Child Rearin' no image

Published on July 5th, 2014 | by Richard Black


Freedom from Dishes, Matching Tattoos, Driving to Tijuana and Other Ways to Bond with My Four Year Old Daughter

So Mrs. Black is coming home after an exhausting four day conference and in many ways I’m glad to have her back. Being left to my own devices is sometimes difficult as our daughter Darcy will attest. Laura is the fun parent who takes Darcy out on the weekends to the zoo or the farmer’s marked while I spend the bulk of my time encouraging her to learn how to clean the toilet.

As much as I’ve dreaded (yes dreaded is a harsh word but an appropriate one) the absence of my wife it’s pushed me out of my comfort zone (an event that is usually beneficial as long as my daughter is involved). I’ve had to play both sides of the parenting game, good cop, bad cop and everything in between and the experience has been…quite liberating.

It’s been nice to run things on my own.

The first thing to go out the window was planning for meals. For the past few years Darcy hasn’t eaten anything but fruit, cheese pizza and the occasional bit of turkey. Due to her work schedule Laura rarely gets home before 8:00 most days and rather than perpetrate the farce that is dinner I’ve done away with the meal entirely during my wife’s absence.

I can safely say that I have not cooked more than two “meals” in the last four days. Darcy has been eating a steady diet of raspberries, strawberries, and toast while I’ve been plowing through a few dozen frozen burritos I made during the Bush administration. One of us is remarkably “regular” the other is not and we’ve both enjoyed the free time together, time I’d otherwise be spending on making grocery lists and shopping for produce and the like.

I’ve actually become the “fun” parent and rediscovered the pleasure of my daughter’s company. Over the past few days we’ve met up with a few friends for lunch, blown off camp to go to the movies and been to the pool twice. For a guy who used to bill an outing to gas up the car with his daughter as an “adventure” this is pretty heady stuff. I’m still recovering from the third degree burns I’ve incurred from two consecutive sessions at the pool but that’s a melanoma for another time.

And here’s the weird thing. The one I can’t wrap my head around. Other than my writing output not much has changed. The house is tidy, even clean. All the laundry has been done. I’ve even done a bit of light dusting and dealt with the C.H.U.Ds in the toilet. Granted the yard still looks like I’m tending to a patch of scorched earth and wild violets but on the whole Darcy and I have made out pretty well.

It’s almost sad to think that I’ve wasted so much time during these past three years in relatively fruitless endeavors like securing sustenance for my family.

Being an intellectual I’m forced to consider what other aspects of my lifestyle have been draining time away from my daughter.

I don’t much care for mowing the lawn. There’s an hour right there I could save every week. I don’t much like exercise either which is an hour or so I can take off the schedule every day. I’ve put on a few pounds recently but it’s nothing a session or two with plastic surgeon couldn’t handle and once I’ve limited the families nutritional intake to Ensure I’m certain I’ll be able to keep the weight off and and save a bucks at the grocery store as well.

The real question is what to do with all of this new found time?

I could take Darcy to the zoo or set up a few more play dates but I really want her to think of our time together fondly when she’s not in therapy.  My wife constantly reminds me that the time we have with our daughter at this age is special, something to be cherished, and now that I can see the potential I wholeheartedly agree.

She’s been bugging me to learn how to drive for the past few months, Darcy that is, and up until now I thought the request was ridiculous. Sure there are some logistical details to work out but that kid Shortround, the one who drove Indiana Jones around in the Temple of Doom, couldn’t have been much taller than a four year old and he did pretty well.

Aside from the pride I’d feel at my daughter’s accomplishment being able to drive a car will do wonders for her social standing in preschool. Every time she hears another kid say that he can count to on hundred by fives or a girl who can spell the word “misogynist” Darcy will be able to respond (presumably) with a sneer, “yeah but I can drive”.

How badass is that?

Twenty years ago I might have tried to teach her how to smoke but that’s obviously “taboo” in this day and age. Maybe I’ll just buy her a biker’s jacket instead, something tasteful in leather.

Piercings seem to be all right though, the ears anyway. I’ve been thinking about getting my ears re-pierced as part of a mid life crisis and Darcy’s had a fascination with her mother’s earrings for years. In all honesty I’m hard pressed to think of a more meaningful way to bond with my four year old daughter than to have our ears pierced together? What child wouldn’t want that?

Of course we could also get matching tattoos. Her mother would object of course but that would probably be due to the fact that she wasn’t included. There’s probably some law about tattooing a four year old but now is probably the perfect time to take my daughter to Mexico.

I hear Tijuana is very family friendly these days as long as you don’t stay past dark and there’s bound to be a someone willing to give a father and a daughter matching tattoos in the city. If not I’ve always wanted to visit Oaxaca but I’d probably have to buy a gun just to be safe. It’s been pretty violent own there from what I hear and I’d want to be able to protect my daughter.

Come to think of it this is probably a perfect opportunity to teach her how to use a firearm. I’d have to buy her one first, something appropriate for her age. She doesn’t need a .50 Desert Eagle. I’m not an idiot. A cute little .22 pistol with a My Little Pony emblazoned on the grips would be just the thing and I could get matching nickel plated .45’s.

Wouldn’t that be something?

Of course we couldn’t fly into Mexico with handguns and even though Darcy could drive it would be unfair of me to ask her to take a hitch at the wheel. I’ve always wanted to own a motorcycle and she has mentioned an interest in learning how to ride…



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