Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.


#136 In which our hero says “night-night.”

I am, I guess, what you would call an “active dad.” That is to say, I participate in the rearing of my children. Now, it’s not like I’m Mr. Mom or anything, and I suspect that The Scientist still does the majority of the work, especially when it comes to Macey (who, you will remember, just turned one).

But overall, I’d guess it’s something like a 45/55 split. Maybe 40/60, since The Scientist takes and picks up from daycare most days. Anyway, I don’t find this remarkable at all, it’s just the way we do it. And it’s not like I have to be coerced into helping care for my kids… I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I mention this only because it appears that we live in a nation of deadbeat dads who can’t be bothered to give a shit about their kids -- or so it seems in the press.

Never mind that everyone I know who has kids is an “active father” who is right there, participating. Okay, here’s the deal: The Scientist reads Parents magazine. I don’t, but sometimes I pick it up and leaf through it when it’s on the table or I can’t find a comic book to bring with me into the bathroom or whatever. And never fail… I’m reading an interesting article about, say, the benefits of reading to your kids. It’s all about happy bonding times, higher test scores, better socialization in school and so on… then, in the final paragraph, there’s always something like, “And you fathers can read to your kids, too!”

Man, I hate that shit.

But maybe I’m dumb, and the reality is that most fathers don’t play with their kids, or read them bedtime stories, or listen to the funny things they say. I dunno.

Anyway, that is just a long-winded introduction to something The Scientist mentioned in one of her posts (which says how great I am; linking to it makes me a bit of a douchebag, I think): I put Lily to bed.

Not always, but most nights. And this is only because my wife is busy putting Macey to bed, which has it’s own challenges, but not quite the… ritual … of Lily.

Here’s how it goes down:

Lily’s bedtime is 9PM. I keep reading about these kids who go to bed at 7PM and sleep until 9AM, but I don’t know who those kids are, they sure aren’t our kids. Lily goes to bed at 9, and if she had her way, this would be more like 11PM. So come 8:30, I start saying, “Lily, we need to go to bed soon.” And it’s usually still kicking and screaming at 9.

We go upstairs, brush her teeth, stick her in bed, then read stories. Once story time is over, I tuck her in, and, of course, every single stuffed “friend” she has in bed with her.

Here’s the whole crew, with notation:
“Night-night Elmo.”
This is a stuffed Elmo that was given to Lily by her grandparents. This is the original bed companion and, unlike all the others, has always been included in the ritual despite a sometimes fickle little girl.

“Night-night Alien.”
This is a stuffed alien that looks like one of the classic greys, except that he’s green. I picked this guy up at a trade show. He’s embodied with a company name, but I can’t for the life of me remember who. I had no interest in the company, I just thought Lily would like the toy. And boy, does she. Strangely, she no longer plays with this toy at all, but he has to be there in bed with her.

“Night-night, Chewbacca.”
This is a hard plastic toy Wookie that we got at Burger King with a kid’s meal. He comes apart and is supposed to be a spinning top, but I never thought he worked very well. However, this doesn’t lessen Lily’s love for him, and he is often requested to be right next to her. The problem is that this guy is only about five inches tall, and sometimes gets lost in the bed sheets or behind the bed. More than once I’ve had to pull out the bed and retrieve him before Lily would go to sleep.
Those are the top three, and they always have to be there. The current line-up, always subject to change, is:
“Night-night Teddy Bear.”
A pink stuffed teddy that we got at a baby shower, if memory serves. He was the most often-requested friend for about a month, then fell out of favor. He’s just a hanger-on, really, and could be dropped from the entourage without issue, I think.

“Night-night Purple Bear.”
Purple Bear is a great big stuffed bear that Lily made herself at a “Build-A-Bear” party. He was very popular for about a week after the party, then slowly her interest waned.

“Night-night Panda Bear.”
This is a weird toy we received a year or so ago. He’s supposed to move or do something, but we never bothered to put batteries into him. He has hard parts and wouldn’t, I think, be very comfortable to sleep with. Sometimes Lily actually banishes him from the bed, saying, “Panda Bear has to go downstairs!”

“Night-night Clifford.”
This is a big stuffed Clifford the Big Red Dog, Lily’s current favorite. This toy actually belongs to the day care, and our care provider once made the mistake of letting Lily take him home with her. I don’t know if our daycare lady realizes it yet, but Clifford belongs to Lily now.

“Night-night, Lily. Mommy and Daddy love you.”
And with a kiss to the cheek, the ritual is over.
That is to say, unless I forget to mention someone. Then Lily chastises me, saying, “You gotta say night-night to Chewbacca!” or whomever.

Guess that’s what I get for being so involved.


Anonymous Eileen said...

One of my best memories of my Dad was as a kid we would have "dates." Mom wasn't invited. he would pick me up at my door (often there were flowers) and we would go out for some dad/daughter time. I can tell you when I started dating for real the bar was already pretty high.

12:45 PM

Anonymous janice said...

Good Dads of the world Unite!

2:39 PM

Blogger dressagemom said...

Don't forget one of the cutest things - that Lily says "perkle" instead of purple for her Purple Bear.

1:00 PM

Blogger craig said...

That's true. "Daddy! You didn't say night-night to perkle bear!"

1:52 PM


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