As of late, theres been an issue of grave importance keeping me up
nights: Just when do I have to stop picking my nose in front of my son?
I take the job of being a positive role model and good influence on my son
quite seriously, but lets face the truth: I am not a saint.
Occasionally I have a run of potty mouth, and I have been known, heaven
forgive me, to burp or fart and then laugh out loud.
When Skylar first joined the household, I wasnt too concerned about
corrupting him with my various sundry and nasty habits. During his
first week of life I could act however I wanted because he couldnt even
figure out how to look at me, never mind focus that far away. So for
the past few months Ive been fairly secure that I havent chipped off
any of his immaculate and innocent paint.
These days, however, Im not as confident. He already knows how to
hold a beer bottle and he keeps eyeing my triple bacon cheeseburgers.
In other words, hes trying to act just like me. Im awestruck by
Skylars innocence and how easily corruptible he is. But hell
have enough reasons to hate me, like curfews and embarrassing him in front
of his friends, that I dont need to add any fuel to the fire by
teaching him bad habits hell carry with him for the rest of his life.
Im really struggling with this. Some of these habits have taken
me over thirty years to perfect. And its not like I can just give
them up overnight. Heck, some of them Ive been hard at work to
give up for over thirty years. Theres also my vanity to consider. I
want to pass on good, wholesome values to my son and yet be able to
privately retain the dignity of my vices.
Of course, I can take the path of doing wrong only when Skylar isnt
looking, but thats more or less torture when were spending a long
block of quality time together. I can just imagine the future,
when Im playing a marathon session of Monopoly with him and one of my
urges becomes overwhelming. I have to go to the bathroom,
Ill say, seeking privacy. Dad, hell say, youve
gone six times in the last hour.
Where things will get most difficult is when Skylar discovers just how
unfair it is to be a child among grown-ups. I can already hear him
asking Rebecca why he has to brush his teeth before going to bed when
Daddy doesnt. (You see what I mean about it being unfair? Do I
ask him questions like why I have to go to work and he doesnt?)
Theres no doubt hell be clever enough to see the injustice of having
to brush his teeth when I dont, but will he be old enough to understand
that I can care more about his teeth than my own and not be hypocritical?
With my luck hell turn out to be cheeky and point out that he only has
baby teeth which are going to fall out anyway while Im looking at
dentures. Maybe thats when Ill introduce him to the concept of
contributing to the household by giving him his first chores.
Im not the only one who has to worry about the negative influence of
his vices. Rebecca will have her work cut out for her when Skylar
catches her nibbling at the bin food without paying for it, although she
claims its not stealing because one time the store manager suggested
she try the malt balls to see if she liked them before she bought them.
Im not sure the manager meant six or seven when he said try
or that he meant she should act like shes grazing at a smorgasbord each
and every time she goes to the store, but then again, I wasnt present
during their conversation so I dont really know.
In one sense I realize that I have considered this important question of
nasty habits too late in my sons development: too many of my friends
knew me during my college days and not only remember all the bad things I
bragged about doing back then but in several cases even have pictures.
I still remember the day I learned that my own father was not perfect, a
day tinged with betrayal and hurt. I learned that he was a man, that he
was flawed, and that at some things I was better than he was. That
day he became more real to me, more of a person than he had every been
before, and my love for him doubled. I wonder what that day will be
like for me when it is my turn.
Perhaps I will finally be able to relax, be myself in front of Skylar, and
relish my nasty habits once again without fear of permanently damaging my