By Diane Ako
I think it's a generational thing, that men who are now my dad's age, didn't get too involved in child-rearing the first time around. My dad worked, and my mom stayed home to watch me. A lot of my friends had the same experience.
The other day, I called my parents to come over to watch Olivia so I - feeling burnt out and tired - could go to dinner with Claus. Just needed some adult time, and a change of scenery.
My dad answered the phone. "Mom's sleeping. She's really tired. She fell asleep at 5:45," he said.
I told him that's OK, don't wake her, I'd stay home, no big deal. Trying to be helpful, he said, "Do you want me to do it?"
"Oh, would you do that?" I asked my dad. He visits us only as he pleases, which is fine. The family culture that we've long ago established is that my parents hew to very traditional roles.
Mom nurtures. Dad does what he wants to do. He will assist babysitting, but he never solos.
"Well, how hard can it be? Isn't she going to be sleeping?" he asked.
It was 7 p.m. Olivia goes to sleep at 7:30 p.m. "I could put her down at 7:15. That way you only have to be with her for 15 minutes," I said.
"Oh. I better wake Mom," he decided.
I think it's funny that my dad didn't want to be with Olivia alone for even 15 minutes. He was probably fearing the worst, since he has never done this alone before. They get on very well, though. Olivia really likes him.
I am acquainted with a group of male retirees at the Y. I ran the story by them and asked if it's a guy thing.
I got a story back from Ron, who told me what happened when he babysit his grandchild. "The kid took a huge dump, and after I changed the diaper, I couldn't find a new one. So I wrapped my golf towel around him and duct taped it into place," he shared.
Yes, I think it's a guy thing.
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