Friday, December 26, 2008
If you can make it through seven years of college and manage to look at someone’s spleen without barfing, you get to be called “doctor.”
If you can make it through Iowa and Hillary and Joe the Plumber, you get to be called “president.”
And if you can make it through one slightly gross evening at the Evanston Hospital Maternity Ward, you get to be called “dada.”
So imagine my surprise when a certain twenty month old started calling me by my first name.
I arrived home from a trip to Atlanta last week and found Marianna and Elijah sitting on the couch. Eli was extremely excited to see me and said, “Rick! Rick! Rick!”
I said, “Whatchoo talkin’ about, Eli?”
Marianna said, “Oh, he call you ‘Rick’ now.”
I said, “I assume you spank him for this offense.” And Marianna just laughed the laugh that means she doesn’t understand what I’m saying.
Now, I’ll tolerate most everything with Eli. The poop. The occasional tantrum. The poop. But I will not accept being called anything but “father, dada, dad, pops, daddy” or “El Dadderino.” There’s a certain smug Liberal Arts major jerkness I find in calling your parents by their first names.
Thankfully, he doesn’t call me ‘Rick’ full time. He just seems to do it when I’m at my most vulnerable.
Like if I’m struggling to wipe Grover’s muddy feet after taking him on a sub zero walk.
“No. I’m dada.”
Or if I’m swearing while assembling the new treadmill we got for Christmas.
“No. No Ricks here. Only dadas.”
Diana thinks it’s hilarious. Grover, thankfully, still calls me “daddy.” But now that he’s 28 in dog years I think he’s being sarcastic.