For the most part, I'm a pretty average father. Some days I'm all kisses and comedy, and other days I'm crankiness incarnate. Friday, our last day of Spring Break, was a good day. Somebody, put a second tally mark on the Daddy Belt.
I kicked off our final day of "vacation" by flipping up a batch of pancakes. I've written about my expertise in the kitchen arena once or twice, so let it suffice to say that I engage in cooking with great reluctance. I was committed to making this a good day though, and I had refused my daughter on the pancake request earlier in the week. So, not only did I make some positively undisgusting pancakes, but I even made a few in the shape of Mickey Mouse. Me! Artistic! Cooking! Quick, check on the other horsemen.
It's remarkable to see my daughter's reaction to something as dopey as a Mickey Mouse-shaped pancake. Sincere surprised delight. I have no idea what I'd have do to my wife to achieve the same level of joy in her. Maybe one of those orgasm things that seem to be all the rage in feminist circles. Dunno.
Afterwards we watched Survivor together (which is a treat for my daughter, and only makes me feel a little guilty, so overall the karmic change is positive) and then ran a couple errands. Nothing thrilling there, but it was all leading up to one of the classic moments of parenting....
That afternoon, I whipped out my trusty wrench, swore a few times, considered calling my wife for help, struggled a bit, and then successfully removed the training wheels from my daughter's bicycle! I strutted around, flexed my tiny pecs for the neighbors, and then brought my daughter out to see.
A few minutes later we were down in the parking lot of the nearby private Catholic school, breaking into their parking lot. I live in a hilly neighborhood, so this lot was one of the few wide-open flat spaces near us. I assured my daughter that this would be ok. The gate really wasn't secured very well at all. I guess at this point, I'm just gambling that in the religious roulette wheel of life, Catholicism won't be the winner.
Let's! Go! Kabba-lah!
Anyway, I spent an exhausting 30 minutes, hunched over, while running, and holding onto the seat of my daughter's bike. I promised her that I wouldn't let her fall on this first outing, so I made sure to keep her upright. She really did pretty well. I taught her to put her feet down when the bike comes to a stop, and how to lean into a turn, and I think she started to get the feel for keeping her balance on the bike. I realized afterwards that it would have been smart to read up a bit on how to teach someone how to ride a bike, but it seemed straightforward when we left the house. Sort of like the proverbial riding of the bike. Now that I think of it though, I guess that expression refers to remembering how to ride, not learning how to ride. Regardless, there's a proverb in there somewhere, and that's good to have in the parking lot of a Catholic school.
The whole effort smacked of the sort of parenting that you see in movies. It hardly seemed real. We didn't quite get to the poignant moment, where I let go one final time and she rides off, unassisted, cementing the metaphor of a daughter on her own. We'll leave that Hallmark moment for another day.