As a full-time writer who works from home, I am the parent who is tasked with most of the errands, and because I have a five-year-old girl, she's usually out and about with me on those errands. Partly because I enjoy the company and partly because I'm pretty sure if I left her alone, she'd discover several new species of explosions.
The problem is that I'm a dude, and dudes aren't supposed to be good with kids. Especially not little girls. This often leads to ill-informed, baffled questions. Today I'd like to lay out the ones that really need to be stuffed back into the mouths of ijits and sealed with duct tape.
Where's Your Wife? This isn't friends I may meet who might legitimately wonder where my wife is. Most of my friends live in the computer anyway and would be baffled by seeing me larger than a Facebook profile pic.
No, this question is always accompanied by two things. The first is a rather dramatic look 'round that implies I've wandered away from the main caregiver and might need leading gently back before I accidentally buy a colander instead of shoes for the kid. The second is a tone of concern, as if the only explanation for me having a little girl on my own is that her poor mother took ill with a fever and sadly passed from the world. For maximum return, pretend this takes place in the Antebellum South.
The answer is that my wife is wherever she happens to be. Probably either saving babies in the NICU or resting from that labor.
Are You Going to Try for a Boy? Granted, moms with just girls get this question, too. It's a very strange thing to think that a family isn't complete until it has a small male version of the collected genetic soup. I'm willing to bet that it happens more with guys than women because there's this consensus that men prefer boys and women prefer girls.
I'm not sure how one "tries" for a boy, though. Do you think of little boys when you're having intercourse? Because I'm pretty sure that's illegal or it should be. If there was some kind of way to insure a male child, I'm certain that the Europeans or the Chinese would have figured it out by now. In the end, it's a stranger saying, "So, do you think you and your old lady will bang without condoms again, only right this time?"
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Who Will Carry Your Name? Some men are obsessed with their dynasty. Maybe if I came from a line of men named Thundercock I would be, too. Alas, my real last name is Rouner, and I'm not sure that I need to be treating it like it was freakin' Targaryen.
In fact, the name Rouner will probably die out in my family branch with my daughter, her being the last of our Rouners in a lineage that runs to daughters reproducing and sons not. Does it bother me? No, why should it? Are my cousins who carry their husbands' names or the name of my aunt's husband any less family? Am I less of a Fitzgerald because my mom married a man named Rouner?
I think people forget that the point of great houses and family names was that one day you'd join them together with others. And if my daughter wants to hold onto Rouner for herself or her children, I'm pretty sure the world won't stop turning.
Don't You Want to Play Catch With Your Son? Admittedly, my daughter is terrible at catching a ball, and only slightly better at throwing it. However, get her feet involved and she's a terror. She's only three feet tall, but she can kick a ball over the roof of my in-laws' house. I got her into soccer for the same reason the government employs master hackers as consultants. Harnessing energy for good is very important.
More than that, we have lightsaber battles...and she wins! I don't let her win (Not often, anyway), but there are times she tags me with pinpoint accuracy right through my guard. It doesn't mean the girl doesn't throw a mean tea party. She does. She's not a pseudo-boy replacement for me just because I want someone to teach armbars and backflips to, but a well-rounded young girl with many interests both physically and mentally.
Because, guess what? If you tell a girl she can sword fight, she'll give it a go. If she can't, she'll realize it. If she can, you will. Quickly. Pro dad tip: Sitting on frozen peas is a good way to heal from an attacker who swings at crotch level.
Have You Bought a Gun Yet? Everyone thinks their daughter is beautiful, and I'm no exception. She's got a dimple that the CIA wants to mix with LSD in order to experiment with mind control.
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Which means, of course, that somewhere at the end of the next decade, some of her friends who are discovering how their genitals work are going to start asking her if she'd like to compare notes. The only answer is to arm myself and threaten to shoot her suitors if they threaten her virtue!
No, I have not bought a gun. By every statistical measure, a child is less safe in a house with a gun than one without. More than that, I'm not keen on making the motivation of dates to treat her with respect to be fear of me. One day, I'll be out of the approval process when it comes to these things, and it's my hope that I'll have taught her how to deal with them herself.
So no, I didn't buy a gun.
I am thinking about getting her fencing lessons, though.