Thursday, April 12, 2012

I’ve grown a beard. It’s an overgrown, bushy & bright red beard.

In the beginning it was mostly out of laziness and a general disinterest in shaving. It turns out, that once I sold The Mud Shack there was no longer any reason to shave. As long as I fill bottles on time and ensure proper access to blocks, walkers and Elmo toys; my two remaining co- workers have no complaints about it at all. They even seem to like it, I can tell by how they like to pull on it and smile. In fact, the beard has also been quite popular with all of my orthodox friends. I get the feeling I’m one step closer to their inner-circle. Friends have told me I look a lot more like my Dad and he even said to me that it does look quite familiar.

But as much as I would love for that to be the reason I’ve kept it, that’s not quite it. If I’m being fully honest with you, I like feeling a little more like a man. You see, the world of stay-at-home child caregivers is flooded with estrogen. It’s everywhere: the grocery store, the pharmacy, the pedatrician’s offices, parks, walks around my block, seriously - everywhere.

But more than just feeling manly, I feel like I’ve got something that all that estrogen can’t get you, well aside, from that (get your mind out of the gutter). The sight of a 6’ 3” male pushing a bright green double stroller catches people’s attention; it is like when the guys from the Delta house go in to the Blues Bar in the movie Animal House. I hear the proverbial music stop and see everyone’s head turn to check us out and glance back again to make sure they saw what they thought they saw. This doesn’t bother me, but what can be bothersome is that I feel like I’ve got to be twice the parent as all of them. When their kid is screaming like a wild animal, it’s just a lady with a kid, but when my kid is flailing his or her arms around, throwing his or her bottle and can’t be consoled, I’m that guy over there who can’t control his kid and is clearly in the wrong line-of-work. This is probably 90% my own self-conscious delusion. But for that 10%, I know that at least I’ve got a cool beard and that’s something they’ll never have.

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