Suburban Butch Dad Report, early July

I haven’t written a Suburban Butch Dad Report in a while, and some of you may be wondering what the heck is going on with my family.

The Elder Spawn is a full of teen-aged angst and drama, turning 14 in a few months.  And though her reflexive snark got old right away, she does have some redeeming qualities.  She has recently begun to babysit her little sister on her own (without the backstop of a hired babysitter).  That means that my wife and I have more freedom to go out TOGETHER, without a curfew.  This is very beneficial to our relationship, and our general happiness.  In return, we’ve gotten the Elder Spawn a phone, that she pays for by babysitting for us a couple of times a month.

Another Elder Spawn accomplishment is earning her “Anti-That’s-So-Gay” activism badge.  A boy in one of her classes casually insulted someone’s favorite cartoon characters with “They’re so gay” and ES immediately jumped at the chance to expand both his vocabulary and his cultural awareness.  She gave him an extensive list of alternate terms to use, including ‘ludicrous’, at which point he managed to sputter something like “Ludicrous isn’t a word, he’s a rapper!”  ES responded with a ‘are you kidding me?’ look that should have withered him on the stalk and recommended that he ‘try using a dictionary sometime’.  The young genius then protested that ‘books are stupid’ or something like that and continued to sputter before asking “Why do you care so much?”

(my thought at this point was, boy, are you new?  Since most of her classmates are well aware of her family configuration.

“I care because I have two moms and when you use ‘so gay’ as an insult, you’re insulting me, my family and my moms” was her response.  He didn’t have anything else to say at that point, and gave a mumbling apology.

Parenting:  we’re doing it right.

Most of the time, being a Suburban Butch Dad looks like this…

…. all the usual stuff. I go to work, come home to hugs and kisses from my smallest one, an indifferent grunt from the Elder Spawn and then kisses and news of the day from my wife.  We take walks round the neighborhood (the small one, Little Bit, sometimes rides her bike, still with training wheels) and visit with neighbors.  It’s a pretty ordinary life, hardly distinguishable from what my neighbors are doing or what my parents did when I was growing up.

Ordinary on many levels, it’s a good life.  Little Bit, gets bigger all the time and is only a couple weeks away from turning 4 (yes, already!).  She has a very rich imagination, ‘reads’ books by turning pages and making up her own stories, makes up songs and dances to entertain us and her imaginary friends and imaginary little sister with.  She often has more energy than I can keep up with, but she gives the best hugs in the world, and her loving enthusiasm and playfulness can usually get me out of my dark moods.  She’s my little buddy, working in the garden with me, picking fresh peas to snack on and exploring the natural world (she absolutely delights in discovering bugs to show me).

Four years ago, my wife was enormously pregnant and my world was turning upside down in a lot of ways.  A lot has changed in those years, and though some of those changes have been heartbreakingly difficult to deal with, I’m so glad for my sweet baby girl and for the life I have with my family.  How can I not be totally in love with a kid who says, with absolute conviction, to anyone who might question who her parents are, “Mommy is a boy”.


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