My memoir on faith, family and fatherhood called P939.aspx”>PregMANcy: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date is due out next month. In that spirit, I’m releasing some excerpts from the book as blog posts.
Following is part one of two I’ll publish this week from a chapter called “Same Old Shit.” Yes, the book is pretty irreverent, so know that going in. If you can handle that, read on and enjoy at the expense of my own sanity and serenity.
Me – “If you want to watch TV, you need to poop in the potty.”
Mattias – “I know dad; you can poop in the potty, then you can watch TV and I’ll sit next to you.”
–Mattias – 2 years, 11 months
One of the coolest things about kids is that you see parts of yourself in them all of the time.
That’s also the worst thing about having kids, sometimes.
Some folks might say I’m picky about certain things, but I prefer to think of myself as discriminating. Along the same lines, while there are those who would label me as obsessive, I consider myself focused.
Focused discernment comes back to bite me in the ass quite often, in the form of a blond-haired, blue eyed future litigator who has, thus far, never been wrong in his entire short life.
I should back up and explain that my day today actually started yesterday in a sense, and even the night before that. It would be nice to have one of those supposed compartmentalized lives where work stays at work, and home waits until you get home, but my line of work just doesn’t lend itself to that. Usually, it’s just all one big, messy ball of shit.
Amy had gotten up before me, and my head was still cloudy from a lack of sleep and a beer or two more than I’m used to on a Tuesday night.
“Hey, I have to go soon,” she said. “I have a meeting.”
“More meetings, great,” I mumbled, rifling through the paper and sipping my coffee.
“Mattias is still in bed,” she hollered over the hair dryer.
“You sure?” I asked, a little rattled by a disturbing dream I’d had last night.
“Forget it,” I shrugged.
“Anyway, he will need breakfast, and I haven’t laid his clothes out.”
“And he didn’t take a bath last night.” She said, with a mouth full of toothpaste.
“And also, he doesn’t have a lunch yet. You’ll need to make one for him.”
“Seriously honey?” I sighed, “I just woke up, and you’re already piling all this on me. I’ve got a lot to do this morning too.”
“I know,” she said, “but I’m already late.” Notice a trend in our lives?
Then the circus started.
I got him the breakfast he asked for, but he didn’t like the cereal after a few bites. He decided he wanted something else. I sprinkled some cinnamon sugar on what he had to try and doll it up, and he made it through a couple more spoonfuls and then decided it just was no good.
Instead of getting more cereal, I gave him a banana. He made it about halfway through and stopped. “It’s too mushy in the middle,” he said.
“So eat around it,” I told him from upstairs, trying to pick through the basket of laundry for a halfway coordinated outfit, just to keep Amy’s inevitable comment later.
“I don’t want it,” he insisted. “I want yogurt Cheerios.”
“You already got cereal.”
“Yeah,” he said, starting to whine, “but all the sugar went away.”
“Sugar dissolves,” I said, with an armful of clothes. “It doesn’t go away. You just can’t see it.”
“What’s ‘dissolve’ mean?”
“It means when something disappears but it’s still there, kind of.”
“So if you’re invisible,” he asked, “you dissolve?”
“If you’re in milk,” I said, “yeah, I guess so.”
“I have no idea,” my shoulders sagged. “You’re going to be hungry if you don’t eat more.”
“I’m done,” he said. “I don’t want any more. Can I watch TV?”
“No,” I said, laying his clothes out in the order he likes to put them on, “we have to get going. Daddy has a busy day.”
“But I ate my breakfast.”
“But I want to watch TV,” he protested. For those reading those who already have kids the old ‘but I want to” mantra is chillingly familiar. It’s the verbal equivalent of bamboo shoots under the fingernails.
“Well, I want a book deal, and I want world peace, but I’m not holding my breath for either one. Get dressed.”
“What’s world peace?” he asked, standing naked in the middle of the living room.
“Nothing you need to worry about,” I said, “forget it.” While I waited for him to get his clothes on, I made the mistake of opening my laptop up to see how many emails I had waiting for me: sixty-five.
Crap monkeys. I’m going back to bed.