Thursday, July 23, 2009

8 Things I Will Probably Never Be Able to Do


1) Read enough books to exhaust my mind or reach an end of all there might be to say on any subject or person, epecially God.

2) Speak more than two languages anywhere close to what could be called fluently.

3) Play any instrument in a way that could be deemed virtuousic.

4) Play a sport professionally.

5) Construct a habitable building by myself.

6) Do even routine car repairs completely on my own.

7) Balance a budget correctly.

8) Say "no" to peanut butter and chocolate.

The idea for making a list-blog is completely hijacked from one of my wife's previous posts. I will shamelessly admit that. (I really don't think originality is all it's cracked up to be.)

I start this strain of posts to remind myself of my limitations. As much as I want to ingrain in our daughter a sense of go-get-em, you-can-do-it, boldness and audacity, I also want her to have the humility to slow down, to ponder, and maybe even to pray; to know that life is vivacious, thrilling, spontaneous and exciting but also to know how near we all live to death, and how often we must all endure heartbreak, defeat and boredom.

I challenge the notion that my role as husband and father is primarily to meet all my family member's needs, to make sure that everyone is happy, well-fed, and decked out in the coolest clothes (with all the right, non-pink colors!).

I will probably accidentally sneeze on my wife's arm and hurt her in unspeakable ways. Zee, I will probably accidentally smack your head against the hook on the bathroom door at the Henry Doorly Zoo again, like I did yesterday.

Before I get all bent out of shape listing my failures, I'd like to note that this is one of the most important things I believe marriage and parenting are supposed to do to you: hold up a big, clear mirror to all those thoughts, words and behaviors that are the ugliest in you.

I intend to start keeping track of these things and blogging about them when it's appropriate. Who knows, maybe there's someone out there who is as imperfect as me and will be able to relate. Who knows?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Trucks and Dressing my Daughter in Blues and Browns

From the day we found out the gender of our daughter I feared the masses of pink that would be entering our home. Don't get me wrong, I love pink. Hot pink to be specific. However, I really wanted our daughter's wardrobe to consist of more than pale pink, dark pink, pepto pink, etc.

So after we found out the gender of our daughter one of my very first clothing purchases was a blue dress. Yes, blue. She looked adorable in it. I also bought her a brown blanket because we decided to paint her room blue. Shortly after she was born we were out and about and the Z was wearing her blue dress and was wrapped in her brown blanket. A woman walked up to us and said, "Oh! What an adorable little boy!". I quickly corrected her, "Actually, she's a girl." This woman promptly scolded us for dressing her in blue. "Well, you shouldn't dress her in blue if she's a girl.". I had two reactions to this. First off, lady, this is MY baby. I'll dress her in whatever I want! Secondly, why does blue automatically mean boy? Dressing my baby girl in blue and brown and other "manly" colors doesn't make her any less a girl. It doesn't change her physical anatomy. So why does it matter?

The past couple of days my daughter has been very interested in the construction work being done at the end of our block. There are several trucks, diggers, etc. working hard digging up cement and dumping it into other trucks. This process fascinates her. She woke up this morning excitedly saying, "Trucks! Trucks!" She was so eager to go watch the trucks work that she barely ate breakfast. This is a big deal. This girl loves her bananas. But her plate remained 3/4ths full of sliced banana while she repeatedly demanded to see the trucks. So off we went. We spent almost an hour watching the trucks work. We counted them over and over in English and Spanish. And when it was time to go she was in tears. I convinced her the trucks were taking a nap :)

Once she laid down for her nap, I began searching the internet for toy trucks. And I came across this
Seriously?! Are we so afraid that playing with a dump truck will make our girls think they are boys that we have to paint them pink?

I know that there are differences between boys and girls. Trust me, I know! But I do not want to limit my daughter to pink and purple, to tea cups and tiaras. I want her to play with whatever she wants to play with (safe toys of course!) and know that when she grows up she can be an engineer or a construction worker if she wants to be. Why does she need to be limited to "girl" clothes and toys? Especially now as she is becoming more and more independent and opinionated. I don't want say to her, "No sweetie, you can't play with that, those are boy's toys..."

So for now, I will continue to dress the Z in brown shirts and blue dresses. And I'll buy her a dump truck. But it will NOT be pink.

p.s. this post was partly inspired by recent truck watching but also inspired by this one
this is a great blog from a dad's point of view about marriage, family building and everything else.