For those of you who have been reading this blog with any sort of regularity, you will know I am a married father of two girls (for those of you who don’t read regularly, now you know). It is me, my wife, my two girls, my dog, my cat, and the two goldfish. The dog and cat are also both female. As for the fish, I have a sinking suspicion they are also female though I’m not quite sure how to verify this. Now I’m no good at math but if my addition is right, that is 7 females (I’m counting the fish) to the 1 male in my house. This equation catapults me past the Jack Tripper and Dan Conner zone and directly to the Chief Kanisky from ‘Gimme a Break’ zone for male to female ratio in a house.
This ratio has presented a certain dynamic in my house. A dynamic lined with pink flowers and sun dresses. A dynamic that has put my testosterone to the test.
I would consider myself a regular guy. I still wear t-shirts I wore in college a decade ago. Most of the time, I use the bar of soap instead of shampoo in the shower. I can blow my nose by simply pressing in one nostril and blowing as hard as I can through the open nostril. I have urinated in public, I laugh when someone farts (the louder the funnier), and ignored directions when in the car. Now that I am writing this, it is not so hard to understand why men are so disgusting…but I digress. I enjoy sports, action movies, any magazine that has an annual swimsuit issue, and television shows that involve breaking or blowing things up. I had some rough edges, to say the least.
But those once rough edges have been softened by estrogenical erosion that has been gradually wearing my manhood down like a stone on the beach. I noticed a change 9 years ago when my first daughter was born. Along with the baby talk and dirty diapers came new found emotions. Where once stood a disgusting, stereotypical man now stood a dad (covered in poop and spit-up). Any lingering ideas of attempting to maintain my manhood disappeared when my second daughter was born.
Not that I wasn’t ready to give it the old college try. I have diligently worked to influence my children but to no avail. In fact, not only do they ignore me (a trait they gained from their mother) but my plan backfired on me. As my kids have been able to repel my suggestions to wipe their noses on their sleeves and lessons on how to get real distance to your spit, I have been a complete sucker for their suggestions.
I am “Grandpop” to 6 different dolls. I have allowed my room to become a school, or a doctor’s office, or a house for my “grandchildren” or whatever my kids deem it to be at the time. I don’t build futuristic spaceships or cities out of Lego’s; I am an interior decorator for Barbie’s mansion. Putting the toilet seat down has become such a habit, I do it in public restrooms too (granted it’s with my foot but still). I have tea parties. I have forgone important playoff football games for Wizards of Waverly Place. I barely have a section in my own closet let alone a ‘man-cave’. I don’t think pink is such a bad color and I know my kids may never care about the ‘Miracle in the Meadowlands’ or Mike Schmidt.
None of this bothers me.
I have been put on this planet for my kids. Without them, I’d just be a man and a disgusting man at that. I have put most of my manly endeavors in the rearview mirror as I have embraced whatever it is my kids want me to do or need me to do, even if it is “burping” an American Girl doll. Because what they want and what they need is infinitely more important than what I want or need (unless it’s a nap, then I might need 20 minutes).
I may complain from time to time, but in reality, I don’t feel like any less of a man. In fact, the definition of a man in my house doesn’t have to even include crotch grabs, farts, arm wrestling, and fantasy football drafts. The definition of a man in my house is one that includes tea parties, polka dot colored walls, babysitting my “grandchildren”, always walking down the pinkest aisle in the toy department, cuddling, helping put on training bras, dealing with crying fits because someone’s feelings were hurt, folding panties, crying at a sentimental movie (or commercial now), turning my head whenever I hear the word ‘Daddy’, staying up at night to make sure a 6 year old goes to the bathroom, protecting two girls from the dangers and fright of thunderstorms and “monsters”, adoring the two people who are most important to me and most importantly, making sure I remember to put the toilet seat down.