Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Finishing Second to Mom is heartwarming but frustrating

For my new column for the Greeley Tribune, I"ll occasionally write a personal column, as I did last month about the Daddy Spot. This is my second one. I thought I would share it again.

A couple quick things:

• I am Mr. Split Personality. I"m just crushing the cash games right now (three-tabling $25 NL on Ultimate Bet), but my SnG game has gone in the tank. I"m still making good decisions, but all my good hands have not held up or I'm just running into monster coolers. But my Mookie game is strong, as last week's third-place finish and fourth-place position on the leaderboard shows.
Of course, this is much better than tanking the Mookie and the cash games and doing well in SnGs, so I'm not complaining.

• Speaking of The Mookie, I'll be there tonight. It's been a blast lately with the good turnouts.

Here's the column:

There is nothing in this world that warms my heart more than when Jayden says, "Daddy!"

But I don't hear it as often as I'd like.

"Mom?" Jayden says to me as Kate drives away for a break with her friends, leaving him in my care at Pheasant Run Park during a glorious evening.

Jayden is a couple months shy of his second birthday, and he's learned to say a few words. He can't put together sentences yet, but one word usually does the trick. "Mom?," of course, means "Where the heck is Mom?"

He asks that 10 more times as our mini-van drives away.

In our home, Mom, not Daddy, is King.

When Kate places him on the bed in the morning, in the few minutes I'll have with him before I have to get ready for work, Jayden usually cries out of fear that Mom will go away. At night, when I'm excited to see him, Jayden squirms when I pick him up, angling his way back to Mom. When I open my arms as he watches "Cars," he'll nod his head "No" and nuzzle up next to Mom.

It's not all bad. When I lay on the floor, Jayden inevitably can't resist the urge to dogpile me. When he's playing in the backyard, Jayden usually comes in to "ask" me to join him (the kid already knows his father). And when I come home, he always says, "Daddy!"

Then he goes back to Mom.

"Mom?" Jayden says to me at the park, in between slides down on his belly while he says "weeeee!" He just saw a woman get out of another minivan who looks like a mom. She is a mom. Just not Mom.

"Go play," I say.

I've got no one to blame for this but myself. I put in my fair share of time, even watching him on Fridays, one of my "weekend" days for working Sunday, but Kate puts more hours than me. She gets up with him early to watch cartoons, feeds him breakfast and takes him to day care. She is extremely good at being Mom.

But other times I wonder if it would make a difference if I, say, fixed him breakfast (we'll find out soon enough, when the twins arrive). After spending all day with him Friday, on Saturday morning, Jayden favors Mom once again. Jayden doesn't hand out extra credit for a day spent with him. Either that or Mom gets awarded double points.

I have to admit, sometimes I get a little jealous at being second fiddle, even when I realize that my mom is the first person I call when I'm sick. And I'm 35.

I also know our roles are different. I'm the one Jayden can dogpile. I'm the one who throws him under the bed to make forts. I, more than Kate, take him to the park.

"Daddy?" Jayden says, in the distance, as he struggles to find his way through a plastic tube filled with screaming children. "I'm here," I answer.

Jayden appears a moment later, after another trip down the slide, with his arms outstretched to me, so I can pick him up and put him on a wheel that spins around and around. He laughs. I laugh. He turns to look at me and touches my nose. I pretend to eat his hand. He laughs and wants to be put down. He runs off to the slide again.

"Daddy!" he says, again, before I tell him it's time to head to the car and grab some dinner. It's times like these when the jealousy fades, and I feel good about my place in his world.

Then, as we're walking back to the car, he looks over at another mini-van that's just pulled up. A woman yells at her kids to get in the car.

"Mom?" Jayden asks and looks at me.


— Dan England covers the outdoors, entertainment and the environment for The Tribune. His column runs on Tuesdays. If you have an idea for a column, call 392-4418 or write


VisionRee said...

i think that extra 9 months means your wife gets dibs on being king.

CarmenSinCity said...

Great article!

I'd be willing to make a trade if I was the mom.

I'll let you be the "king" if you take the baby weight and the stretch marks too!

jen said...

I think it might be different with the girls :)

Paige said...

Hi there. I linked to you off of Stacie's Twinkies page. A word of hope to you: My daughter simply dotes on her daddy. She is with me all day long and at the end of the day nothing makes her happier than leaping at her daddy as he walks through the door. If your newcomers are girls you might find yourself in a very different situation.

Good luck.