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The indignity of Daddy-hood

December 9, 2009
Unimpressed baby is unimpressed

Is that the best you got?

As a parent you have no dignity anymore – or any shred you do have remaining will soon be eroded away.

Mothers, fathers – all will be familiar with this but I only recently learned the full extent of the impact fatherhood would have on my dignity.

I’m way past the singing silly songs in public or dealing with a terrible-twos-tantrum in the middle of a busy department store packed with unsympathetic Christmas shoppers.  Way past that.

I have no qualms with screeching out my own versions of ‘Old MacDonald had a farm’ at the checkout in Sainsbury’s.  If it will keep my son happy (after he’s sat through an hour of loading things into a trolley) to hear about a farm that has a police car/fire engine/dinosaur then that’s what he’ll get.

But recently things went to a new – I hesitate to say ‘low’ – let’s stick with ‘level’, a new level.

Bathroom based episodes

I’ve been a little unwell recently.  Nothing major, certainly not debilitating – no man ‘flu here I’ve bravely soldiered on.

Suffice to say I’ve discovered two things: one, a food to with which my intestines disagree strongly; and two that as a result I can produce both wind and ‘stuff’ of a nuclear grade which should have the Iranian regime beating a path to my door as they look for new ways to irk the UN.

Bathroom door - from tripadvisor.com

No-one needs to see what goes on in here...

It was during one of these ‘bathroom based episodes’ I discovered the final tier of my dignity.  These moments are best endured alone – as we all know.  My son was fed, watered, safe and content with toys so I slipped away for a silent (ish), gut-wrenching moment alone.

Moments later there was a banging on the bathroom door.  “Daddy?” came the plaintive voice that more yanks than tugs on my heart-strings at the best of times.  “Daddy?”

“Daddy’s in the loo – I’ll be out soon.” I explained “Go and find a blue car…” or something to distract him.  Seconds passed…

“Daddy – in the loo?” he mimicked.  Much to-ing and fro-ing ensued the result: he wasn’t budging.  Worse – he wanted in.  He wasn’t to know what was going on inside that white tiled room.  How do you explain that?  Would you even want to?

After many (many) more heart-wrenching “Daddy!”‘s I did the mournful trousers-around-ankles-shuffle and opened the bathroom door.

My son then joyfully stood there, playing with a toy taxi watching (and listening) to my struggles – occasionally chipping in with useful comments like: “Daddy… doin’ a poo.” and the smirk-enducing “Daddy’s bum – go beep beep!”

When even moments that you’re nearing your lowest ebb have to be shared, dignity is a thing of the past.  And, odd though it may seem, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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