Posted by jdg | Tuesday, May 06, 2008 |

With my wife back at work, I went out and bought a used Babyjogger Twinner II. It's built like a bicycle and as wide as the sidewalk, but its hulking presence in our foyer encourages a daily activity where I will be able to avoid eye contact with both of my children so they won't be able to see the constant fear in my eyes. I'm also hoping that with an hour of running every day, I will finally be able to rid myself of one or more of these pesky supernumerary chins.

Juniper and I have gone jogging every night for a few weeks in the old mono-jogging stroller and she loves it. As we embarked on yesterday's trial run in the behemoth, the new kid was the unknown variable: my progeny are not known for their affinity for speedy little chariots in their earliest days. Juniper cried every time we put her in a stroller at Gram's age. For the first mile of today's run, I considered it a success as he merely maintained a constant mild whimper. A mile later it reached a full-on scream. I suggested that Juniper hold his bottle for him, and she did, causing every woman we passed along the Riverfront to buckle over backwards from the cuteness. Within a few minutes he was asleep, and blessedly silent. "You're the best big sister in the world," I told her. And I meant it.

There is a fundamental unfairness to the way men are treated with their children in public compared to women. A man carrying a screaming infant while dragging a toddler who's having a fit because the carousel is only open on weekends, well he's "such a good dad." I swear four women came up and told me that yesterday under those exact circumstances. If I had been my wife I'm sure they would have been shaking their heads with a tsk tsk. Mothers, I've learned from floor polish commercials, have to give 100 percent. Fatherhood is not unlike the Special Olympics. Sometimes you get a medal just for showing up.

But still, I guess a white guy pushing a giant stroller with two children while holding the leash of an energetic German Shorthaired Pointer is not something you see every day in Detroit. At least, that's what I assume, given the reactions I got from people on the street. Rubberneckers in passing cars slowed to a menacing crawl beside me. Women shouted out, "You keep it up, Superdad!" Three different people yelled some variant of that to me today.

Superdad? Hardly. When I told my wife, she groaned and suggested that today I wear a cape.