Monday, August 07, 2006

parent pheremones

we like to swing!

I think maybe I smell funny. Well, funnier than usual, I mean.

We went out to the playground after morning nap even though it looked pretty cold out. So we both bundled up, but then, on the four-block trip to the park, chilly San Francisco melted into sweltering Tucson. Leaving the house I felt proud of myself for going out at all on such a typically cold summer's day instead of just holing up at home. When we got to the playground, I spent the first ten minutes removing layers from myself and Fern both.

It was also an unusually dad-heavy day: four solo dads, which is probably more than I've ever seen there. We were swinging next to another dad who noticed the pile of extra clothing I'd generated and got to talking about changeable weather. He went off to feed and another dad came over and we chatted briefly. This conversation was interrupted by an oddly bemused mother who told us that we men should have more conversations. She then informed us that women talk more than men - 5,000 words a day more, apparently. Not sure where she was going with that one, but we let her continue to monopolize the conversation while we.... oh, wait, I get it now!

It wasn't just dads, though; another mom from across the street recognized me from previous park visits and introduced herself. We talked about street garbage and other neighborly concerns, almost like a real community. How strange! And I talked with a third dad because I recognized his shirt; he's a biologist who works with Scripps Institute of Oceanography and Point Reyes Bird Observatory, both of which I have some oblique knowledge of from my work.

As if that weren't enough, as we were rolling home a contractor on the street chatted me up about Fern and his own experiences raising twin girls as a single dad. He was an unlikely sort: he seemed to have lost a tooth for every year of his kids' lives (both of 'em), and one of his pressing concerns was keeping the boys away from his daughters. (They're three years old.) But it was a sweet conversation, and we really did, amazingly, have a lot in common.

So my question is... why today? I've never had more than a two-sentence conversation at that playground (not for lack of trying), unless of course I've been with Kristin or my mom or some other safe, female person. Then all at once I get to know Jason (with 10-month old Henry), Lisa (11-month old Sylvie), and the tooth-deprived roofer (Hayley and Taylor).

I guess I'll have to wait until Kristin gets home so I can ask her about that smell. Although now the cat is being awful friendly...

In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that today's photo wasn't actually from this outing, but a trip Fern took on the weekend with Kristin and Granna . It just seemed so appropriate to my day that I thought I'd stick it in here!

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