A good (if nerdy) dad

One of my favorite television shows is “Intervention” on A&E. I watch it every Monday night (or at least record it on the DVR and then watch it when I can). I was most relieved when they moved it from Friday nights to Monday nights, as watching it on a Friday night with a glass of Gewürztraminer in my hand felt a little unseemly. In any case, every week I root for the addict and am always elated when they make it through to the other side. One clear observation I’ve made as a result of watching “Intervention” is that one cannot downplay the importance of parent/child bonds. Over and over the same theme emerges. An inattentive or absentee father often seems to lead to a cascade of bad decisions by his daughter. Tales of a son vying for his father’s approval are told and retold. While there are fewer examples shown of mothers neglecting their parenting duties, they surely exist as well.

I’ve told my other half, “Never forget how important you are in our daughter’s life. You wield more influence that you will ever realize.” I gesture at some strung-out meth addict on “Intervention” for emphasis. I mean it in a sincere way, but in the back of my mind I also replay Chris Rock’s “keep my baby off the pole” routine.

The good news is that my husband does spend lots of time with his daughter. While I am cooking and cleaning and doing laundry, those two are reclining on the couch with PS3 controllers in their hands. They watch “The Justice League” cartoons together. They play Cash Cab and quiz each other about super heroes. He asked her to name four members of the X-Men. She named five. He asked her if she knew the real name of The Flash. She knew it (do you know it? If so, I would not recommend mentioning it in public).

As proof that she spends a lot of time with her comic book-reading, nerd of a dad, I offer this recent exchange:

I was watching a documentary called Paper Clips.  The kid was supposed to be in bed, but wandered into the living room to see what I was doing.  "I'm watching a movie," I told her. 

"A movie about what?" she asked. 

I thought for a moment.  I didn't feel prepared to explain the Holocaust to a five-year-old.  When she is older, I will take her to the Holocaust museum on one of our trips to visit family in DC, but she is too young for it now.

"It's about a war," I replied.

She nodded. "A war with ALIENS?"  

So yeah, someone's been watching a little too much TV with her dad. But hey, if it keeps my baby off the pole and off the crack pipe, it's all good.