Sunday, August 07, 2005

Super Dada

Mike comes home from his first job at 6:00, give or take a few minutes. At 6:01, give or take a few minutes, his second job begins - no downtime, no smooth transition, no bathroom break. The moment his car rolls into the driveway, The Hazel and Violet Show begins. Executive Producer: Mike Griffin.

Picture this: Hazel has no clothes on, naturally, and is likely covered in markers, stickers or paint, or a combination of all three; Violet is awake and has remembered that it's fussy time, formerly known as cocktail hour; it's hot; everyone is hungry, but no one wants to cook dinner; the house looks like a bomb went off and I look like crap because... well, because of the scenario I've layed out for you above. I immediately hand Violet over to Mike and start trolling for something to make for dinner, Zoe comes out of her afternoon hibernation spot to jump and bark and get rowdy now that the big dog's home, and Hazel is grasping and needy and hyper about something. In short, it's f***ing chaos.

And do you know what Mike does? He smiles. He kisses all of us! He's actually happy to be home, and his happiness immediately, blessedly, diffuses the tension hanging over the room full of girls who've been in each other's business since (on a good day) 7 o'clock that morning.

I don't say it often enough: Mike is an awesome dad. He's really come into his own since Violet was born, and handles his role of dad-to-two-girls like a natural. He and Hazel have grown much closer in the last 6 months; they've had to help each other out a lot since Violet's arrival, and I've really enjoyed watching them negotiate the terms of their dealings. They wrestle and spin and jump and laugh a lot. They sing and play guitar a lot. They play ball and frisbee and hide and seek. Hazel runs out to meet Mike's car in the driveway almost every night shrieking "Dada! Dada!" with a joy so sudden and heartfelt that it makes all of us laugh.

By dinner time, Violet is tired of me and Hazel, and is looking forward to drooling all over someone new. She's much more aware of who she's keeping company with these days, and is keen to voice her opinion of who should hold her next. She wants nothing more to do with me once she hears Mike's voice. It's really sweet and endearing to us both that she wants so much time with her dad. Hazel, as an infant, was what we liked to call high maintnance - she was colicky, and she always wanted to be held, always wanted to be nursing, and always wanted her mama - she is still a Mama's girl, through and through. I got so used to doing everything for Hazel when she was a baby that I just went ahead and did everything for her until... well, until I was physically incapable of doing so, which was about 7 months into my pregnancy with Violet. Violet, though (and you have to wonder how much of this is nature and how much is nurture - the question that comes up most with a second baby) is happiest with her Dada. Sure, she wants me to hold and feed her - but when she's feeling really wiped out, or really cranky, she wants her Dada to scoop her up, lay her flat on his forarm, belly down, and gently pat her butt. That's their thing, their special cuddle, and it works like nothing else. It seems so fitting that Violet needs her Dada so much; it sort of balances things out around here. And of course, it makes Mike feel like his dad skillz are pretty awesome, which they absolutely are.

Personally, I think there is nothing hotter than a man who is a good dad. And yes, I know that I am slightly biased, but by that rationale, Mike is the hottest guy I know. He takes great joy in running around the park at full speed with Hazel and her friends tailing after him like miniature groupies. He is the dad who, at playgroup BBQs, is roughhousing in the grass with six little girls clinging to him like laughing, screaming red ants. He'll grab each of them by the hands and spin them around and around until everyone is ready to barf. He has achieved rock star status in the eyes of little Molly, and little Charley recently identified his photo in the SF Weekly all by herself (actually, it was a photo of a rather large, bleached blonde woman with chunky glasses, chest tattoos and a double masectomy who looked nothing like Mike, but it was so sweet that Charley was thinking of him, don't you think?) I think he's especially hot when he's wearing Violet in the Bjorn, or when he's carrying Hazel on his shoulders. I try to take mental snapshots of those little moments, and remember them when I'm pissed off that he didn't put his dishes in the dishwasher, or forgot to pick up the bathmat after his shower.

The fact that Mike takes such great joy in, and responsibility for, his kids, is something that I try not to take for granted. Ours is really the first generation to demand that dads step up to the plate and do their fair share of the child minding, and thankfully so. Our girls will reap the benefits of Mike's easygoing personality, and hopefully his low-key and thoughtful approach to life will leave a great impression on them. I hope that his intelligence and his genuine desire to be kind to people is something that Hazel and Violet aspire to develop. These are the qualities that I fell in love with when I met Mike, and I could never have guessed how important, how necessary they would be, when the cute guy who became my husband became the father of our children. You are an awesome husband, and an awesome dad and I love you so much. I feel blessed that you come home every evening to rescue me from the constant demands of our young, even when you're exhausted and would rather be enjoying a post work cocktail in peace. Seeing you so clearly smitten with our girls gives me a feeling of peace that I can't quite describe. You, in a word, rock.


Anonymous megan said...

And, I'll have you know that at boys night out last night, they all couldn't stop talking about how awesome it is to be dads and friends together and to have such amazing kids.

You are so lucky (we all are, really). Our dads rawk!

1:26 PM  
Blogger llamaschool said...

I'm trying to think of the most effective way to rub this post under my husband's nose. I'd elaborate on how lucky you are, but looks like you already know ;)

4:51 PM  
Anonymous krista said...

girl, go ahead and delete that last comment.

that was a beautiful post. i need a tissue now. sniff. sniff. seriously.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Carlos P said...

Alisyn, I just seriously started crying. You make heterosexuality and parenthood... look... desirable! Who would have guessed?

Miss you and the man, and I hope to one day soon meet/remeet the kidz.

Punk rock mom!

2:59 PM  
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