Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I Have Two Baby Daddies

Recently, Elke acknowledged that Jake has a different father than her.

When Jake's dad calls, I'll say simply (because, what else would I say?), "Hey Jake, your dad is on the phone." Elke will look at me, with what I interpret as wonder, and say, "Jake's dad?" Or maybe it's not with a question mark. Maybe I'm editorializing here. Maybe it's, oh, "Jake's dad." As in nope, not my dad.

"Cason is his dad?" she says. (Or is it asks? At two years old, a lot of her questions feel rhetorical.)

"Yes, honey, that's right. Cason is Jake's dad."

I have two baby daddies. I am not alone. According to a new study from the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, one in five of all American moms have children with different fathers.

Years ago, I was embarrassed by this. I didn't want to stand out. I hated explaining it to strangers. Remarriage. An ex-husband. Selling us like the Avon Lady of blended families on the playground. We're normal, just like you. We're fiiiine. (Read my first entry about it here.)

Time has done the job that time has done and I care little about reactions now. (Not that there were ever any reactions--it was all my own mind fuck. You know, that job we do on ourselves.) But it doesn't change the fact that there will always be a clarification about which "dad" is on the phone or which "dad" is taking you on a bike ride.

I see Jake struggle with this from time to time. The other day when a friend asked who put up his new basketball net, Jake said, "My dad." I knew he meant Andy. But sometimes it's just easier. Sometimes shorthand is necessary. 

Elke has learned to clarify. She calls her own father "Andy." Why? It's how her brother refers to him. I find no need to correct her. No one seems to mind. Not Andy, who finds it amusing when his two-year-old daughter is screaming "Andy!" from down the street as he's walking home from the train.

Even in the morning, when she wakes up, the first thing she says, "Is Andy at work?" 

Sometimes I correct her. Mostly I just nod. "Yep. Andy's at work."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Widget by LinkWithin