My wife and I have somewhat different roles with the kids. We both can fulfill the full range of parental responsibilities, but our personalities definitely influence what we’re good at. She, for example, is very good when they need sympathy, a warm hug and a mother’s tender understanding.
I’m better with practical joking and the “it doesn’t hurt that bad” speeches. The boys and I laugh things off, make fun of pain, and generally take the attitude that we’re tough enough to handle whatever happens.
When I’m not looking, of course, they cuddle into their mom to have their temperatures taken and to get the sympathy that we all occasionally need.
Last week, my youngest son injured his leg badly enough to have to go to the E.R. Fortunately, it was nothing permanent, just a deep gash in his leg right below the knee. We’re keeping it bandaged, and being sure to change the dressing every morning and night.
This morning, after his mom left for work, he was limping across the den when he suddenly stopped. “Oh no!” he said. “We forgot to change the bandages!”
His eyes met mine, and I gave him a slow evil grin. “That’s okay,” I said. “I can do it.”
“No!” He gave one of those laughs that’s halfway between “ha-ha, this is funny,” and “I’m totally helpless and going to die.”
“No, really.” I said. “It’ll be fun. I’ll clean it and wrap it and fix it up real tight.”
“No touching!” he said, still laughing helplessly. “You can’t touch it. Really, Daddy. I’m serious.”
“Oh no,” I said with wide innocent eyes. “I wouldn’t dream of touching it.”
“Aaah!” He limped off to his bedroom, waving his arms.
Heh, heh, heh.