Sunday, June 15, 2014

Ben is a rad dad.

(The boys as Temple of Doom characters at Halloween.  Ben's smile stops my heart a little bit)

(Ben's first Father's Day with tiny Milo.  We went to the zoo.  Elliott was a squiggle in my belly.)

(When Esh was small, Ben would smooch him and scratch him with his beard and he would giggle.)

(Ben takes care of the majority of overnight stuff.  Every night.  Still.)

I think it's safe to say that Ben is in his element as a dad.  He's really, really good.  He was wonderful to our babies and to me when we were all struggling as a family of infants, but now that we have two walking, running, communicating, preference-sharing creatures with personalities and the ability to wield G. I. Joe figures, he's over the moon.

Both boys have their own ways to connect with Ben.  Milo is his movie kid, and will wake up on weekends when he knows Daddy is home begging to watch Back to the Future or Star Wars (which he calls Dun Dun based on us singing the Imperial March to him).  They act out scenes from the third Back to the Future using a toy train and a grey car.  Milo will request the theme music from E.T. when we're driving, and then narrates to us what is happening: "Dog no go on rocket!"  and "Bikes up go in the sky!"  When we have to be apart for awhile, we say, "I'll be right here," and he repeats it solemnly.  He likes Ewoks.  I have had no part in this, and usually say momish things like "These movies are too old for him!" but I know that while I have the final say on what they eat and the exact temperature that renders a sweatshirt necessary, movie culture is Ben's arena.  He only shows them certain scenes, never wanting them to be scared or worse, bored.  He is very carefully tricking them into loving these movies.  It's working.

Elliott is not as into TV unless there is singing.  He's very musical, and I can see Ben sharing CDs with him as he gets old enough to appreciate Ben's collection.  For right now, though, they click over action figures.  For some reason, they make Elliott crazy in the best possible way.  Ben (and his parents) have kept careful track of his childhood toys, and we are also collectors at flea markets and yard sales.  We have one tin of kid-safe (and they're probably not safe for the kids, these are just the figures that can be damaged without breaking any hearts) figures that were brought up from the basement, and the sight of the box makes Elliott start flapping his hands and grunting.  Ben was pouring them over Milo at five months when he was a stay-at-home dad, so I know he's been waiting for this.  Elliott likes to pick up "the guys" and clink them together, making them bash into each other, making little "pow pow pow" sounds.  Again, originally, I was horrified, "Ah, he's learning war-like behavior, omg, let's make the guys be friends!" but again, I backed off.  I can make them hug their babies and give kisses and sing Frozen with me all day, because those are my interests and likes, but this is a way they can connect with their dad, and frankly, not something I need to understand.   Ben already passes out dollar bills at the flea market letting the boys pick their own guys to flesh out our collection.  But of course, those don't get mixed with the G. I. Joes.

Ben reads books, washes clothes and dishes, brings cups of milk, kisses boo boos, goes to the park, gives piggy back rides, and patiently sits through endless requests of "Daddy, you be the bad guy and I be the good guy!" on a daily basis.  He takes impeccable care of me, which I think is a very specific way that a father can show love to his children- by taking care of  their mother.  Ben is a rad dad, raising rad boys, and I'm so glad to be in this truly rad little family.  Happy Father's Day, Ben.

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