So, our friend, we’ll call him Cliff (because that’s what he answers to), recently became a stay at home Dad.
Private note to Cliff:
(Everybody else do something else for a sec.)
Do you mind me sharing your life with a few of my closest friends?
He’s changing a diaper right now and will get back to me when I’m about through with this.
He just survived his first few weeks of Back–to-School, Stay-at-Home-Dad-ness. Don’t get anything done-ness. Eat your fish stick dinner and be happy-ness. But, oh the joy and fulfillment he’ll find buried deep under piles of laundry. It’s there. Keep looking and make sure you separate those lights and darks.
During a recent visit, and because we care, we were offering suggestions of things he could do to entertain himself and the preschooler who will be his constant potty companion from here on out. The park was suggested. Pre-schoolers love the park. The grocery store and Wal-Mart are also often overlooked entertainment venues. And play groups. They’re both going to need support and friends. Playgroups are generally made up of available, on occasions underappreciated and lonely, attractive, stay-at-home mom types. But that’s just my experience. The attractive part, that is.
So we scratched playgroups, Wal-Mart, the grocery store and parks. Now, he’s been relegated to auto part stores, oil change facilities and the proctologist. These are all fine substitutions that when approached with the right attitude will be fondly remembered with misty eyed-ness.
Because, see, what we’ve decided is that he is now a “babe magnet”. Follow me on this. When a man shows up at the park with a small child or dog, the women gathered there (in their “playgroup”) just assume he is attentive, emotional, family centered and thus, good mating material. No matter that they already have a perfectly good husband holed up somewhere and his offspring nearby eating the sand meant for castles. This park guy, this “emoter”, would produce better offspring. Offspring that wouldn’t eat sand and more importantly not feed it to their younger sibling.
This “Man with child and/or dog will surely make a good mate” business is what the internet refers to as an “Urban Legend”.
And here I will offer my proof. We have another friend, who we’ll call… Bernie (not his real name) who often used the “My dog is a babe magnet and I am surely good mating material” method. He believed that walking his dog at parks, the apartment complex, etc. would magnetize the babes to him. The dog was somehow going to negate his “less than stellar, stinky, bachelor ways”. He was not good mating material. Once, he left that same dog in his apartment for a long weekend… during the Texas winter. He, thoughtfully, left the balcony door ajar so the dog could come and go and do her business. You would never do this with a child, which he considered his dog to be.
He asked us (who are not dog people) to “peek in” on the dog while he was gone. “Peek” we did! It was Hiroshima bad news. The dog, of course, did not use the “opportunities” that the “ajar” balcony door presented her. Apparently, our friend, didn’t foresee dog-proofing to be much of a necessity either. The dog had returned the favor by tearing apart most everything that wasn’t securely bolted down. There was a large fish tank which I presumed, on Friday, housed live fish. She took care of that. It was a Kevorkian, mercy killing. The icy,Texas air freely flowing through the apartment would have sent their tropical souls to fishy heaven if she hadn’t. Luckily, at some point she found some brief entertainment in a ball point pen and left “Daddy” a message all over the carpet. I can’t say for certain but I’m sure he never had the pleasure of spending his apartment deposit.
Is he a real “Daddy” today? Yes. Is he doing it well? I don’t know. It’s Lovey who talks to him most and it’s not a topic they, being of the male persuasion, discuss. But it comforts me to know he lives in a milder climate with warmer winters.
Oh gosh. I meant this to be some kind of positive, dedication type of happy note to our good friend who’s been blessed to be a stay-at-home Dad. Can I dedicate a good recipe to you that will warm your soul? Are you finished with that diaper yet? It’s time to start dinner.
Rotisserie Chicken Noodle Soup
(This recipe is adapted from Reames Classic Chicken Noodle Soup)
1 Cooked Rotisserie Chicken, meat removed and chopped up
10 cups water
4 tsp. dried parsley flakes
2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1/2 tsp. pepper
6 –10 tsp. chicken base or bullion granules, to your taste
2 bay leaves
1 pkg. (24 oz.) Reames Homestyle Egg Noodles
4 cups sliced carrots
2 cups sliced celery
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup frozen peas, thawed (optional)
1/2 cup flour
4 cups milk, divided
salt to taste
In a large pot, add water, parsley, thyme, pepper, chicken base and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Add noodles, carrots, celery and onion; return to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, simmer 20 to 30 minutes or until done.
Meanwhile, whisk together 1 cup of the milk and the flour until smooth. Add to the noodle mixture with remaining 3 cups milk. Add the chopped chicken and the thawed peas. Continue cooking over medium heat until thickened and heated through. Salt to taste.
I use McCormick Chicken Base purchased at Costco instead of bullion granules.
Reames Egg Noodles are in the freezer section of the store.
Change the vegetable amounts to your families taste. I like 1 cup of celery and 1 cup of peas.