There is no better way to clean up your language than having a 3-year-old in the house. My language was not that bad before, however, there were times I would use some more colorful language. In fact I did not use the cleanest of language to describe going to the bathroom. It turns out that after potty training the Kid he started using some of the words that I was using. It might not sound bad, however, when the Kid started to use those words outside of the bathroom was when trouble started to ensue. We started calling those words that were to be only used in the bathroom, rightfully, bathroom words.
There will be moments son when you are a parent that get away from you. Moments when your child is under your watch. Moments where you will hear words coming from your wife that will resonate in your head for weeks. Your father maybe the best father in the world, but I also have those moments. One of those moments is a great sense of pride in my eyes but could have ended very differently.
Your mother was making cookies for Boss’s Day at my job. Come to think about it those cookies really should have been hers. During which time I was watching you. I was, I will not deny that.
We were playing in your room and you were playing so well that I thought I would sneak away and check email, Twitter, and Facebook. I walk into the office and I didn’t see you follow me out of your room.
I sit down and start to look at Facebook when suddenly I hear a crash. Your mother looks up from her Law books to see you turning the corner around the couch with a screwdriver in hand. This is when I heard her say,
Why does our son have a screwdriver?
I’ll explain why it was there in a second. I reach over and yank it from you and you go ahead with a two-year old tantrum. It was one of those moments that as a father someday you will realize that just happens when children are under a mans watch. It isn’t that we are being neglectful it is just that we do not pay attention to details. We think that we can turn our back and you are OK but in reality you see the moment to turn into an evil monster. It is one of those things that is inevitable being a father, your children are at more risk of danger when they are with you. They’ve done studies you know.
Now onto why that screwdriver was on the top shelf of the bookshelf.
Earlier that day I was in the mood to be Tim Taylor. I’ll explain who that is to you when you start using real power tools. There were a few items around the house that needed to be fixed. One of which was your bed. I was hoping to stop the squeaking of it when you rolled around in bed. Which I ended up fixing without a screwdriver ironically. When I had completed that project, I placed the screwdriver on top of the bookshelf outside your room. That is why it was there.
Your mother always tells me that I need to pay more attention to details. I think this was one of those situations where she is right.
Son, in the fall of 2012, an attempt was made to have you sleep in your toddler bed. We stuffed your bed with your stuffed animals and as we result, we ended up taking this picture of you.
To tell you how we got to this point we need to go back three months to either June or July, I can’t remember. No it was April or May! That’s right because I was working weekends which played a key role later in this story.
You had just learned to crawl out of your crib. You weren’t doing it all the time, really only when I would encourage you. Your mother would always get mad at me for this, however I would later remind her that she was the one teaching you to jump off the ottoman and onto the couch, that is a different story.
You were not only crawling out of bed but when you were running around the house you would make the epic journey up and into our bed. But what you did next made your mother and I look at each other and ultimately decide to try the toddler bed.
You pulled the covers up and acted like you went to sleep.
After a bit of convincing your mother begrudgingly caved and let me put on your toddler rail. Little did I know that I should have listened to your mother and not pushed this as much as I did.
That night you crawled into bed like a big boy. You loved it! Up until the point when mommy and daddy had to let you fall asleep. You would scream so loud that we had our neighbors come from two houses down to make sure that everything was OK. Maybe I am exaggerating that part, but at the decibel you were screaming it could have happened.
After a two-hour battle you finally gave in and went to sleep.
That was the easy part, what happened the next day was a day of hell for your mother and how I ended up putting your crib back together after only 24 hours.
Taking a look back at this past week and looking at the many failures I committed (if that is the right word) there is one that came to me yesterday after having a conversation with a Twitter friend whom I have never met and is going through something very similar.
I have failed being a Man.
Not the type of man who loves watching sports, drinking beer, burping, and farting on the couch. But being a Man who is a positive example to my son and a good husband to Hot Mama. After coming home from work, I would just plop down in my recliner and just watch TV. I would not say a word, I would not play with my son, I would not look at my son, and I would not look at Hot Mama. That is not the type of Man that I want to be.
I think there is a moment in every man’s life where something clicks, the light turns on, and you realize how important your family is to you. For me that moment was this last night. How could I do this to my family, come home from work and not care about their feelings? I have been so wrapped up in my new 9-5 corporate job that was supposed to be better off for my family that it almost tore it apart. Last night as we sat on the step watching the Kid play basketball, the light turned on and it was not our porch lights as the sun faded in the distance. It was the light in my head, I saw all that was passing me by, all that I have missed. It was not me who was teaching the Kid how to throw a baseball but my wife, she should not have to do that, it should be me teaching him that. It should be me out there running around in the sprinkler with our clothes on, rolling around in the dirt, and finding bugs in the grass.
I know that things will not be fixed overnight and that I am going to have to work on coming home to play with my son and talk to Hot Mama. It should be something that I do not have to work on, the type of thing that I should have never put my self in the situation in the first place. This should not be difficult, it should be easy.
Here is to being a new Man and saying goodbye to the old one.
Well I am a failure again this week. I agreed to do a book review for Father’s Day on a book that I am sure many new/future/old dads may have wanted as a gift. But, being the father that I am, a 9-5 working man who has a busy home life, I never got around to reading it and only heard what my wife thought of it.
The book is Dad to Dad: Parenting like a Pro by David L. Hill. While I did get to read a few pages of this terrific book I know that I will be going back through and reading it all. This book is the What to Expect When You Are Expecting for dads. It is organized in much the same way but with writing that will make you laugh and keep you entertained. A full book review is out of the question since again I did not read it all. But from what I did read and what my wife told me, this book comes highly recommended.
David is a pediatrician and a lot of the things that he brought up about eating and vaccines actually put me and my wife at ease from some of the stuff we have heard in the past. It covers everything from birth to the teenage years.
Again this book can not come more highly recommended from me so if you are still looking for something for your dad, be sure to check out Dad to Dad: Parenting Like A Pro.