I don’t think that anyone would be surprised to hear that I have become a very protective father in the last two weeks. That’s likely going to happen to any dad; the only difference is that my protectiveness is seasoned with a stupidly healthy imagination and several years of martial arts training. Carrying my daughter around in her baby seat, I keep my head on a swivel (as one should in a bear fight), watching for any potential attacker, kidnapper, gypsy, or smoker. I rehearse how I will tuck Abby under a nearby shrubbery, pull on my ninja mask, and fight off the gang of elderly cardiac patients milling by the doctor’s office. (Yeah, I know, there just aren’t any real threats to her around where I walk.)
I’m no better when we’re driving.
My wife has pointed out that she has not seen any road rage from me when I drive Abby around (I tend toward very conservative driving when she’s in the back), but if I’m the passenger I spend all my time giving every vehicle within 200 metres the stinkeye, the wonkeye, or the more severe deatheye. I consider the presence of other vehicles a direct challenge to my family’s wellbeing. If there is a child in the other car as well, I get even more annoyed (what with them being a successful genetic competitor and all.)
Erin pointed out to me that I need to learn to curb my swearing when moron drivers in Brantford cut us off or tailgate or drive immediately next to us on two lane roads. She made the excellent point that we don’t want Abby’s first words to be “$%&#ing dumb$#@ &%$#wit!” And since our daughter is very clearly gifted (she can lift her head for extended periods and excels at pooping), you know that she is already building her vocabulary and practicing her diction while she sleeps.
Now my dad would probably find it funny if Abby’s first words were a bit on the blue side. He has a good sense of humour about general rudeness and dirty jokes. My mother might be less impressed, not because she is a prude, but because she probably expects Abby to start out speaking Spanish gleaned from past-life memories. My mother-in-law would likely not be so keen to show her off to her church group. My father-in-law would think that it is awesome because good pirates swear a lot, and that would give him an excellent first mate for when he steals his cutter from Her Majesty’s Royal Navy.
It reminds me a bit of my childhood. Growing up the child of divorced parents, I was subject to different standards of behavior based on where I happened to be. My father would let me watch movies with the most mindboggling gore and violence as long as there was no sex or nudity in them. Apparently he was more concerned about us seeing boobs than us learning how to surgically remove a skull and spine from the lacerated corpse of our enemies Predator-style.
My mother, on the other hand, preferred that my brother and I watch foreign films that, while low on bodies exploding, were also low on people wearing clothing.
From a cinematic perspective, it was an odd childhood. We never saw movies that featured both sex and violence in one 90 minute spread. I often mused that if the protagonists from the action movies my dad rented just got some of that hot Latin lovin’ from the film festival flicks of my mother’s collection, they would likely be a lot less frustrated and would probably kill far fewer people.
These are the things I think about now that I’m a dad: sex and violence.