Me: What do you want to be when you grow up Owen?
OWen: A construction worker. Or a sandwich.
For six months of last year I lived 2000 miles away from my kids. They were raised by their mother. For those of us in the United States we are all well aware that there are strangely powerful political bodies that think that's the sort of thing that corrupts young men. And by, "corrupts" they mean, "makes them gay". Except they tend to use words like, "sissies". Or even go for what they think is the academic-sounding, "effeminate". By which they still again mean, "gay". Mind you these are the same people who think the over-three years I was a stay at home Dad was an even bigger makes-them-gay stain on my family's life. And yes - clearly I'm waiting with baited breath for the Google searches that bring people here purely for their search of, "gay stain".
Anyhoo - as everybody knows what a boy needs is a strong, father-figure to develop into a real, balanced, masculine man. Someone who can show him what a Man actually means. You know - flannel, guns and chewing tobacco. To paint that picture of strong, brooding masculinity. A cast-iron, Jason Statham-like avatar he can take as an example as to what to drive towards when he grows into stereotypical, American Manhood.
Thank God I'm here. To be fair I am the gayest straight man you're likely to meet. I like window shopping in Hobby Lobby and Home Goods, smelling nice and have a fervent shoe-fetish. Actually let's back that up a touch - not a shoe fetish. That strongly insinuates that I spend my Sundays putting my willy in random shoes at DSW (I don't care what anyone says - those photos were faked). No - I just really like nice shoes. So no - I don't want to fuck shoes. But do want to fuck you in really nice shoes (you know who you are...). Then go shopping in Home Goods and Lush for candles and bath bombs.
Anyway - I thought you might like to know what Owen has become. How's he's changed and how he's the same as he ever was. First and foremost - he still has a sometimes-religious fear of having his photo taken. The kind of suspicion of photography that makes you think he's either Amish or in the Taliban. Seriously - look at the distrust in his eyes.
Unless he's doing something incredibly cheeky. Usually involving underpants. Then he's a massive camera whore. Can't stop him shutting up about how I should take a photo and send it to my best friend. The fact he's aware I'm writing on this again has him giddy at the prospect of a photo of him doing something completely absurd will be online again. Of course I'd never go along with that.
Outside of that he spent a period of time absolutely convinced the highest number in the world was 209. Utterly convinced, he was. Right up to the point where I told him about the number 210 and it was like showing a caveman fire for the first time.
He still has an incredible knack for picking out the worst choices for the Weekend Family Movie Night. His sister might be famous for being able to hunt down stunningly, iffy books to read. But Oboe - he can find the dodgiest DVD every time.
In short though - Owen though has basically turned into a sixteen year old boy. As in he can't stop talking about boobs and arses and wants to spend the entire day on the computer. Since getting to Arizona I've at least managed to get him to stop saying, "butt" every five minutes. Granted he's replaced that with either, "bum" or, "bum cheeks". And he does still stick his arse out like a baboon presenting itself. But eradicating the word, "butt" at least is something. It's a horrible word. I know a lot of Americans think it's a milder, nicer form of, "ass". But it's just an unpleasant word. It's a lot sharper and blunt than the lovely, round sound of the word, "bum". Still - I wish he'd stop singing, "Daddy's bum cheeks are so good. I want to eat them for dinner" ten times a day.
His boob thing is just what boys do, I gather, Granted Owen had a raging, nipple obsession. That's gone (mostly). But been replaced by a passion for remarking - quite loudly I might add - that random women he can see have boobs. The few times we've been off swimming in the pool near my house he's openly told a few women that their boobs are big. Which in an odd way I'm sure is flattering. Until he asks them, "why?" I probably shouldn't have cheekily added as explanation, ".....his mother doesn't have any" that one time. But I have had to have the chat with him that some people don't want their body parts remarked upon. He seems t get it. But still has that astonished look in his eye if he wanders by someone he can't quite believe has deliberately grown boobs. It's a far cry from when I was a kid and I'd flick through the Littlewood's catalogue underwear section cheekily giggling because you could see ladies belly buttons.Nope - he's graduated straight to boobs. Little pervert.
Add his latest line of he-thinks-he's-hilarious line of questioning is to state that, "wouldn't it be ridiculous if someone wanted to ride someone's bum cheeks daddy!?" Partly this is because since he's been in Pre-K he's picked up a stunning amount of second hand information and habits that every parent has to battle through. Partly because this means he still gets to say, "bum cheeks" out loud in a brazen oh-my-God-I'm-so-bloody-clever way. And partly - I cling in hope to anyway - is because he knows that I've told him that no question is a bad question - no matter how weird or rude it might seem at first. The last few days though he's modified that to asking me very loudly until I answer, "you don't want to ride anyone's bum cheeks do you Daddy!?" At which point my strong sense of never wanting to lie to my kids has me considering saying, "...well actually...." before enthusiastically gushing about who is on my very short list of one. But instead I tend to frantically answer that by asking a question in return about anything in particular I can think of at the time.
As far as his computer obsession goes - that's got to change. Part of the reason his mother argues she moved to Arizona was to be able to go outside as much as possible. The irony of course being that the kids and I didn't care what the weather was like in NY state - we just went outside in whatever clothes were needed. Add that today it's 105 degrees and Owen appears to be quite sensitive to the heat to the point of chundering all over my car earlier. So naturally he wants to stay inside and play on the computer. I've considered trying to shock him out of it by firstly boring him about the history of computers. A few dull tales about the Enigma computer codes, Alan Turing, BBC computers when I was in school and a 45 minutes lesson about Tim Berners-Lee and maybe he'll just want to do something else. Or I could show him that principally people go online now either to meet women or watch women doing foul, depraved, wonderful things. Then swing it back to how surely 100 years ago Enigma Porn must have been a thing. Surely Nazis must have tried using the Enigma machines to send rude messages back and forth.
Lastly though - one thing you can rest easy about is that the boy can dance. Like a twat - but it's a dance all the same.
Now if you'll pardon me - I'm off to look at jewelry charms on Etsy.