As the Rookie draws closer, I've been trying to think of little traditions that Finn and I can start that can carry on through her arrival to make sure he'll have some consistent attention coming his way at predetermined, factory-sealed intervals. We've now got weekend Daddy/Finny time - which, as it turns out, is really just an opportunity for Finn to creatively position us next to an ice cream parlor and then feign surprise when we realize where we are.
"Daddy, I just want to spend some time alone with you. Let's go to White Center and -- wait a minute, what's that you say? There's absolutely nothing to do in White Center, except get a tattoo and/or visit a really good ice cream parlor? What are the chances?!? Well, I'm not old enough for a tatto, so I guess we'll have to get ice cream, huh?
I may be paraphrasing there. He did use the first sentence, but from there it took him about 10 minutes to get to the ice cream part. It was the long con. He's a skilled manipulator.
As awesome as the ice cream in White Center is, when it comes to establishing a lasting bonding experience, I'm looking for something that doesn't always result in me yelling at him as I'm peeling him off the ceiling and trying to cram him into pajamas. I remembered that my parents and I always had a "secret" when I was a little kid that we would whisper to each other at bedtime. It was sweet and I always looked forward to the secret time with each of them, so I figured I'd try to start that with Finn.
Kitty is the bedtime boss, but she had an engagement the other day, so I figured that would be the perfect time to start this up. Between innings, I pitched the idea to Finn, who was pleasantly receptive and excited about it. I asked him what he thought our secret should be. My proposal for mine was, "You're my favorite little boy," thinking that was simple, sweet & wouldn't get me in any trouble with any of the other (female) members of the family. I let him decide what his was going to be.
At bedtime, we turned out the lights. I leaned over and whispered my secret it into his ear. He smiled, pulled me close and whispered carefully into my ear, "I love you more than Mommy."
OK, this is sort of a hokey exercise and all, but there's really no need for him to lie to me. This is supposed to be our special time and that statement is blatantly false. Plus, it's not particularly nice to Mommy - not that she would have ever known... until reading this, I suppose. Whoops.
I figured we could still come up with something more generic, so I gave him a suggestion like, "You're my favorite Daddy," that would be a little more appropriate and on-theme. We tried again and once again he told me he loved me more than Mommy - which is just making me mad at this point.
We decided to try it one more time and this time, he swore that he got it. He pulled me close, put his lips right up against my ear and very sweetly whispered, "I love Mommy more than you."
I was thinking about all of this as I was helping him clean the toilet following a particularly "energetic" poop episode the other day. As we were talking about the best way to clean the toilet (and ourselves), he turned to me impressed and said, "You sure know a lot about pooping, Daddy."
I think we've found our secret.
I can't leave you with that thought, so here's a picture that Finn took last weekend up at Mt Baker. This is completely unedited - he nailed the framing, the composition and the focus all on his own. Poop not pictured.