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Stay-At-Home Dad: Character building

Updated: December 26, 2012 6:15AM



My two sons are quickly developing their own personalities. Bubba and Peter are also growing into their bodies. As these characteristics emerge, I notice bits and pieces of The Wife and I coming into focus.

For example, both of the boys have The Wife’s gap-toothed smile. And while I often joke that she could floss with a quarter, it’s a much better option than having my Beetlejuice teeth that required nearly a decade in braces.

Other attributes have yet to fully manifest. So I decided to jot down a wish list of characteristics I’d like the boys to take from each parent, thus creating the best possible child The Wife and I could muster. Here goes:

BUTT — Mom: I have no butt. Church pews and school bleachers are not simply uncomfortable for my bony rear, they’re downright painful. The Wife, however, is blessed in this department. For these reasons, I hope Bubba and Peter end up with their mother’s backside.

COOKING — Dad: The Wife makes a handful of dishes extraordinarily well. (Oatmeal lace cookies come to mind.) But I’m generally the cook in our house. It’s likely that she just doesn’t get enough time to practice, as I’m the one at home making the meals.

Nevertheless, I hope the boys grow up to cook like their dad.

SCHOOL — Mom: I wasn’t a bad student. But I definitely married up, landing the No. 3 student of her high school class.

Here’s hoping Bubba and Peter have their mom’s brains.

ATHLETICISM — Dad: This is really a booby prize, since neither The Wife nor I have much athletic prowess. I was once told that The Wife was a decent youth softball player. But she and I have played catch a couple of times.

It isn’t pretty.

Now I’m hardly bragging. But based on our few games of catch, I hope the boys have my arm.

SHOULDERS — Mom: I’ve dislocated both of my shoulders. My left shoulder was so loose it required surgery. As a result, I sleep with my arms wrapped tightly around my body, like a mummy.

If they’re lucky, my boys were born with their mother’s sturdy shoulders.

NERVOUS HABIT — Dad: I haven’t used fingernail trimmers in years. That’s because when I get nervous I peel my fingernails off. It’s a habit that drives The Wife nuts, particularly when she hears me trying to pry under a long nail.

She picks at her skin, which drives me crazy. Ideally, our children will inherit neither of these goofy quirks. But if I have to choose one, I’ll take my savage manicures over The Wife’s persistent picking.

FACIAL HAIR — Dad: It took 35 years, but I can now grow a respectable beard. Thankfully, The Wife cannot. And since I have two sons, I hope they end up with my facial hair.

SENSE OF STYLE — Both: The Wife has more of a sense of style than I do. I don’t really care much about style. I’d like my boys to look and dress well. At the same time, I hope they also realize that it’s not that important.

Now that being said, I’ll probably end up with a pair of bony-butt boys who can’t cook or throw a ball. They’ll struggle in school, which will only add to their bizarre, nervous habits. And they’ll have patchy beards to boot.

That’s what I get for making a wish list.

Howard A. Ludwig is a former SouthtownStar business writer who traded his reporter’s notepad for a diaper bag, becoming a stay-at-home dad.

He can be reached at howardaludwig@yahoo.com.



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