Father Of The Blog

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Father of the Blog

The Chicken Dance

Among all the titles parenthood bares ‘referee’ suits me. More specifically a Hockey ref. I often find myself shouting, “Hey! (A loud ‘hey’ is my whistle), that’s two minutes for high sticking.” Or “Hey! Two minutes for roughing.” Or “Hey! Two minutes for instigating.” Hockey refs are physically and emotionally tough too. Sometimes I’ll take an elbow while breaking up a tousle or get popped with a flying ‘puck’ if I’m not quick enough to move out of the way. Just as a Hockey ref would, I attempt to let the ‘game’ unfold unimpeded, interrupting only when the balance between fair competition and unjust play needs to be defined and resolved. Determining that equivalence is a delicate and dynamic aspect of the job, inaction may bring jeers and boo’s from the ‘spectators’ and exacting unfair punishment may harbor resentment from the ‘players.’

This past week, while at our school districts’ learning center playroom, a mechanical dancing chicken that, of all things, plays the ‘chicken dance’ song sparked a ‘dance’ between Olivia and Hailey. Coincidently this is the same ditty that blares at some point during every NHL game in our town. The toy bird was at the epicenter of the brawl being stretched tug-of-war-like and spun as the girls used gravitational momentum to fling one another off the chicken. Fake feathers were flying everywhere all while its’ tune playing, “da da da da da da da… da da da da da da da… da da da da da da da…daa daa daa daa.” The result of this ugly battle involved screams, laughter, tears, hydrogen peroxide and a few band-aids. Although I think the chicken got the worst of it.

Instinctively, I wanted to jump in between them and stop the fray but when they started giggling and laughing it reminded me of myself when I play Hockey. I’ll be battling for the puck, in the corner, along the boards or in front of the net chuckling and hyperventilaughing the whole time. Some of my teammates find it obnoxious and irritating, they think I’m not competitive enough or serious enough. “It’s not like we’re playing for the Stanley Cup,” is my repartee. I like to play recreational Hockey for several reasons; one, because it’s fun, two, for exercise and three, to healthily alleviate stress.Both my girls have stress in their young lives. It’s true. Olivia is weighted by carrying heavy leadership responsibilities. Hailey lives in the giant shadow of an older sibling whom she must compete for everything with. Not to mention the pressures of daycare, dance lessons, swim lessons and two over baring parents. One reason they bicker and wrestle is to vent their stress.

First born, Olivia is the one who has to figure things out, toys, puzzles, games, rules of conduct and then must be a good role model and teacher to Hailey. Olivia cares about the affections and well being of people close to her, “are you happy daddy?” And when I come home from ‘playing with the other daddies,’ she meticulously scans my body for injuries, “do you get any boo-boo’s daddy?”

Being the second child Hailey has scrapped for everything since conception and has dealt with; a womb that had just been vacated, stained bottles, collapsed nipples, frayed clothes that hadn’t even been stored, worn toys with failing batteries, soggy edged books, half-soled shoes, even her teachers at preschool are hand-me downs. She is a competitor, “watch dis (this) daddy!” Probably doesn’t help when Kim and I say things like, “first one inside the car wins!”

Back to the crazy dancing chicken: Looking-on, I realized they weren’t fighting over the toy; this is something they always do. They argue and grapple over everything and nothing. It could be an object or a word or an idea, it doesn’t mater. Digging deeper I couldn’t help but think maybe they constantly fight to gain Kim’s and my attention. This is probably true but there seems to be something more involved going on between them and I never saw it until ‘the chicken dance,’ Olivia and Hailey fight because they trust one another with their emotions and feelings; letting it all out, battling, arguing, laughing and crying in the same instant without trepidation, assurance that they truly love each other.

Originally posted on BabyCenter.com 11/02/06


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