You can call me DAD

 The illustrations are originals by @Paulcarlonillustration on Instagram.


At the time of writing this my son is 4 years, 5 months and 20 days old. If you want to get pedantic about it, there’s an extra 16 hours in there too. That’s 1,634 days.

Today, on only the 1,634th day of his existence, he asked permission to call me Dad.

“Daddy, I think I’d like to call you Dad. What will you call me?”

“Well, I guess ‘Son’ would be the appropriate response”

And so has begun a little game between the two of us. He doesn’t always do it, sometimes he forgets himself and I’m still Daddy or Dada. But when he does remember he likes making a point of punctuating his questions with “Dad”.

I didn’t expect to be Dad until he was at least ten. Four years and five months seems a little early.

There is something about the Dad/Son exchange that feels very mature, very grown up.
The odd thing is that it also feels like it has formalised our relationship. As if it’s a relationship we are both mutually invested in now.

Up till now I’ve been responsible for him, he didn’t know any better. I was his keeper, care giver; I came running when he called for Dada. It’s a relationship dynamic he’s known since the very beginning.

This transition to Dad makes me feel more like he has chosen me. As if he was considering his options for adult male partnerships and I won out. I guess I fear that, as he grows up, our bond will be less affectionate, maybe less obvious and more taken for granted.

However, being Dad to his Son actually makes me feel closer to him as it feels like he’s created a secret code between us. Two friends with pet names for each other.

To begin with I was Dada, then Daddy and now, at 4, I’m Dad. Is there another stage? Where do we go from here? First name terms?

Hey You Guys

Even odder than this, he has started referring to his mother and I collectively as “guys”.

“Hey guys, drive slowly, we have a lot of stuff back here”

(he’s very keen on road safety).

“Err guys? You said if I ate 5 more pieces of dinner I could have a biscuit”

(he never forgets a dinner promise).

Some of you may think this is an impersonal and inappropriate way for a 4 year old to address his parents. I admit it feels odd but I challenge you to experience a moment like we did last night and not have your heart melt:

He’s been coming into our room in the middle of the night recently. He’ll inch the door open, then whisper from the door to see if it’s okay to continue.

“Daddy… Dad! Can I come in?”

Last night I heard the door creak open, it was 3am. I saw the outline of a small child stick his head in and then the words:

“Guys…”

*pause for dramatic effect*

“Guys…I love you”

Then the door just shut and I heard him plod back to bed in his own room.

Son, darling, buddy, little dude. If you continue to come into our room at 3am to randomly express your love for us, then you can call me whatever you fancy!

Dada, Daddy, Dad, Guys? Be my guest!


 The illustrations are originals by @Paulcarlonillustration on Instagram.

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2 thoughts on “You can call me DAD

  1. I think I became ‘dad’ when they started school. Guess it’s part of the newfound independence.

    If you want to know where it goes next. My two find it amusing to give me random names, in public. No idea how that started but most recently I was Tarquin?!

    Shouting that across the supermarket makes me sound like the stepdad from the posh side of town trying way too hard to be cool with the kids! Which il probably explains why they do it.

    Then again, I’m still Daddy when they’re poorly.

    1. Ahh yes, “Daddy when they’re poorly” definitely gives away their true feelings.
      I know a guy called Robin who, in an attempt to be cool with his older children, convened a family meeting to decide his new name and came up with Rob-Dog!

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