Dean Owen

4 years ago · 1 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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Two Lost Letters but no Love Lost

Two Lost Letters but no Love Lost

I have not been dreading this day. 

I actually had no idea this day would come. 

It started off much like yesterday. The “trouble and strife” was away for a couple of days on assignment in Wuxi so it fell to me to be up at the break of dawn and making pancakes for little Ashley. I snuck some chocolate chips into my batter, poured three perfect circles in the pan, and revved up the Nespresso machine.

She scoffed down half a pancake as I prep’d her rucksack for school. And then it happened.


“Dad, can I have a yogurt?”


That single sentence killed me. I wasn’t angry that she didn’t like my pancakes. Nor that she didn’t say please. 

No, this was serious. 

She called me “Dad”.

I was no longer “Daddy”. 

All of a sudden she decided to drop two letters and call me "Dad". I mean, what the heck? She’s only four! This ain’t no democracy. Well at least until she’s eighteen. We live in Communist China for heaven’s sake. I am the Premier in my household. What I say, goes, or you’ll end up shoving coal in Inner Mongolia young lady!


“You call me Daddy” I quipped in a huff.

“No, you are Dad! And where is my yogurt?”

And that was it. All of a sudden, my name had changed.


I have no idea where this came from. Well perhaps I do. It’s those damn cartoons. Think about it. It’s always Dad in the cartoons, never Daddy. I’m kinda glad we are not living in France or I could have woken up to “Papa” this morning. I thought back. Way back. Must have been nine or ten when I started calling my father Dad, but that was when he was not around. I mean it’s embarrassing to speak to your friends about your Daddy. So Dad he became. It could have been "father". I’d always thought the word “father” a little Downton Abbeyish. It works well on paper, but spoken with a British accent. Nah.

So I had no choice but to accept my fate. Could have been worse I suppose. My mother insisted we all call her by her first name for frikkin’ sake.


Incidentally I worked many a 15-hour day, from stocking supermarket shelves in the early days to slaving away in front of trading terminals. I just did 2 days worth of single parenting. 


Single parents out there…. 


Respect!




"
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Sarah Elkins

Sarah Elkins

4 years ago #36

#43
Don't correct her, Dean Owen. She'll figure it out soon enough. The only time I corrected our boys for things like that was when I knew they'd be embarrassed in front of their peers if I didn't. Just enjoy it for now, you know it will go away soon!

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #35

#42
is it not compulsory in kindergarten? It is here in China, and was in Singapore and Japan too. I guess when English is the native language, the people that be think another language is not necessary. I also did French (and Latin), but it is quite difficult to learn in your teens if your only exposure is a one hour class, 5 days a week. Very easy if someone plonks you in the foreign country.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #34

#41
pasgetti! Now that is funny. My girl calls this thing I am typing on an ipapad! I don't want to correct her!

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

4 years ago #33

#40
It's amazing how fast children pick up a second language Dean Owen, that's why I've always been a proponent of kids being taught a second Language in America from Kindergarten or 1st grade on up. I learned French (remember very little) in HS and it was hard. I took Spanish in College and I was unable to learn transitions with verbs and adjectives. The class was only 1 night a week and sort of like a speed class. I had to drop out. Most of the adults in that class were either refreshing what they already knew or did Business in Mexico and Spain.

Sarah Elkins

Sarah Elkins

4 years ago #32

I remember so many of those moments -- those bittersweet moments -- when our boys turned a corner from little to big. From pasgetti to spaghetti, from mommy to mom. Our older son will be 18 tomorrow and I cannot believe it. He's big now, like a man, but I still see that sweet boy with the big brown eyes and dimple. It does fly by, and I'm so grateful for every memory. Nice reminder, Dean Owen.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #31

#39
Thanks Lisa. Enjoying every moment, especially now we can actually hold conversations and at 4, she is completely bilingual. Amazing I have been in China 9 years now, and can't speak the language, but at 4 she is fluent...

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

4 years ago #30

Dean Owen, how did I miss this wonderful story?! First let me state for the record, Ashley is a doll!! You had me guessing for a second as to why the tone changed after Ashley asked for yogurt. Awe, I bet your right, it was the cartoons!! It makes you feel as though she's growing up too fast when she goes from calling you daddy to dad. I bet the phase will pass. Maybe just keep asking her, "Don't you mean daddy?" If she say's no, let it go and try again unless it becomes a non-issue for you. I remember calling my dad, daddy until he died. I was 11 and still calling him that. I'm sure I referred to him as dad to my friends by that age. It's so hard to watch our kids grow. I still call my grown children my kids. By the way, I had a friend who always called her mom by her first name. I asked her why? She said, "Because I decided I don't like to call her mom." Her mom was (and still is) the most awesome woman. Well she calls her mom now. I'm so glad, because "Louise" sure earned her title, mom.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #29

#37
I am surprised to learn that Appa is also the word for father in Korea, Hungary and Tibet!

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #28

#34
Because that title really needs to be earned I've added a short (15 sec) video that I took last week to the buzz :) Thanks Fatima!

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

4 years ago #27

#30
Dean Owen Thanks for the Kind comment ( First need to get married LOL) . I don't celebrate Diwali but looking forward to Christmas just a month and a half left. BTW you are one amazing DAD Oops sorry One amazing Daddy and we can all see that.#rockstardaddy

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #26

#28
I am petrified Ken-san, of actually losing her in a shopping mall or wherever as it was pointed out to me that if you lose a child in China, China being so huge, you'd probably never see her again. Need to Find your Child app!

