As B becomes more resourceful and J becomes more mobile, I’ve learned the hard way that there is one real shady part of the day.
It’s that time between when the kids wake up…. and when I wake up.
See, they could both wake up and entertain each other on their own, before K and I emerge from our slumber. Or, they could wander into our bedroom first and ask when we’re getting up, resulting in me mumbling some random answer to buy me a few more minutes of sleep, before they take off again. Whatever the reason, this period where they are left unattended usually results in the most ridiculous, illogical things. It’s like an abyss of WTF moments. Like, I don’t understand what they’re thinking as they’re making a mess in the playroom with shampoo, or covering their faces with chapstick, or emptying bins of cars in our in bedroom so that our floor looks like a Hot Wheels factory.
Maybe they were playing Home Alone, and were setting a booby trap for the Wet Bandits.
Take the other morning, for example. B and J were up early (like, before roosters early). I awoke with B between my legs, rowing them and rocking back and forth as if I was a stupid kayak or something, while J laughed. I told him stop and go watch TV in the playroom, so off they went. Cool. All was quiet for a bit, but then they wanted breakfast . Fine, whatever. I grabbed some food for them, told them to eat in the playroom, took a quick look around to make sure they hadn’t gotten into anything, and then went back to bed.
After what I said about this great unknown timeframe, you’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now, right?
Of course, not, yo.
I dozed off, and not long after (maybe 20-25 minutes), I vaguely think that there was yelling from K about someone eating candy. Anyway, I got out of bed and saw disposable baby wipes everywhere. On our floor, in the playroom, in the hallway. The kids had gotten into a bag of them. I groggily went into B’s room and saw B by the bag, holding a wipe. He proudly told me to look at how clean his room was, because he polished the walls. Man, getting him to pick up his toys is a struggle. Of course he chose this time, with the wrong object, to become Mr Clean.
After politely telling B to stop, I went to work in gathering up the wipes. Started in B’s room and worked my way out. I noticed that some of them were red. Not blood red but a goopy red. My immediate half awake thought was that episode of Breaking Bad where Walt and Jesse tried to dispose of a body by putting it in some hydroflouric acid. This was followed by my next completely logical thought of ‘Oh, shoot, where’s J?!’
OMG, Mr. White, what did you do??
Have no fear, she was just halfway down the stairs, no diaper on, holding a goopy wipe, polishing the hall walls. She saw me, came up the stairs, walked into our room, wrapped the wipe around a dresser handle, smiled at me and went into B’s room. Normal chain of events.
Wait, pause, no it wasn’t!
I followed J and found B had gotten into the bag AGAIN. He had wipes all over his bed. Polishing his sheets, I’m sure.
Anyway, I took the bag with me this time, and went downstairs to find the source of the goop. All of the lights were off except for the one in the pantry so I went over to it. I walked past some candy wrappers, opened the door…..and stepped in a big puddle of pee. We don’t have pets, by the way. Even old Sherlock Homeboy here cracked this case. J took her diaper off, went to help herself to some treats and took a leak on the floor. Once again, perfectly reasonable behavior. After cleaning up that mess, I was more than a little peed off (and on….my foot) so it was back upstairs to talk to J. I stormed into B’s room, and found them like this:
B said that he didn’t like his bed, so he made up a new one out of a chair. J has a toothbrush because…..I don’t know. Hey, dental hygiene is important after sneakily gobbling up candy. My anger turned to confusion, so I just had to laugh at them.
Oh Canada! The Olympic men’s hockey finals this week was kind of a big deal. The night before, I set my alarm to go off just before the game started, 6:45 AM. The next morning, I woke up, went downstairs, and saw the fam already there. Were they up to watch, too, chock full of national pride?
K was sleeping on the couch, while B and J were watching Disney Junior. Me changing the channel was met with snoring/mumbling from K, loud complaining from B, and J whining while angrily stripping down to her diaper. Pretty much a lost cause, so I made some coffee, and went back to my room to watch the game there.
K gravitated upstairs not long afterwards, which left the kids downstairs…. alone! Cue the studio audience saying “Ooooooh”. They were quiet, and I didn’t hear them doing anything (which is always a good sign, amiright, parents?). I went to check on them at the first intermission. I found them in their coats and boots (J was still in her diaper, so this was all that she had on), just about to go out the front door.
Me – ‘What are you doing??’
B – ‘Nothing.’
Me – ‘Where are you going???’
B – ‘We are going to the car, to get my B.EA.R. book.’
The book was in clear view beside him, sticking out his backpack, so I showed it to him.
Me – ‘You mean this book?’
B – ‘Oh. Yeah.’
He grabbed it, took off his boots and jacket, and went to read it. Pretty sure he was lying about going to get the book. Maybe they were going to a bar to watch the rest of the game? Good thing he forgot to get the car keys. #heis4yearsoldhecantdrive
I stayed downstairs for the rest of the game, however, to make sure that they didn’t try to go on any joyrides.
When the game ended (Canada, what!? Knock knock? Who’s there? Gold medal to the face, that’s who’s there!) I tried to get the kids to watch the medal ceremony. After the first Swede got his silver, they got bored, wanted snacks instead. Kids, nowadays, they have no appreciation for historical moments, sheesh. They gobbled some fruit up, then went back upstairs. A few minutes later, while I was humming Oh Canada, B told me that J had dumped the ‘metal things again.’
