddy!”
The second fact that must be acknowledged when playing with a 4 year old is that you (the grown-up) will be contorting your body into some ungodly positions that require an ice pack and some ibuprofen to recover from. I don’t know when ‘laying on the floor’ became something that my body couldn’t do without getting pulled or numb or needing a shot of cortisone but apparently that’s the reality I’m dealing with these days. One of our activities involved putting up a play tent (item number 3 on the itinerary). This activity seemed innocent enough until I found myself in the fetal position causing the edges of the tent to take the form of my butt and love handles with my hands and feet pouring out the front flap thingy, whilst various kinds of pretend camping gear was piled on top of my awkward, twitching, heavy breathing blob of a 'Dad-body.' I don’t want to say that being buried alive is something I can compare this to, but when my daughter decided that the finishing touch was going to include her own 40 pound body heaped on top of all that ‘gear’ I might have peed a couple drops.
The third fact is that you won’t be capable of keeping all the little toys straight. Playing Animal Hospital with Beanie Babies is fine, they are all just regular animals, but when the 4 year old keeps adding in different toys and then even SHE can’t keep them straight it becomes rather confusing rather quickly. “Ok, I’ve got this Shopkin on the stretcher what should I do now?” I said inquisitively, “Well, Daddy next you have to…hey that’s not a Shopkin that’s a Num-Num!...oh, wait I don’t know what this one is called!” I feel like no matter what I will never get the names down:
Me: “How bout this one, is this a Shopkin?”
Me: “Is it a Num-Num?”
Me: “Well what is it?”
Her: “It’s a little dolly from La la lucy land!”
Me: (eye roll, this was an actual interaction we had)
Finally, and most exhausting, is the fact that no matter what happens I will not take control of the agenda. Even when I ended the playtime to check on her brother, or do some necessary house work, she finds a way to make it her own activity because asking her to play alone for 20 minutes is like asking her to arm wrestle a brown bear. Putting your foot down and ending play time in that moment doesn’t mean playtime is over, it means now Daddy’s activity is an extension of playtime.
Me: “Ok, time for daddy to go do the dishes.”
Her: “I wanna help!”
Me: “Ok, time for daddy to fold the laundry.”
Her: “I wanna help!”
Me: “Ok, time for daddy to work on the computer.”
Her: “I wanna push the buttons!”
Me: “Ok, Daddy has to go take a poop.”
It might sound like I'm complaining about my daughter, but its actually quite the contrary. I paid a lot of attention to her this past weekend because the clues that my kids aren't toddlers any longer are filling a sack that's getting too full to carry. The tiny fist I used to hold crossing the street, that I could have mistaken for a large grape, has now swelled to the size of a tangerine and before I know it, like her brother, she'll need no hand holding at all (well, most of the time). If Daughter week is anything for me, besides a fishy thing I learned about on Facebook, its the wake up call that there are exactly zero toddlers living in my house anymore. Soon there will be only grade school kids and before I know it, adolescents and teenagers. They say kids are supposed to teach you things, least they should if you're willing to be humble and pay attention. I don't know if I can tell you exactly what I learned last weekend, but I can tell you what happened. What happened was that I seemed to focus all my time and thoughts and attention on them while focusing almost zero attention on myself.
Do you think there's anything to learn there?