Friday, May 19, 2006 | My son, Owen, officially turns two months old on May 21 and I can’t understand what I did without him.
I love my 3-year-old daughter, Alex, with all my heart, soul and mind and watching her grow and experience life gives me endless amounts of pleasure.
What Owen gives me right now is a guilt-free excuse to sit and watch television.
Owen is definitely a mellow baby. Except for feedings, he sleeps pretty well and he’s not given to crying. Of course, that might be because I haven’t accidentally dropped him.
But he’s at his most mellow when he’s in my lap on the couch and we’re both watching either the Padres, American Idol or simply channel surfing.
Sometimes he sleeps, sometimes he smiles but always he gives me something I’ve never had until then: Confidence in my abilities as a parent.
You see, anyone who spends any time with my wife and I quickly figures out that she is a better mom than I am a dad. And she’d probably be a better dad if pressed.
She grew up wanting to be a parent so she takes the responsibility very seriously and understands Owen and Alex’s needs intuitively.
Me? I’m better at showing my kids creative approaches to life and art and an appreciation for the finer things in life and also television.
However, not a day goes by when I don’t secretly fear that I will be exposed as a fake parent who doesn’t know what he’s doing.
Oh, who am I fooling? I’m exposed every day. Just a few seconds ago, Alex had a runny nose and wouldn’t let me blow it. She wanted Mommy to do it instead. She was having a crying fit so I thought I’d try and stop it by distracting her.
“Alex, are you a big girl?”
“Wha?” She wailed.
“Are you a big girl?”
“Well, then, listen to this…” and started my own Jersey Boys tribute by singing to her “Big Girls. They don’t cry-yi-yi. Big Girls do-hon’t cry.”
As I hoped, she was temporarily distracted. But only temporarily. Then she started crying but I was on a role and kept on singing. Yeesh (because I still have that song in my head).
My wife had to step in and mellow her out and did so with patience, understanding and love.
Me? I sneaked out of the room and went back to where I am right now: Writing this column while staring at Owen in his bouncy seat as he quietly forms what looks like a smile.
My wife. I admire her and respect her and am in awe of her child-rearing ability.
It’s enough to make me feel small. And I did. Until Owen came around.
As good as my wife is as a mom, she’s not as good at mellowing out Owen as I am. For some reason, he relaxes when I hold him and sprawls out over my tummy.
Even better: He is at his quietest when I am watching TV. That means my wife can spend some quality time with Alex before she goes to bed and not worry about two kids.
It also means that I can watch TV without guilt or fear of getting caught when I’m supposed to be helping out around the house.
It’s like God is answering my prayers.
Yes, I know things will change in the future. Owen will grow up, develop a personality and a reasonable energy level and these quiet moments will fade away to be replaced with arguments about borrowing the car or playing music too loudly.
But, for now, I appreciate being Owen’s baby whisperer and cherish the private wordless moments we’re sharing in front of the boob tube.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, Owen and I have a date to watch Judge Judy.