Bingo knows what “daddy” means.

She gleefully points to her friends’ fathers and shouts to them, “Daddy!”

Any guy carrying a kid on his shoulders: “Daddy!”

The stock photography guy on the air conditioner box (lying relaxed and, presumably, cool with his stock photography wife and kid): “Daddy!”

She’s even taken two of her friend’s fathers on as her own.  When either of them is around, it isn’t Henry’s daddy or Olivia’s daddy* that we’re talking about: it’s just daddy.  “Daddy push swing!  Silly daddy!”  Inevitably, this has led to uncomfortable public announcements such as, “Daddy at Olivia’s house.  Daddy go home.  Bye bye daddy!”

I have to admit: the unrestrained** enthusiasm for daddies made me a little nervous when it first came up.  “Oh no!”, I thought to myself.  “Bingo knows that she doesn’t have a daddy, and wants one!  What if she resents us?  What if she goes on a desperate and misguided search for father figures later in life?  What if the anti-gay conservative populace hears about this?!”

Then I paused (for the split second that parenting allows any pause to last) and remembered to breathe.

Do you know what else Bingo really wants?  She wants a dog.  She loves Henry’s dogs as much as she loves Henry’s daddy.  The highlight of her short life so far has been getting to hold one of those dog’s leashes on a short walk down the street.  She waves to every dog on the street.  She tells anybody who will listen that Grandma is bringing her a dog for her birthday.

But Grandma is not getting Bingo a dog, unless Grandma wants to be disowned.  Our house is a dog-free house, and will likely remain that way.  Bingo will grow up with a bunch of cats and whatever creatures might live in our walls, but no other furry friends.  And Bingo will be okay.

So, if anybody tells me that Bingo needs a daddy (Bingo included), I’ll explain that all all families are different.  That different people and things fit into our hearts and homes: moms, dads, cats, dogs, budgies, aunts, uncles, grandparents, siblings, friends, entire villages.  I’ll explain that not having any of those things doesn’t mean that you’re missing them.  And I’ll explain that at the end of the day the only daddy in our house is still going to be the guy on the air conditioning box.

*Not her friends actual names, but the names of pretty much every two year old we meet.

**Really though, what is restrained when it comes to toddler?

My favorite things, part 2.

You should know I’m not great at recordkeeping.  Over the years I’ve started dozens of diaries, only to abandon them after the first couple of pages.  The calendar that hangs above my desk at work has been declaring it August since mid-July.  All mementos, photos, letters and other archives of my life from birth to present are haphazardly shoved into a cardboard box. 

As in so many respects, Sea is my complete opposite.  Every stage of her life has been neatly recorded, labelled and then filed away for later reference.  The calendar that hangs on our fridge is promptly changed over on the first day of every month.  I’m fairly certain that she began keeping a diary when she was a fetus.  As such, it was no surprise that about three days after Bingo was conceived Sea announced that we needed a baby book. 

If left to my own devices, years from now Bingo’s birth certificate would probably be shoved at the bottom of a bag with a handful of crumpled receipts and half of a chocolate bar and I’d have no idea what his/her first word had been.  I agreed with Sea that a neatly organized book filled with important dates, adorable photos and pertinent details would probably be better.  But then there was the matter of finding a baby book.

For months, Sea and I looked everywhere for a suitable template.  We went to the trendiest downtown bookstores and flipped through everything from the sentimental to the ironic.  But no matter how many books we looked through, every single one had pages for Mommy and Daddy firmly sewn in.  What was daddy like when he was a baby?  What did daddy think when he found out that a baby was on its way?  What names did daddy like?  Etc, so on, so forth.  Sea and I contemplated clever scrapbooking or the copious use of White Out , but neither strategy was ideal. 

Online shopping had provided more of the same—gendered books reflective of one narrow reality.  Even single parents were out of luck though I suppose they, at least, could have carefully cut along the seams of irrelevant pages.  Then Sea hit the jackpot and found this book.

This book was exactly what we had been looking for.  As the website so succinctly says, it really is suitable for all families.  Its neat metal rings can hold any combination of pages.  Have a mommy and daddy?  Fantastic!  A mummy and a mama?  Great!  A papa and a dadi?  Wonderful!  Something else entirely?  Lovely—order a customized page!  Sea and I ordered the relevant pages (mummy and mommy, in case you’re interested), along with an extra “our donor” page.  We chose a plain white cover for the sake of simplicity, though the available dinosaur option was high on my list.  

For now the book is sitting empty in Bingo’s room, but I know that Sea’s neat writing will soon be filling it with the memories and details that I might otherwise forget.  And when those memories are entered, I’m sure that it will feel even more important to have a book made to fit our family as opposed to a book that our family has to bend to fit. 

(As with my first “favourite things” post, I haven’t been asked to review this product or write this post: I’m still not important enough to be bribed.  I’m sharing only because I know just how impossible it can be to find anything that works for our quirky, queer families, and just how important these things can be.)

Gender revelations.

Let me begin this post by offending half of the people who read my blog: I hate gender reveal parties.

I understand completely why people want to celebrate the upcoming arrival of their bundle of joy, and those few details that are knowable before birth. I recognize that it’s nice to have your excitement and enthusiasm shared by others.  I had a Puppy Surprise toy as a kid, so can even appreciate the thrill that comes with seeing that glimpse of pink or blue.  But I just can’t get onboard the gender reveal party train.*

Continue reading