Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Father's Day

Since I'm the milk machine in our household, Jeff has taken on the title of Burp Expert. Jeff took the month of May off as parental leave, so for the past few weeks I would feed Theo and then hand him off to Jeff. Sometimes he would let loose with an enormous belch (Theo, not Jeff) just as we made the transfer, and we would laugh and Theo would give us a big, gummy grin. Around lunchtime on Monday, he finished nursing and started to fuss like he usually does, a sign that he wants to sit up and get on with the day. But as soon as he sat up and I patted him on the back a few times, he began to cry inconsolably. He wasn't interested in eating more (shocking) or in staring at his gorgeous mama, or in dancing around the room to the Talking Heads.

I think he missed his dad.

I've done enough complaining about German life and its quirks that I think it's time to show the other side of the coin. This is a community-based culture, where neighbors don't hesitate to tell one another how to sort the recycling, and where old men in the empty grocery story parking lot feel it is their responsibility to shout menacingly at clueluess drivers who aren't following the preferred traffic pattern. These same community values mean that people who have babies are expected to want to spend a bunch of time with them, and to care for them with quality, unbureaucratic health care, and to have the opportunity to return to work after their babies are a little older. Even the dads.

So Jeff got to hang out with Theo for a whole month (and another month later this summer), and I got to relax and leave the burping to someone else for a few weeks. And now Theo gets so excited when Jeff comes home at night that he practically wiggles across the room on his own. Theo, I mean; not Jeff.


Maria said...

That is awesome (that Jeff can spend so much time with the two of you!)!!!

Nicole said...

Those crazy Europeans and their so-called family values! Don't they know it's much more important to be preventing gay marriage and limiting access to birth control? Everyone knows that's what real family values are. ;)