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“You’re Not Fat, Daddy, You Just Have a Big Belly!”

Can you believe that headline? I know, I had the same one-word reaction: “Really?!” Actually, my initial reaction was more like three words, spoken to myself; the first word beginning with the letter “F,” followed by the more innocuous “you” and “too.”

The funny thing is, I’m really not fat – nor do I have a “big belly.” I don’t. (Why are you laughing?)

If you guessed that Joely – my quintessentially-middle, middle child – was the author, you’d be on the money. She said it so casually, too. Not much difference in cadence than if she had asked, “Daddy, can we go to the park?”

She’s funny, my Joely. She’ll throw out statements like that just to evoke a reaction. How does a 4-year-old know to do that? Especially one who needs no cue-up to evoke — or provoke — given her propensity to skate toward the line … and risk getting choked!

Yet, as Amy (my wife) often reminds me, Joely is our child who is the most loving, with the most ewwy-gooey-full demonstrations of affection.

She wakes up happier than anyone I’ve ever seen — consistently, every day — and she coos with delight the moment you say, “Good morning, Joels.”

She will spontaneously say, “I love you dadsters,” and run up to kiss my hand when I’m not paying attention. She is naturally sweet, generous and (mostly) considerate of others.

Of course, there is that sinister side to contend with, which rears its face – unannounced – on a moment’s notice. A friend of mine says it’s because she’s a Gemini.

Like the time she said “Good daddy”; and — before she could draw another breath — said “Bad daddy.” Hiya, Sybil!

I don’t know, maybe it’s a girl thing, because Bella, our 6-year-old, can be just as sweet-and-sour.

Ari, on the other hand, is far more consistent with his feelings. At age 2, his biggest frustrations generally involve misplacing one of his 27 Thomas the Tank Engine trains. A momentary outburst could ensue, but then it’s over; rarely is there prolonged whining or crying.

And, in his cute 2-year-old vernacular, he defuses nearly any build-up of frustration that Amy or I may experience when he asks questions like: “Where is (Thomas’s friend) Percy?” (Think about how a 2-year-old speaks … now think about alternate terms for the word cat.)

Lastly, Ari never makes me ask myself, “Do these jeans make me look fat?!”



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