"Mommy? Will you play wit me? Mommy, come here! Mommy, where’s the DEE? Want to watch race cars on Dee. Mommy, where’s superboy cape? Mommy, where’s cat? Mommy! dog toots! Mommy? mommy-mommy-mommy-mommy-mommy-mommy-mommy-mommy … MOM Eeeeeeee!
Mommy? Where AH you?!
Mommy? Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy mommy mommy-mommy-mommy mommy-mommy-mommy-mommy-mommy … mooooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmmeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
He can’t find me.
He can’t find me because I am sitting on a stepstool with my knees up to my neck, wedged under the kitchen counter, sipping a warm beverage as I hide from him.
It’s not as if we’re alone in the house. His father is sitting right beside him as the little king yells for his cape, and he yells for his bowl and he yells for his superheroes three.
But dad isn’t mom. For all The Champ cares at this moment in his wee little life, dad is merely a part of the décor that cooks dinner.
This developmental foible of childhood weighs on the man.
FATHER: "What am I? Chopped meat?"
OEDIPUS REX: "Yes."
MOTHER: "Don’t listen to him. He doesn’t even know what chopped meat is."
It seems as though I spend a lot of my family time reassuring the man that the small folks love him at the same instant the small people announce, loudly and without qualification, that they don’t want him to make their lunch, or play in the snow, or do a craft, or change a diaper …
Well, that last one he’s grateful for, but the other things make him feel as if I am the rock star and he is just a wad of gum waiting to be scrapped off an old shoe.
The books never mentioned this. Hollywood never lets on that Mom Love actually competes with Dad Love, and Mom Love has an early advantage.
Such is the case when the little lord font-le-boy toddles into my office, picks up our framed wedding picture from the bookshelf and starts describing what he sees: This is you. This is daddy. HEY! You married? I not want you married."
Sometimes dads are an acquired taste.
I try not to smile, though some small part in my cold, black heart thumps wildly at the idea that the kids want me to read books, and make crafts, and watch them play … and change diapers.
Well, not that last part.
I know this preference is just part of some developmental blueprint that in some previous era would ensure their survival. Such as way back in the 1950s, when fathers knew where babies came from but had not likely seen the event first hand.
Of course, I think about that and wonder how mid-century moms survived if all dad did when he came home from work was bellow for his slippers from children he could see but not hear.
It may be a different show, but I bet the sound effects are pretty much the same.
"This, too, shall pass," I tell myself. I tell him.
"It’s like ripping off a Band-Aid. He cries when you leave, but then he’s ok. He even has fun."
Now it’s my turn to feel like something stuck to a sore spot.
"Or a Buzz Lightyear sticker? Take your pick."