It’s been nearly seven years that I became a dad.
Seven years and I’ve done the best I could to avoid being the bumbling dad stereotype on tv shows. You know the one. He pours orange juice in his coffee and puts sticks of butter in their lunchboxes.
I’m the modern dad.
I wore the baby.
I carried his diapers in my back pocket and bottles in my backpack.
(Blue bottle = formula. Red = White Russian.)
I went to Mommy and Me.
He’s starting first grade and I’ve made it without knocking back the dad cause or erasing the gains my fellow dads have made.
We changed Amazon Mom to Amazon Family!
I’ve carried the flag well I hope.
Except for that one time.
I was tired. It was early.
He was just beginning to make recognizable sounds.
I was just learning to ignore him.
We were rushing out the door for daycare and I was knocking things off my before takeoff checklist.
Never rush a checklist.
I was calling out the items from memory and he was finding his voice.
It was white noise to me but still distracting. Up until recently I was able to do my checklist in silence. He used to watch and listen. “How does this man do it all!”
Now he wanted to participate and he was bad at it.
Out the door and in the car. Checklist complete. I thought.
Off we went.
He made an excited noise and gesticulated.
“Yeah yeah.” I said.
Surely he was pointing out something he recognized from the endless rounds of flashcards.
“I know. I know. Bus. Car. Dog. Cat. Great job man!”
He gesticulated more. Made more fervent noises.
“I got ya buddy. Kind of in a hurry here. That diaper situation was an unexpected diversion this morning. I know. I know. Bus or monkey or cloud or rocket ship. Great job!”
Again with the pointing.
“Yep. So smart. That is an elephant or a tiger or a dinosaur. Nailed it!”
And this was how the ride to daycare went.
And then we got there and I rushed him out of the carseat and into the school.
And his teacher pointed and said to him. “But where are your shoes?”
And he pointed and gesticulated and spoke pretty clearly.
And I said, “Oh…. shoes!”
And he repeated it in a sweet and a so very nonjudgmental voice.
“Shoes.” He said.
And I said, “Uh, Checklist complete?”
[Shrugs to the camera. Cue the laugh track.]