Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Disturbance in the Force

"You see, there are two sides to every Schwartz." -from Spaceballs

The tide has turned. Peanut, forever and stubbornly a momma's girl, has switched allegiances. Could it be? Yes, my daughter has turned to the dark side. She's all about daddy now. (Wait a minute. Who says my side is the dark side anyway?)

Making funny faces
is one of our things
Through an unforseen series of fortunate events for me, I have knocked My Director off the top of the parenting pedestal. Somehow, Peanut now likes me better than she likes mommy. And I will be the first to admit that I have not earned my place through merit. No, I haven't earned it at all. But I have to tell you, it feels good. Strange, but good.

Here's how I did it: dirty politics. A smear campaign, of course. I've masterfully, not-so-subliminally turned Peanut against My Director. She gets a kick out of calling her mom "bossy," for example. Whenever she tells one of us to do something, Peanut and I will look at each other, flash a mischievous grin, roll our eyes and sing, "Mommy's being bossy again." Peanut might even add a, "Mommy, you're Miss Bossypants," for an extra laugh. She'll then look at me for approval, and I'll give it to her with a grin and a nod of the head.

The whole race to number one that I've been running since Peanut popped out has been a no-contest despite my best efforts. But true to her form, My Director could care less about the favoritism. She is not remotely amused by my tactics, however. On the other hand, I am loving it. And what do I do when she calls me out on my negative message? Call her more names, of course. "Mommy, stop being so crazy."

"Yeah, mommy," Peanut will echo. "You're being crazy."

This may make me a horrible parent and husband but I'd be lying if I said it's not awesome to be number one. It took more than five years, but Peanut finally realized how much fun I am. How cool I am. She finally sees the value of a good sense of humor. That's all it boils down to really. I make Peanut laugh. I make her laugh hard and I make her laugh often. I sometimes do it at the expense of others. Most notably her mom, who gladly serves as a constant straight man to my lunatic vaudeville act. I'm a funny guy and Peanut is a very good audience. Eats it up, in fact.

When she was a toddler,  I would tease Peanut like I do now. She, in turn, would freak out. It often led to a meltdown. Or if she was upset and I'd try to make her laugh, it would make her more upset. I was at a loss. These were not my shining moments as a dad. (As a result, there weren't many blog posts during that period.) I didn't understand my daughter and she didn't understand me. "She doesn't want to laugh," My Director would say when my efforts to cheer her up would fail. "She just wants love." My Director was good at that. And with her guidance, I became good at that too. Now Peanut knows when I'm teasing her. "Are you joking daddy?" She'll ask. "Or are you for real life?" (Yes. She says, "for real life.")

Peanut is no longer a baby and is an actual person who recognizes humor, sarcasm, and the skill of of delivering those things with perfect timing. And therefore, I am number one. She knows comedy and daddy is the king of comedy. You name it I use it and she gobbles it up like pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. Physical humor, props, jokes, song parodies. When she spontaneously busts out with one of my versions of a song, I beam with pride. In turn, I repay her with a dance party to her favorite song:


My daughter and I finally get each other and it's the best thing I've ever gotten from her.

There was a day when I wondered when my time as the number one parent would come. I never thought it would, as I wrote about here

15 comments:

  1. This is great and brings back many memories for me as an only child. My father and I would gang up on mom, as she would say. It's a blessing to be able to have two parents that want to genuinely spend time with their kid. Your daughter will be building many happy memories with the both of you.

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    1. That's sweet to say. But in reality, my insecurity and narcissism fueled this relentless pursuit.

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  2. Bud... that's awesome! From your "masterful" campaign (don't think we've heard the last of that from your Director) to Peanut's comedic timing with her remarks... those are good times. I have to say.. what is it with the butt slapping? My little girl does that too... what is going on, on the Disney Channel?

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    1. The butt slacking is both hilarious and disturbing at the same time.

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  3. Awwww, this gives me hope for my SAHD/husband:) My toddler daughter still prefers me and I know it bugs the crap out of my DH, lol!

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    Replies
    1. It's rough. Tell him to keep chiseling away at that rock.

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  4. Still working on it... I come in a close third behind mommy and aunt Tracy.

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    Replies
    1. I hear Aunt Tracy is pretty cool. And what do you expect? You're with them all day. They probably can't stand you. HAHAHA

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  5. I am number one. It's a perk of being the only surviving "parent".

    And being awesome.

    And my knowledge that the dark side may have cookies, but my cookies have M&M's and butterscotch chips. :)

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    Replies
    1. Cookies, eh? I can't do it. The whole recovering fat kid thing.

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  6. My youngest preferred his dad from day one. He would cry when his dad left for work. His first word was a very clear version of "Mama" and by "Mama" he meant dad! He didn't call me "Mama" until he picked up "Dada" later. Eventually, he made the switch to join all of my other minions on the "Mommy-side," so I understand your feeling of elation at having made a successful recruitment!

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    Replies
    1. Wow that's so selfish of you. Your professor couldn't have ONE kid on his side?

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  7. so funny!!! my daughter, who is now almost a worldly 7, used to say "real life, for real" when she was 5....loved that!

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    1. I love when she says "Are you for real life?" Love it so much I try to MAKE her say it.

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  8. oh, and didn't mean to be "anonymous", but not sure how to publish my name...

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