By Amy Shearn, REDBOOK
(No offense to other dads or my own dad, who is also the Best Dad Ever.)
It has recently been called to my attention that not all men come home from a long day at work just dying to cuddle with their kids and read 74 stories. My husband loves bedtime. This is saying something, since getting our 3-year-old to succumb to sleep is something akin to roping a bucking bronco. It takes patience and advanced skill-even brute strength. But if he's home for bedtime, Daddy is the Baryshnikov of cuddles, the Pavarotti of lullabies, and the Mutumbo of swatting away stalling requests.
9. Couch caves.
Now and then I'll walk into the living room to find the rest of the family has disappeared, replaced by a large, lumpy, giggling mass of blanketry. "Don't bother us! We're in the caves!" they call. That's okay, I was just passing through on my way to clean something. Don't mind me, folks. Please continue your sofa spelunking.
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If it weren't for him, our children would live in a world without chips, and they'd probably turn out all weird, like those kids whose moms try to convince them that carob is chocolate.
7. Baby tub = amusement park.
When Daddy does bath time, there are specialized splashes and playful water-pours. I hear shrieks of laughter echoing from the bathroom. When I do bath time, I wash hair and then say, "Okay, get out."
I actually don't even know what is up with these. I just know that every once in a while, Daddy and Harper touch their pointer fingertips together and say, "Zap!" then crack up. I think it's some sort of secret alien handshake.
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5. Grossing out the kids.
He always makes a point to hug and kiss me around the kids and tell them that he loves me. Even though this makes the baby cling anxiously to my leg and point at my boob like a territorial little monkey.
4. Daddy's continuing education lecture series.
It started when I was pregnant with Harper and has continued since. Subjects have included: The Solar System, New York City Transit, How Sound Waves Work, Vaccinations, Art History, and Whoopee Cushions. Delivery is always completely straight-faced, thorough, and completely lacking in even a modicum of talking-down-to.
My husband has one of those DSLR cameras that make life look like a charmed, sunlit fairytale, and he knows how to use it. He is constantly taking amazing photographs of our kids. And he never wipes their faces first, which adds a certain air of cinema verité I'm sure I'll appreciate when we are old and over-romanticizing these days of our kids' littleness.
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2. Sleep mastery.
My husband doesn't really sleep, which makes it all the more odd that he is the nap-master and the middle-of-the-night-baby-hypnotizer. It takes him about three seconds to transform a screaming child into a sleeping child. I'm afraid to ask how he does it.
1.Saturday morning sneakouts.
Almost every weekend, we perform the following charade. Daddy: "What do you want to do today?" Mama: "Mmmm I don't know…" Daddy: "Wanna go to the coffee shop and write?" Mama: [doesn't answer, is out the door with laptop under arm]
We are all so lucky to have this guy around. Happy Father's Day, dude. My gift to you: A day with your kids…while I go to the coffee shop.
Amy Shearn is the mother of two small children, and is the proprietress of Household Words, a blog about babies, books, and Brooklyn. She also writes for Oprah.com and MommyPoppins.com. Amy is the author of the novel How Far Is the Ocean From Here (Shaye Areheart/Crown 2008) and a forthcoming novel about, what else, a Brooklyn mother, which needs a title and will be published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, in 2013.