You all know “those parents.”
They walk around with their kids in slings and baby backpacks. They carry gargantuan satchels that hold diapers, an assortment of creams, snacks, enough clothes to last for a week, pacifiers, toys and more children’s books than most libraries keep in stock. They drive mini-vans and SUVs filled with bulky state-of-the-art car seats that look like they belong in a space shuttle as opposed to an automobile.
And when they talk to their kids, they’re goofy as all fuck. Especially with the newborns, “those parents” will even engage in that ridiculous baby talk when addressing their precious offspring. Stuff like “Does Mikey have a poo-poo? Did Mikey do a little poo-poo in his diapey-wipey? MIKEY DID A BIG POO POO OH STINKY STINKY POO POO POO POO!” And they do this in public, in plain view of everyone.
What’s worse, even during those rare moments they are without their kids, they talk about the little rugrats incessantly. I used to listen to them, smile politely and think “If you keep talking about your kid going in the potty I’m gonna fucking lose my mind and kill all of you!”
I used to be so against those parents and on more than one occasion I mentioned that I felt sorry for them, because after all, how dull is your life if all you can talk about is your bratty little kid’s latest bowel movement?
Fast forward to last night.
I worked the late shift so I could help out covering the special U.S. Senate election. The polls closed at 8 p.m. and we immediately set to work. At that point, my job was to call as many Cape Cod towns as possible and pester all of them for election results so we could post the latest figures online to let readers know how people were voting. As you can imagine, it was a pretty chaotic scene.
My cell phone rang and I saw that it was MJ. I thought about not picking it up because I was juggling several phone calls, but I grabbed it and gave her an exasperated “What’s up?”
That’s when I heard Will yell “HI DADDA!” into the phone.
All of a sudden I didn’t give a shit about Martha Coakley or Scott Brown. All I cared about was the sweet voice of my son on the other end of the line, who wanted nothing more than to say goodnight to his dad.
“Nuh-night Dadda. ‘Ove ooo (love you)!”
And so, in the middle of the news room surrounded by my co-workers in a cubicle with no walls, I officially became “that parent.”
“Hey buddy. How are you big guy? Daddy loves you too. And Dadda misses you. Can you give Dadda a kiss? (cue sound of a toddler smooching the phone) Awwww, thanks buddy. Here’s a big kiss back. Mmmmhhhhua! Sweet dreams handsome boy. Dadda will tuck you in later OK? Love you!!!”
Upon hanging up the phone, I could sense my childless friends and co-workers staring at me with equal parts disgust and amusement. I don’t blame them. Five years ago I would’ve ruthlessly mocked anyone who participated in such a stupid display of babbling incoherency and mushiness. And at that time, I swore I wouldn’t fall into the same trap.
Granted, I talk about many other things in addition to my son. I have outsides interests, hobbies, and plenty of opinions on everything from politics to sports. But just wait until you have the most adorable little boy clamoring for the mere opportunity just to tell you goodnight and that he loves you. You’ll be the same ridiculous puddle of emotional goo I was last night.
And that’s not a bad thing.