Since I was always big and relatively sporty, I wasn’t one of the kids picked last for teams when I was a kid. Last one picked to dance in 6th grade, yes, but not last one picked for dodge ball. (Equally scarring, I expect.)It dawned on me last night at 2am that the best way to conquer any of those didn’t-get-picked demons is to have a kid or two. Because now, I ALWAYS get picked. Actually, I should clarify – I always get picked at night. During the day, if he’s around, Daddy is fun city and definitely wins.
The other night, for example, Jake (coughing like every other child on the Upper West Side) woke up at 2am in need of water. Or something, I don’t remember the specifics but he definitely had cause. So he climbed down from his bunk bed, left his bedroom and walked PAST the unusual light on in the living room where his awake and generally able father was sitting on the couch, probably on his computer reading about Cross Fit (his new obsession) or water skiing (his constant obsession) – both way better than the online porn he could be cruising. Passing the not-sleeping person in the living room and the kids’ bathroom, (which is FULL of water), Jake appeared at my bed where he stood next my head whispering “MommyMommyMommy” until I opened my eyes to scowl at him before getting him water and getting him back to bed. (Actually we had a quick scuffle about which cup to use and then he got back to bed – my husband sometimes questions my recollection and I know he would want me to point that out.)
But why am I always picked? I’m not that nice. Is it cosmic payback for not really getting picked by the tall boy when I was in 6th grade? (Actually, he did pick me once and we slow-danced to the Police “King of Pain.” Dreamy.) Do the kids pick me to make me feel needed or loved? Are they maternally drawn to me at night because of that first year of night feedings or is picking me at night just a habit, since I’m closer to the door? Because, really, my husband is definitely the softer of the two of us and the kids would be WAY better served by waking him. While I might scowl and help Jake get a drink before shuffling him back to bed, my husband might scowl, offer him a bowl of Cheerios and put in the Dora DVD for him. (I exaggerate, but you get my point.)
I know that very soon the kids won’t want us for anything (except money or car keys), especially not at 2am. And while I’m not ready for that to be the case, I would be okay if they picked Daddy once in a while at 2am. Or for that matter, anybody who is already awake. Like the elevator guy Carlos; he’s awake all night.