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October 6, 2013

CRIB NOTES: Dad became uncool a little earlier than expected

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — She looked like a teenager.

“Daddy,” she asked with that off-putting tone that’s plagued parents for centuries. “Where can I stay if I don’t go on the field trip?”

“What do you mean? Why wouldn’t you go on the field trip?”

“Because you’re going to be there.”

Oh. So that’s it. My 6-year-old suddenly became 14.

“Why, sweetie? Are you embarrassed by me?”

“At school I am, yes. You coming on the field trip would be so embarrassing. Especially if it’s a trip that other parents don’t go on.”

Now, it should be noted we were asked to come by the school nurse in order to help out with Penny’s care due to her diabetes. So I am certain that having her condition brought to the attention of her classmates doesn’t thrill her. So I am treating this conversation with the due consideration the circumstances warrant.

But even so, c’mon now. I was cool an hour ago when we were playing on the swings at the park. Now I’m not?

“Well, sweetheart, I can stay in the back, if you want, behind the teachers and parents. You don’t have to hang out with me the entire time. But won’t it be cool if I get to spend the day with you?”

“Yes, except around my friends. That’s just embarrassing. You can come if you stay at least 1,000 feet behind me.”

“Oh, 1,000 feet, huh?”

“Well, 5,000 or a million would be better. But yes. I’d rather just not go on the field trip.”

“Hmm.”

So there it is. I got six years and two months of VIP status from my daughter. Now, much earlier than I expected, I’ve started slipping down the scale that every parent crashes to the bottom of at some point. Before you know it, I won’t even be Dad. I’ll be Leave Me Alone Dad. The only communication from her will be in the form of a complaint. I will be the enemy by default.

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