Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Differential Parental Awareness

We have a two-year-old who does not seem destined for a career in radio or public speaking. Perhaps his speech will clear up before he writes his first resume, but for now, he's hard to understand. The way he only honors consonants in the t and d family (eschewing the c and k consonants) and shortens words he considers too long (dessert becomes ert) makes for a language all his own. Occasionally, I'm at a total loss. But more often than not, I can understand him.

I can understand him because I go through the morning routine with him. Plus, I spend Wednesdays and Fridays with him. Not only do I hear his wacky words more than most anyone else; I also have context. When he tells a story, chances are that I was there to see the dump truck or the balloon or the birdie.

It does not surprise me that I have to translate for Teddy with strangers or people who don't spend much time with him. But I also often have to translate for him to mommy, who is not enjoying the same privilege of time that I have with him. It's emblematic of a gap in awareness of what's going on with Teddy day to day. With our current family arrangement, I'm the one who knows what he had for lunch and how long he napped and whether he sat on the potty for 10 minutes with nothing to show for it (ok, he has "hurray! you sat on the potty! high five!" to show for it). Sometimes I think I should fill out a little sheet like the child care centers do: Teddy napped from 12:30-2:15. He had his diaper changed twice. He ate his whole (half) sandwich at lunch. This kind of knowledge, has, of course, been the provenance of moms in so many families. It's one of those things that I sometimes have to remind myself to treasure as a stay-at-home dad.

1 comment:

Jacksons said...

Now that Trevor spends a long commute every day with Mike, I find our roles reversed that way, too. He's also good friends with Trevor's teacher, so has inside information about the school day. Nice for him. Harder for me. OK, though, he deserves his chance, plus I've still got the other boy.