There are many differences between myself and HawtWife, and not just the obvious physical ones. No, even in Nugget’s eyes, we’ve got plenty of things that set us apart from each other. One of those big things? We play very differently with her.
I mean, sure, it makes sense. I just never really thought about it before. After all, mothers and fathers TEND to be different in the ways that they interact with their kids. And, while I don’t believe that HawtWife and I are fully embracing the traditional, stereotypical roles (for example, I’m the one staying at home with the kidlet), there are some things that just seem to have come out naturally. For example, I’m the one more likely to roughhouse with Nugget, and HawtWife tends to be more about games that help her learn. Not that we don’t sometimes step into the other role, but that seems to be how it naturally has fallen out.
Now, we haven’t really thought anything of it. After all, most of the time, Nugget isn’t responding to us any differently (well, maybe a little, but nothing drastic, and it clearly isn’t tied to the games we play with her). Just because HawtWife isn’t tossing the kiddo in the air doesn’t mean that she laughs any less with her. And just because I’m not spending as much time explaining why things do what they do doesn’t mean that she isn’t learning around me. Plus, with the giant rubber ball we got Nugget as a present, we’ve both gotten to enjoy times playing “catch” (really more of rolling it back and forth), while trying to encourage our child that, perhaps, trying to eat the thing that is quite a bit larger than herself isn’t the best plan (I know, I know, she’ll never survive as a competitive eater with that mindset).
However, just a couple of nights ago, we got the confirmation that, even in Nugget’s eyes, we play differently. Not that she is looking to the different parents based on what she wants to do (she’s still moldable, and kind of plays the games we want to play, at least until she gets bored), but that she has a clear idea of what games are acceptable for which parents. For example, I’m fairly certain that she wouldn’t be interested in playing the “Hit the Parent in the Head” game if she had to play it with HawtWife (she has substituted “Pull the Parent’s Hair” in HawtWife’s case). But the example that really proved her differing viewpoints? One of Nugget’s ways of showing excitement is to make a squeal while flapping her arms, like some sort of drunken bird attempting take-off. Now, both of her parents have done a call and answer to her squeals, so it just seemed like a good idea to try to emulate the arm flap, as well.
Yeah, apparently it’s only cool if it’s Daddy doing it. Because, when I flapped in response, she got a big smile on her two-toothed face, and flapped back at me. This continued for a little while, until I remembered that I’m old and that I don’t want to damage my shoulders. So, in stepped HawtWife, to play the part of the parent flapping their arms.
Nugget wasn’t having it.
Not only was she not willing to continue and respond to her mother, but she looked at HawtWife like someone had completely taken leave of their senses.
Yes, folks, my daughter has already figured out that, between the two of us, her mother is the sensible one, while I am the one who is expected to do something stupid and/or silly, whether it be for her amusement or not. Even babies have figured out that maybe, just maybe, I shouldn’t be left to my own devices. Thankfully, she still thinks it’s funny.
We’ll just have to hope that I can continue to be funny to her. Otherwise, this flapping arms thing is going to get old. And painful.