All of my education on child development and parenting cannot hold a candle to instinct. I act on instinct several times a times a day. It has seriously saved me. What I've come to realize, is that, dads have it too. It just looks a little different and it can fly in the face of MY instinct. Contradicting what I thought I knew. And sometimes I need to remind myself that I am not the only one in this house that knows what they are doing.
And that sometimes I am wrong (ouch).
I didn't marry a bumbling oaf. I married a capable and strong and loving man who knows how to care for and parent our kids. Sometimes, dare I say, he's even better at it (shhhh please don't tell anyone). There are things that he knows, that I don't. There are things that I know, that he doesn't. Our job has been to find where those two things come together and work.
I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to stop Daddy from doing something that I insisted would scar the lil dude for life. "Don't flip him in the water! It's too scary!", "Don't let him fall off the jungle gym! What if he hits his mouth on the ground?", "There is NO WAY I will let you roll him down that hill, it's too steep!" And on and on and on. But I need to chill out. Because Daddy Pants knows what he's doing. Like the day we were at the backwoods county fair with the rickety, law suit waiting to happen, "rides". Pants was just 15 months old and daddy thought it would be THE. BEST. idea to take him down the "Skyscraper" slide. You know, the ones that you have to use the burlap sacks to slide down on?
Daddy's eyes were fixed on the slide and I could see him tuning me out as I talked about the dangers of taking our precious lamb onto a deathtrap. "I won't let anything happen to him. He's gonna love it. He'll be fine", Daddy insisted in a flat, "you're kind of being crazy but I still love you" tone. I could feel my heart start to jump and I even had tears coming to my eyes (Oh the drama!) because I was terrified. But then a voice in my head, actually I think it was my sister in law who was standing right next to me, said, "He really is going to be fine. Do you honestly think his daddy would take him up there if he thought he'd scar him for life?" and I knew she was right.
I gave the "all clear on my end" look and they took off. I couldn't say a word for fear I'd cry some really dramatic mama tears and I was trying desperately to hang on to my sanity as I watched my husband carry our baby up those steep ass rusty stairs. Mr. Pants was wide eyed and smiling as they climbed to this new adventure. When they got to the top he looked around amazed at the view. As I watched in horror, it occurred to me that Mr. Pants was completely relaxed. Not clinging to daddy for safety, no tears, no fear. Just an enormous "this is crazy cool" grin across his face. I took a deep breath as they began their decent (plummet?) to the ground and prepared myself for both possible endings. I would be scooping Mr. Pants up in the safety of my arms and holding him until the big bad slide experience was a distant memory OR I might owe Daddy an apology. They came to a stop and a belly laughing Mr. Pants shot right up and ran towards the stairs to climb back up with daddy in hot pursuit. His little face begging, "Again! Again!" I couldn't help but laugh along with them. His face, pure elation.
Crap, I owed daddy an apology. "Babe, you were right. Sorry I am crazy". He replied, "You're the Mama. It's your job to be a little crazy. Did you see his face? He was so stoked! Can we go again?" He didn't have to ask me but I think he wanted me in on it. As I watched them head back up, I was a little choked up. But this time it was because I was having one of my moments where I am so friggin happy and I have to cry.
Mr. Pants is safe with his daddy and so lucky to have his strong and sensitive example. And he is so monumentally loved by his dad. He will learn how to be a man and a father from the best. And when those moments hit me, they hit hard. And those happy tears that I cry all the time start to flow. Even over something as silly as The Skyscraper slide at the backwoods county fair.