Throughout the course of a normal day, I think a lot. And as a stay at home dad, I think a lot about many different things. But the one aspect of my life that I think the most about daily is my daughter. She makes me think a lot, and I’ve dubbed these my “Dad thoughts.” Here are the ten thoughts that run through my head each day as a stay at home dad:
“And so it begins…”
This is usually the first thought that enters my mind in the morning upon hearing noises from my daughter’s room. It’s not that I’m not excited to see her. I just really wanted five more minutes to read and drink my coffee before becoming Dad.
“Don’t lick that/eat that/stick that in your mouth!”
At this point, my daughter has eaten breakfast (after refusing five options), and she is now playing with her toys. However, something delicious catches her eye and she simply can’t resist. It may be a piece of dried meat from last night’s taco dinner. Perhaps it’s the dog toy that got thrown in with her own toys during clean up last night. Or maybe she decides that licking the sliding glass door makes total sense. Regardless, it grosses me out.
“Screaming like that does not make me want to help you.”
In the adult world, the appropriate way to get somebody’s attention is to say, “Excuse me?” and then wait for acknowledgement. In the toddler world, such formalities do not exist. Multiple times a day, my daughter will yell, “Daddy!!!” repeatedly when she needs something. She’s also super fond of screaming at the top of her lungs when things don’t go her way. Despite me informing her that this is not the appropriate way to get what she wants, it occurs daily. My ears are still ringing at bedtime.
“Well, then, what DO you want to eat?!”
Every. Single. Day. Breakfast, lunch, and (on most days) dinner. By dinner, my patience begins to diminish more quickly than the speed at which Clark Griswold flies down the snowy hill after applying his company’s “non-caloric, silicone-based kitchen lubricant” to his sled. She also likes to approve of a meal option, but then refuses to eat it once it’s prepared. I think she’s testing me.
“I’ve never loved anyone as much as I love you.”
This thought runs through my head multiple times a day. Sometimes I think it after she slaps me, but then immediately hugs me to apologize. Other times it occurs to me when my daughter asks me to kiss her boo boo (it melts my heart). Most of the time, though, nothing special happens before I have this thought. I simply look at my daughter and know how lucky I am as her father.
“Is it nap time yet?”
It’s around 1pm, and my daughter has likely dropped two or three messy food items on the floor (such as peanut butter, yogurt, and/or rice) and refused to pick them up, requested to watch Frozen yet again, attempted to move the dining room chairs into the living room (and subsequently became enraged when she realized that pushing chairs on carpet is difficult), and emptied the folded laundry from the basket onto the floor so that she can sit in it while singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”. I need a break, and so does she.
I regret every single quiet moment I took for granted before becoming a parent. Those moments are so few-and-far-between with a toddler, and sometimes I just need quiet. Quiet so that I can hear NPR during an intriguing news story. Quiet so that I can finally remember the reason that I walked into the living room three minutes ago. Sometimes, I need quiet just so I can have a quiet moment when it’s not bedtime or nap time.
“You pooped again???”
I simply cannot fathom how such a small person can poop so much! It’s almost as if she’s trying to set a personal record each day, and I’m pretty much over it. On more ridiculous days, she reaches four separate poops before her nap at 1:30pm. How is that even possible?!
“I just cleaned that!”
I sweep and mop the floor because it’s filthy. She drops her bowl of cereal on the floor because she’s done with it and does not want it anywhere near her. I vacuum the basement because my mom is arriving tomorrow for a week-long visit. She removes the lid from her cup of juice and tips is upside down onto the basement carpet, smiling the entire time. I clean the glass dining room table so we have a clean surface for dinner tonight. An hour later, she covers her hands with peanut butter and uses the same table as her art canvas. I sometimes wonder why I even bother cleaning our house.
“I can’t wait to see you in the morning.”
Despite the stress, mess, and tears (both hers and mine) each day, this is my final thought about my daughter. Her smile greets me every day when she wakes up. She giggles with glee as she grabs my hand and twirls in the backyard. She accidentally steps on my bare toes, and then immediately caresses my foot while asking me, “Okay daddy?” My daughter absolutely lights up my world, and as she falls asleep on my shoulder at bedtime, I can’t help but think, “I’ve never loved anyone as much as I love you, and I can’t wait to see you in the morning.”