My Little Brother, The Stay-At-Home Dad

My "little" brother is slightly over thirty. He dwarfs most people. Its not that he's overly tall, although he's not short. Its not that he's overly heavy, although he's not skinny. Rather, he's ... sturdy. Mostly muscle. He's a ... big boy.

He's an avid camper, hiker, and gun-owner. He has skills. He could be dropped in a forest in Montana naked in Winter and thrive. Although he'd be cranky. Very very cranky. Thanks to my parents choice of schools, he also has other skills. He can do his tie seven different ways, and have brunch with the Vice-President without thinking twice.

As life would turn out, he's a stay-at-home-Dad. They have one little boy, just 12 months old. They decided that someone needed to be home with the baby. She has a career, he had a job. It made financial sense for her to keep working and my brother to stay home. Although he's taking a few classes, so he can have a career later and give her a break in a few years.

My brother's got an easy charm with a quick laugh, like a toddler fresh from a nap and ready to go! Everyone loves him. Its impossible not too. However, there are those moments ... moments when those that cross him have very real concerns for their personal safety. I'm sure that vigilante images from old Westerns flash through their minds. More "Clint Eastwood" than "John Wayne".

My brother, as the stay-at-home-parent, takes the baby to all the doctor appointments. Last week he took the baby to get a vaccine. The next morning the baby had a huge hard extra-hot knot at the injection site, his whole leg was swollen, and he had a high-grade fever. My brother called the doctor's office. The receptionist told him they'd see the baby the following afternoon at 4:30. You couldn't have paid me enough to be that receptionist.

He told her, enunciating clearly and coldly, "I am not calling to make an appointment for tomorrow. I am calling to tell you that I will be there in twenty minutes. I will NOT be kept waiting. Do. You. Under. Stand. Me.?" Stammering "yes, sir. I understand, sir, we'll be ready in twenty minutes".

There was no waiting at the office. He walked in, and was shown to a room immediately with a nurse and doctor. They determined it was a spider-bite. Maybe. Several doses of Tylonal later, the baby is fine.

I suppose there are disadvantages to being a stay-at-home-Dad. However, there are definite advantages. I doubt very many women would have been able to terrorize the receptionist/nurse into doing the right thing. Or, perhaps, most women wouldn't have tried. My husband has often pointed out the difference in women and men in negotiating. Women tend to accept what is offered, men tend to push for more. (Which might account for part of the disparity between women and men's salaries for similiar jobs, although thats neither here nor there).

I think lots of us can learn from my brother's experience. I certainly know I can.

Waves
 
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