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #25

#26
I'm way ahead of you there with three girls, the eldest of which is dating her college heartthrob, the captain of the American Football team.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #24

#25
Thanks. I used to fear fatherhood but there is nothing like it.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #23

#24
I have no doubt you'll be a beautiful caring mom when the time comes Fatima Williams. Thanks for stopping by. Wish you a Happy Diwali if you celebrate it.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #22

#20
do you like your knees lol 😬. That was an IRA tactic if I recall rightly. I remember delivering a girl back to her parents in the morning after swatting for exams the whole night. Her boisterous father was standing by the road waiting. As soon as I turned up in my Renault 5 he came storming toward us, fist in the air. Naturally I chickened out and drove off...I was a wimpy teen.

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

4 years ago #21

One other thing I've found, Dean-san. When you have a boy-child, you only have one boy in the neighbourhood to worry about. But when you have a girl-child, you have ALL the boys in the neighbourhood to worry about!!!!!!!!! 😰

Paul Walters

Paul Walters

4 years ago #20

Dean Owen After two girls doing exactly the same thing I can sympathise ...It kinda hurts. However I can assure you that during teenage years when something is desired ( a night out during school week or something expensive) the moniker "daddy' will be re employed and I tell you what, it works every time .

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

4 years ago #19

Aha...Dean Owen Love, from the children, can felt in diverse ways, with their novel utterances, cute looks and dulcet pestering! Enjoy fatherhood with love and patience. :)

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

4 years ago #18

LOL Dean Owen You had me laughing all the way ! I can't wait to be a parent now, seeing the bond you have with you baby girl :) She is too cute and smart Calls you DAD uh nice ! Thanks for sharing this lovely moment with us can't wait to hear more about her :)

Gert Scholtz

Gert Scholtz

4 years ago #17

Dean Owen I have looked after our two children many times when my wife was away and to singe parents I can only echo: Great Respect! The first commanding "Dad" becomes a call with many intonations - can I have something, why did you say this, endearment, where are you - many more. The photo is so poignant - makes one long for the days when it was "Daddy" . Great post - thanks Dean.

Pascal Derrien

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #16

Perfect read for the week end :-)

Pascal Derrien

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #15

I would have been concerned if she had said ''Dad can I have A yogurty''..... I agree with the 18 threshold, as far as my daughter is concerned her brother and I are perfecting interview techniques for potential boyfriends first question being do you like your knees.... nice light hearted take on time going by...Nice one Dean Owen

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #14

#17
Scottish heritage? What, do they call you Braveheart or Ken the Bruce?

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #13

#17
Probably easy to create a synthetic durian flavoured yogurt taste, but synthesising the smell is a challenge. I actually had a durian egg tart an hour ago, was quite yummy.

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

4 years ago #12

#16
you forget my Scots heritage, Dean. As for the durian flavour, if 'they' can spoil ice cream I'm sure 'they' can spoil yoghurt. I'll set my wife to the task. Sensory glands like a bloodhound. If she can't find it it doesn't exist.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #11

#9
So what do they call you now Ken-san? I was wondering as I wrote what the natural progression was. Reading this thread it appears it is Daddy to Dad to ATM.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #10

#8
I think I had every right to give her durian yogurt for the rest of the week (wonder if that is even a product!? Hmmm, my next venture?)

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #9

#7
Ouch! Hopefully I'll be able to turn things around and call her my ATM. She made her TV debut at age one

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #8

#6
You have to teach me the trick Vincent Andrew. She is adamant that I am dad and not daddy. Not only that, she changes her own name every year. When she was one, she was Ashley, two, Chibi Maruko, three she insisted on being called teacher, and four Lovey. She has already chosen her name for next year - Fifi. Pa appears to be quite popular in SE Asia. Thanks for stopping by.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #7

#5
Enjoying and savouring every minute of it Irene, but I feel for all the single parents out there emptying and washing baby toilets many times a day.... I mean I do have an Ayi (maid), but I feel it is not her job to do toilet duty..... But you, 13 years of it .... I bow in respect.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #6

#2
Thanks Laurent. I'm thinking kids grow up faster these days as they are bombarded with input whereas in the past they had their family, friends, radio and books.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #5

#1
Yes, if she called me father at four years old, I might have had a heart attack. I mean, what's wrong with Daddy? I wonder if I should enforce martial law....

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

4 years ago #4

I can't remember when my kids stopped calling me daddy but I remember me wife used to refer to me as daddy well into their teens, as in "ask your daddy" or "see what your daddy says" This caused them both to squirm, particularly on front of their peers. One thing's for sure, you can't stop them growing up and young ladies become madams so quickly. Just hang on for the ride!

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

4 years ago #3

But the burning issue left unresolved, Daddy-San, is did she or did she not get her yogurt?

Kevin Pashuk

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #2

Wait till she introduces you as her ATM... or the one who pays for the wedding. Enjoy her at each stage, even if she drops the 'DY'...

Laurent Boscherini

Laurent Boscherini

4 years ago #1

Thank you Dean Owen for sharing your beautiful and tremendous post. Kiddo learns fast and reminds us, how wonderfully they are carefree and how fast life uses to pass for us, to share them that.

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