I got to meet LesbianDad last night at a reading for the book Confessions of The Other Mother! I really appreciate her beginning attempts at creating a space and language for the kind of parents that we are -- somewhere between dad and mom.
In practice, however, my particular form of fatherhood unfortunately seems to resemble my own father's rather than what LesbianDad calls "the best of a dad and the best of a mom."
I call this perversion, the "1950s Lesbian Dad." [Let me clarify: My dad was an older dad for me. He and Mom had my brothers when they were 19 years old in 1944, and then, well, I guess you could call me an "accident", but I came along 25 years later. Let's just say that the pill wasn't 97% effective in 1969.]
Alas, we all have our own "worst parenting moments."
This one, for me, occurred at the culmination of what felt like (and actually became) the longest drive home. BioMom and I have vowed now to never drive long distances during the day again. Ever. Big just refuses to miss ANYTHING! Sleep? Why? I might miss something! I wish I could still enjoy the nuances of the Iowa landscape to that degree.
I think he slept to twenty minute naps during the entire 8 hour (which should have been 5.5 hour) drive.
As a result, we stopped many, MANY times.
During the last stop, only about an hour to our destination, we found ourselves at the infamous Dairy Queen.
So, picture this: Dairy Queen in rural America during the vacation months. Not just that, it wasn't JUST a Dairy Queen. . . It was a Braissere! It was that greasy, dirty combination of fries and cream with the floors that simultaneously slip AND slide. At one point Big spit up about a gallon of formula on the floor while I was trying to wear him out walking about the place. Let's just say that when I went to clean it up, I couldn't tell where he had actually spit up.
You get the picture.
Of course, though, all of this did not diminish our appetites. I order a Dilly Bar and BioMom orders the SYO a small cone, and herself a medium cone.
As though arguing in front of a judge and jury, the SYO begins making her case about the degree of unfairness at getting the smaller of the two cones.
Why do I get a small?
Why do you get a big one?
That's not FA-IR! (Note the word became two syllables.)
This goes on and on, the SYO meandering through all imaginable permutations of the argument.
I then make the mistake of getting involved.
Mom gets a bigger one because she is bigger than you.
But that's not FA-IR!!!
Seeing that the fair argument is getting her nowhere, she moves on to the next tactic. While holding her own cone (now actually larger than BioMom's because she's been arguing rather than eating and because BioMom has been focusing on the opposite) in her left hand, she says to BioMom:
Can I have a bite?
Can I have some of your's?
You know, you really should share!!!
Again, this goes on and on.
I think the SYO was also just having fun. Will this button get a reaction? No. How about THIS one?
She knows that this completely pushes my buttons -- asking for more of something when you have some of it in your own hand.
SHUH-UHT UH-HUHP!!! (Note the four syllable pronunciation).
I told the SYO to "shut up" in a DQ in rural Minnesota.
Both BioMom and the SYO stop, mid-lick, and look at me in shock.
Hell, I look at myself in shock.
The only thing I could do at that point is take myself out of the scene. I start walking away and hear:
You can't say that to me!!
Note: I did, later apologize to her.