Seamus and I have been having some great times together lately.
He has gotten to spend some extra nights at Dad’s house, with cool movies and video game sessions and board games and a million other fun things.
We have a weekly session of Dungeons & Dragons (I was fairly surprised to learn that this is still a thing) with some like-minded youngsters.
Earlier this month (January), Seamus even got to come on a trip with me to New Jersey for a massive family party.
In all of this, you’ll note that it has been just Seamus getting the extra time with Dad, the extra cool events, the extra attention.
Or maybe you didn’t notice that the Little Ones were being excluded, but I sure did.
Having all that extra time with Seamus has been great, and I love bonding with him. I loved taking him to a local screening - yes, in a theater - of White Christmas. I loved taking him up to Uncle Sean’s annual post-Christmas party, and having a blast with him and the rest of the family. I loved taking him to his weekly “geek night,” and play along with the group.
I don’t love feeling like I am missing time with Duncan and Kathryn. I hate feeling like I’ve left them out. I hate knowing that Seamus is getting the “best of Daddy” almost exclusively lately.
Don’t misunderstand; there isn’t a single event I’ve mentioned that Duncan and Kathryn would have enjoyed. The party? Seamus was the youngest person there, except for one three year old cousin who had a terrible night.
Sitting still for a whole movie? Duncan and Kathryn haven’t mastered that skill yet.
D&D night? Hahahahahahahaha!
None of that really matters to my conscience though. On the scale of cosmic justice, there has been a heavy tilt in Seamus’ favor, against the Little Ones lately.
The phenomenon even manifests itself in school time. Kathryn can’t really participate in all the lessons, so I try to get as much in as possible while she is napping. This, of course, isn’t nearly enough time to cover a whole day’s schooling for both of the boys, so invariably she gets put off while I keep focusing on them.
It trickles down to Duncan too – he is a kindergartner, and Seamus is a fourth-grader. They have a few shared lessons, and then Duncan gets some simple writing and whatnot, and Seamus gets much more work. More work, in this case, equals more attention from dad too. Despite the liberating joy of homeschooling, this unintended consequence is frustrating.
Happily, everyone can still win in this game. One of Seamus’ presents for Christmas was a package of lift tickets and ski rentals from Massanutten. He has already made a trip with his grandparents, and I had a special day with the Little Ones going to a bouncy house and shopping (they both are into shopping, haven’t figured that one out yet).
I am working on putting together a mutual music lesson time slot with Duncan - he has always been really into music.
I haven’t landed on a special activity for Kathryn and me just yet, but I am sure I will in time – especially if you all can suggest some great activities for a dad with a 3 year old daughter!
In the meantime, I’ll keep trying to find productive ways, like writing this blog post, to channel my parental guilt.