I used to be sort of punctual. But now, when I need to go somewhere with the family?
We’ll get there when we get there.
I’ve noticed that small kids are blissfully oblivious, in their own little worlds, operating on their own clocks. And their watches aren’t set to the same time as yours. Like, not even close. The thing is, sooner or later, since any other effort is futile, their schedule becomes your schedule.
After B was born, we were automatically programmed to be on baby time. I was vaguely aware of this concept beforehand, but wow, the reality of it hit me like a slap in the face. No, for real. When I was on the after- midnight shift with him, when he would wake up crying and not go back down, I had to slap myself in the face to stay awake. But that was life, with little B and then with J. Baby time meant that our lives revolved around their feedings and their sleep. When you’re used to doing what you want, when you want, changing your entire mindset is hard. You’re not living for just yourself; you’re living to keep these tiny humans living.
Once we got into a routine, we had to stick to it. Friends would invite me to do stuff, and I’d have to turn them down. Hey, would you rather pound back some beers with your buddies, or catch a few hours of precious sleep while your kid is zonked out, and you haven’t slept in 20 hours? Gimme some Z’s, yo, every time.
Nonetheless, you still gotta do you. For our own sanity, we had to get out and do stuff, in public. So, we learned to plan family outings around the naps. Break the cycle, but not really. Sometimes that was effective and we had a pleasant experience out. Sometimes, unfortunately, we were that family childless people like to glare at and give the evil eye to in restaurants, because our baby was screaming his/her head off. Looking all aghast at us or whatever. No guff, Sherlock, I realize she’s crying, and I’m trying to calm her so you can enjoy your spinach dip in peace. And no, complaining to the waiter about us doesn’t help the situation. What’s he going to do? Tell me to leave? Take our kid to the kitchen, until you are done your meal? What did you expect when you came here, anyway? Fine romantic dining? The staff are dressed like they’re on safari, and there are smiling robot animals everywhere. Now stop staring at us, and focus on whether you want regular or sweet potato fries with your veggie wrap. Hater.
Whoa, sorry, got sidetracked.
Even as the kids enter the toddler stage, time is still on their side, not yours. Like I said, they are just blissfully in their own worlds, oblivious to their surroundings and to the concept of time. To them, there’s no rush to do anything. Me saying “Hurry up so Daddy isn’t late for work!” while B goes for the Guinness World Record for longest time taken to put on a jacket, is pretty much a daily occurrence. Funny enough, when I tell them that they can’t do something fun, like go to a birthday party, they’ll bust a move, and get cleaned up and ready to go ASAP. Model kids, all of the sudden, like their last name is Cleaver. Go figure.
The net result of this oblivion is that I’ve basically given up trying to be on time, for anything, ever. It’s pointless. Occasionally we get lucky and win the punctuality battle, but more often than not, it’s a lost cause. You give yourself 15 minutes to get the kids ready, it takes 30. You give yourself 30, it takes 45. Something inevitably happens that causes us to run late. B and J put up a struggle, or they want something to eat, or they hide, or they barf or take a dump and have to be changed. I don’t know, it’s always something.
For example, a couple of weeks ago one Saturday morning, B had basketball. Man, back in the day, if I had somewhere to be Saturday morning, I’d shower up, maybe get in a quick game on the old PS2, eat some food, splash on some Drakkar Noir, and be on my way. And show up early!
So, my plan that day was to shower quick, get him ready, and go. Simple right?
Instead, this went down:
– Before I got in the shower, I gave B his clothes, and told him to get dressed.
– When I was done showering, I found B in the playroom still in his pyjamas, watching TV, clothes beside him.
– I got him dressed.
– He refused to leave, because he wanted to sit at the table and eat breakfast. Attempts to explain to him that we would be late fell on oblivious ears. Finally, bribed him with breakfast from Tim Horton’s to get him to leave.
– Got his coat and boots on, and told him to wait, because I forgot to get his water bottle.
– I filled his bottle, came back, and found him outside, trudging through the knee deep snow on our front grass.
– Trudging turns to running and laughing. Running and laughing turns to falling. Falling turns to crying because he’s cold and covered in snow.
– Had to go back in the house, to get him changed.
– Finally put him in the car, and we were on our way. But we had to stop at Tim Horton’s first, which had a long lineup in the drive-thru, because….well, of course there was a long line.
– Got to the basketball gym. Rushed to get him in his gear. B found it funny to mess with me by pulling my hat down over my eyes so I couldn’t see.
Ended up being 15 minutes late, total.
Anyway, so that’s my life now. If I make plans with you, I’ll see you when I see you. Man, I even thought that I’d have this post done a week ago. What can I say? Free time is precious, and a good chunk of mine is taken up by my kids. Yet, even though my life revolves around their schedules, and I’ve been lamenting it, I still wish that I could spend more time with them! These are the best years, and all that jazz.
How messed up is that?