Healthy Kids, June 2001
This father’s day, one dad celebrates the little
things that keep him happy on the home front.
By Bruce Kluger
As I sat down this morning to pull together a few thoughts on Father’s Day, the
usual list of parenting themes began running through my head—the special role
that men play in their children’s lives; the challenge of succeeding as both husband
and father; and, in my case, the strange and wonderful world of being an at-home
I was just getting that serious look on my face and starting to jot down a few ideas
when my eye fell upon a bright pink post-it note attached to my computer screen. It
had apparently been stuck there by my five-year-old, Bridgette, just before she
trotted off to school with Mommy.
“Good Morning, Daddy,” the note read in Bridgette’s delightfully loopy lettering. “I
love you.” Next to the words she had doodled an assortment of smiley faces and
That’s it! Grinning, I brushed aside my list of weighty observations, choosing
instead to concentrate this Father’s Day on the smaller, more intimate joys of
parenting. For although Bridgette isn’t yet in grade school, and her sister, Audrey,
is barely two, it’s already clear to me that when our kids are grown and out of the
house, it will be these little post-it-note moments that stay with us forever.
This Father Day, here is what I celebrate:
That Bridgette calls me Daddy, and Audrey calls me Dah-dee--but every now
and then, both accidentally call me Mommy. I take that as the supreme compliment.
That I can still bribe Bridgette to do almost anything for me with the promise of a
single Peppermint Patty.
That Audrey says “No, thank you” when I beg her to finish her dinner.
That Bridgette has preferred to eat Chinese food with chopsticks since before
she was two.
That Audrey sings her version of “Rockabye Baby” (“Bah-buh-bee-Ba-bee”)
loud enough to wake any sleeping child in a nine-mile radius.
That Bridgette still thinks it’s fun when she and Audrey wear matching outfits.
That Audrey still delights in taking a bath—splashing, blowing bubbles in the
water, and dumping out the shampoo bottles. (I give her six months until she’s
joined Bridgette’s bath-time boycott.)
That during last fall’s presidential race, Audrey, then 18 months, would routinely
(and instinctively) shout “No!” when asked who she was voting for, whether it was
Gore, Bush or Nader. Indeed, the only candidate in whom she seemed even mildly
interested was Bridgette.
That the wallpaper in my kitchen, which I painstakingly hung strip by strip five
years ago, is now almost completely obscured by a rotating gallery of Bridgette’s
water color paintings, construction paper flowers and assorted crayoned portraits of
her little sister.
That I have finally settled on the one piece of music that’s perfect as Audrey’s
theme song: Benny Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing!”
That when I reprimand Audrey for a no-no--throwing her pasta on the floor,
going near electrical outlets, sending anonymous faxes--Bridgette jumps to her
defense like a mini-Judge Judy. (This, I fear, won’t be so entertaining one day.)
That I’ve danced with both of my daughters since they were infants, and, as of
last month, they’ve begun dancing with one another.
That Bridgette recently gave Audrey a manicure, and the results were fetching.
That Audrey recently gave herself a pedicure, and the results are still on the
living room carpet.
That Bridgette loves Singin’ in the Rain, chick peas and Audrey.
That Audrey loves Minnie Mouse, Pez dispensers and Bridgette.
That last night after my wife and I finally got the kids to bed--Alene reading
Bridgey a few books and turning down the lights, me laying down with Audrey and
pleading with her to close her eyes--we coincidentally emerged from our separate
assignments at the same time, meeting in the hallway between the two rooms.
Rather than heading off to watch TV, Alene and I looked at one another and,
without comment, swapped rooms, so we could kiss the other daughter goodnight.
As I sit at my computer and fondly recall the appreciation my family has shown me
on Father’s Day past, I already know how I’ll respond to their thanks this year:
“Don’t mention it,” I’ll say to them. “The pleasure is all mine.”