The other day my wife asked me to check out a book from the library on toddler issues, so after ‘toddler time’ was over I checked out “The Toddler Care Book – A Complete Guide from 1-5 Years Old.” There’s some good stuff in there, but like all parenting books it has its slant. Particularly noticeable to me is its condescension toward Dads. Every other chapter ends with a section titled “Dad’s Role” (as if parenting isn’t really the domain of Dads, so here’s some pointers when Mom needs a break.)
My favorite lines are in the “Your Young Toddler” section of “Dad’s Role.” Here it advises you to take your toddler to the park, to the pool, on a walk around the block, and to the bathtub (all activities that give Mom a break, I might add).
At a park it advises that, “While playing at the park,some safety rules have to be followed. Your toddler is still learning to walk, so she may not be as good a climber as you think she is.” ‘Cause let’s face it, Dad’s are idiots.
And at the pool, “Despite liking the water, your child cannot swim – she can only just walk – so hold onto her tightly in and around the pool. Pay attention and don’t slack off.” I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen anyone toss a baby in a pool thinking they’d be able to swim.
Next, “Dad’s need to find at least one particular activity or chore to claim as their own, where they are the go-to guy. One suggestion is the bath. It’s easy, especially as your child can now sit and stand independently.” I’m starting to get a pretty clear picture of the author’s vision of Dad’s: reckless bungling ogres who can’t be trusted to be alone with their children.
If you doubt me this next line on a guide to playing at the park will seal the deal: “Bring diapers and lots and lots of wipes. While most moms can clean the messiest bums with only a quarter of a wipe, dads may need a few more.” Wow. Next time Mt. Vesuvius goes off in Josie’s diaper I’m going to pass her and a quarter of a wipe to Sarah and just shrug me shoulders, “Hey, this is your department – I’d just make a mess of it.” Then I’ll drag my knuckles over to the tv, turn on some football and shout at her to bring me a beer.