Thursday, July 12, 2007

Standin' on her own two little feet

It started with C running out of the pool. She had a concerned look on her face and stopped short of getting me and the John Rain spy novel I was reading from getting soaked by chlorinated water dripping off of her head.Daddy, I'm gonna tell you something, but you can't get up.Okay, I say, wondering what it is she's about to tell me that will probably make me upset enough to stick a bookmark in my novel and rise from the wooden replica adirondack chair that I've been sitting in for the past hour.

I love how kids tell stories in one long, run on sentence. Here was C's:
Me and some other girls were playing with that green ring, and it got tossed too far into the deep end, and these other kids picked it up and started playing with it and when we asked for it back and told them that we were playing with it, they told us that we had to wait our turn.I kept my seat.You mean those green rings that belong to the pool, and that they use in swimming classes?She nodded.And you told them that you were playing with the rings and they still wouldn't return them?Another nod, but this one was a bit more sheepish than the last. I could tell she was starting to not like the tone my voice was developing so I backed off a bit and asked...What kids?At that point she shook her head and exclaimed "oh no Daddy, you promised you wouldn't get up!"(Starting to get up) I'm just going to go and talk to them...
(Pushing me back down) No Daddy, I said you had to stay in your chair.
After some further explanatory exclamations on her part, it seems that she was more fearful of the snidely stated "You had to bring your Dad to help you," remarks than she was of dealing with the situation directly.

Now, a more sensitive and thoughtful Dad may have figured out a way to deal with the situation that helped their daughter develop a better sense of self worth and independence. Or at the very least have found some words of comfort and care that combined a confidence building phrase or two with some stern fatherly direction.

Instead, I spewed forth with...Well, then why did you come and tell me if you didn't want me to do anything about it?With that she shrugged her shoulders, gave me a quick peck on the cheek and stormed back into the pool to join her little friends, while I was left to ponder the exchange that had just taken place.

While I'm always happy to be told when I should act and when I should just remain in my chair by a female member of the species (I am after all just a goofy, clueless male), at that moment I feared that I may have failed that particular test.

Was my daughter looking to me for an alternate solution to the issue?

Was she hoping that there would be some nugget of advice I could produce that would both make her feel better and get the ring back without causing her any embarrassment?

Was the most obvious solution of direct confrontation that my Neanderthal mind spewed forth inappropriate in the politically complex dynamics of the neighborhood pool arena?

In retrospect, I think my little girl was just looking for a little reassurance from me that I had her back, in the event that her solution to the issue caused a tad of turmoil.

In the end, Dad's are always good for turmoil.


dennis said...

wow, i'm not certain that I would not have been speaking in tongues and channeling the Dark Spirits by the time she finished her story...

Charlotta-love said...

I am laughing because I totally have done the same thing with my dad. I still do and I'm 28! It might be an email that I preface with "You don't have to reply" or a conversation "you don't have to tell mom about" but I still have those talks.

You did the right thing. Sometimes all a dad needs to do is smile, nod, acknowledge, and say okay. Cute post. I hope she got her turn later.

Patience said...

Dad's are good to have, in the background, unseen unless they are absolutely needed.

You're a good dad