Watching dads and kids

This past Saturday’s Globe and Mail featured an extremely lengthy article by Ian Brown in which he waxed eloquently on the joy of ogling – and following – scantily clothed women in public.  I won’t spend any time here discussing what I thought of him writing the article or of the Globe and Mail publishing it.  I’ll leave that to your imagination.  Instead, I’m going to share one of my own joys, that of watching young men – with their small children.  If anyone is scantily clothed, it would be the kids.  And the dads may be naturally attractive or not so attractive, tall or short, bearded or close shaven, shaggy or bald.  What makes them charming is their rapport with their kids, which is unmistakable when they are with them on their own.  I may read more into it than is real, but I love the way they listen to their kids.  I love how patient they seem to be in public situations that don’t always warrant patience.  And I love how they seem to do so well at giving the kids greater allowance to take risks than the moms (or grandmothers) would be likely to do.

My 3 favourite places to watch dads with kids:

  1. The grocery store.  I take great delight in watching dads do the weekly shopping with one or two small children in tow.  It may be my imagination, but they seem more relaxed in the store than we women do.  It doesn’t seem to be as much of a chore for them.  And I love to watch their interaction with their kids.
  2. The university hockey games.  Hundreds of dads come to the games with one or two young children.  Mostly little boys, true, but also little girls, sometimes dressed in frilly pink dresses under their bulky winter coats.  The dads patiently take a child up and down the concrete stairs for washroom breaks and concession stand emergencies.  It’s all part of a special experience that hopefully the kids will remember years from now.
  3. The trail.  Dads are often out on bike rides with one or two (or three) of their kids.  Sometimes one kid will be in a trailer behind him while another is on a brand new small 2-wheeler.  Other times there may be one kid on a 2-wheeler and another with training wheels.  Regardless, the dad makes sure that everyone has as much freedom as is possible “to do it themselves” while being safe, including street crossings.

Having acknowledged my appreciation of the shared roles of parenting and the special qualities each dad brings to this most important of all responsibilities, it dawns on me that I have not been very good at reflecting the richness of shared parental involvement in my efforts at writing for children.  I need to continually remind myself to avoid defaulting to stereotypes in children’s stories.  In fact, I should work at mixing up role definition completely.  Hey, maybe changing my thinking this way will help me with my current writer’s block.  Here’s hoping!

Saturday shopping with Dad

This is the story of Clara Cadoodle,  who lives in a house in the land of Bazoodle.

On weekends she and her brother help Dad ~ by buying new food to replace what they’ve had.

It’s fun at the store ’cause they help Daddy choose ~ what food to take home for them to use.

They like to choose treats like pink lemonade,  but Dad says it’s not on the list that Mom made.

They sit in the cart or hold on with their fist ~ and guess funny things that should be on the list.

“Maybe monkeys or cowboys or elephant ears?”,  “No monkeys,” says Dad, “but there’re gorillas on here!”

Daddy’s so silly, they laugh and they play, and before long they’re done and they’re all on their way.

Back home Mommy asks what they’d like to eat most.   They laugh and shout out, “Gorillas on toast!”

`

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4 Responses to Watching dads and kids

  1. Lesley says:

    I think your approach to “people watching” makes for a better article than Ian Brown’s. This was great, Jane. There really is something wonderful about watching young kids and their Dads. Not that the child involved is little anymore, but it’s fun for me thinking about Bruce and Alison together in Switzerland right now. I’m sure they’re having an amazing time.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Lesley. You know, one of my mental images while writing that was of Bruce running along a path somewhere while pushing Chris in a stoller. I don’t know why that stuck with me, but it did. And now he’s turning each of his kids into globe-trotters. Very special. I hope NYC was special as well.

  2. Awesome.

    Thank you.

    Be encouraged!

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