Turns out, she had poured a big box of staples all over the floor. Maybe she thought that they were shiny confetti, and she was celebrating the victory? If picking hundreds of staples out of a carpet was an Olympic event, I would have a won the gold that morning (Knock knock? Who’s there? Silver staples in your feet, sucker, that’s who’s there). #GoCanadaGo
For real, I’ve never really been afraid of a lot things. Horses and heights come to mind, but I got over those fears. More recently, though, one thing scared me more than anything else:
Extended time on my own with both kids.
I mean, my kids are my world, I love spending time with them. Don’t get it twisted. Thing is, before having kids, I honestly wouldn’t even hold other people’s babies, because I was worried that I would drop them.
So yeah, the first few months of Brax’s life, with a fresh child and everything being new, I was petrified at being alone with him. What was I supposed to do to entertain him? How do you stop his crying? The little guy was helpless and was totally dependent on me to take care of him. Holy nerve-wracking! It took a while, but it did eventually get to the point where K could go out comfortably and not to worry that she would come home to any serious damage/ injuries. B would be fine, too.
Then, when J was born, those old fear feelings came back. You gotta be on point 100% of the time with kids. You turn your head for one moment, and things could get real ugly, real fast, for real. Kids like to explore and do the most illogical, nonsensical stuff, so you need to watch them like a hawk constantly. While I’m helping one with their jacket, the other one will sprint off towards an open door. I leave the table to get them drinks, I come back, and they’re standing on their chairs leaning far forward, like they’re re-enacting Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal video.
That’s the basis for my fear, I think. They’re little maniacs. I don’t want them to get hurt on my watch, and I worry a lot about the consequences and ramifications if they do.
When it’s just me with the kids nowadays for a few hours, my gameplan involves staying home. Ahhh, home. A nice, safe confined setting. But, occasionally, K is gonzo for an extended period of time. When this happens, more often than not, the kids go stir crazy hanging out in the house all day, and I need to get them out. That involves leaving my comfort zone to go with them…on an outing.
Like I said, I do enjoy doing things with the family. But man, even with two parents, the process of getting ready, packing diaper bags, and even putting on their shoes is an ordeal. Then while we are out and about, it’s always an ordeal, never relaxing. I know, I know, as long as the kids have fun, that’s all that matters!! But eliminate one parent from the equation so the remaining one is outnumbered by the kids? You better batten down the hatches, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Here’s an example. Our daycare provider went on vacation for a week, so K and I and some other family members took turns taking time off from work or whatever to watch B and J. How’d my day go? Well…. First, in the morning, while trying to get ready to leave, B was watching Youtube videos on the Playbook:
B – ‘Go away. I’m busy.’
Me – ‘Busy doing what?’
B – ‘I’m doing my job.’
Me – ‘What’s your job??’
B – ‘Watching this!’
Huh? He’s too young to be smarmy and indignant! I blame that jerk Max, from Max and Ruby for the attitude, by the way. Jeez, my disdain for that show is a post for another day.
Anyway, he did finish his job, and we could go…. But before we left, I went to our room to get my keys, and I heard a high pitched blood curdling scream. Yeah, remember what I said about my fear of them getting hurt? I thought J was injured, so I rushed to see what happened.
Instant worst case scenarios flashed through my head. It was just B, fortunately, who screamed, not J. He saw an ant. Anyway, we did head out after that terrifying incident.
Our trip took us to an indoor play gym (or as my one friend calls them – playgerms). In theory, great idea. Just put the kids down, let them run amok, and I would join the other parents on parent’s row. You know, that area in every play gym where the dads sit around in tweed jackets, smoking pipes and reading the Wall Street Journal with their monocles. Or not. I don’t know what goes on in parent’s row, because I’ve never been there. In actuality, I always end up chasing the kids around, and playing with toys, and trying to make sure that they don’t hurt themselves by falling the wrong way down the climby things. It really is a good workout. Anyway, besides all that, while we were there, J, who had been sorta been walking previously, but just in baby steps (taking a few steps on her own before desperately seeking something to grab onto for balance, that type of deal) saw the other babies there walking by themselves. She succumbed to peer pressure, and spent the rest of the day walking on her own too. Peer pressure, that’s what I’m talking about!
Also these conversations happened:
B – ‘Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news.’
Me – ‘What’s the good news?’
B (takes my hat) – ‘I found your hat!’
Me – ‘Thanks? What’s the bad news?’
B – ‘Woody’s not coming back.’
Woody, where did you go?
B – ‘Dad, you’re bad.’
Me – ‘What did I do??’
B – ‘You hit me!’
Me – ‘No I didn’t!’
B – ‘Yeah you did, last week!’
Me – ‘No I didn’t!!’
B – ‘Yeah, you pretend hit me last week!’
Argh! I never touch him, and I don’t know what pretend hitting is. You might have noticed that B has a pretty vivid imagination. Luckily, no one heard this exchange either. What’s up with that? It’s like my kids enjoy making me uncomfortable. I remember one time, B walked out to the porch while we were trying to get ready to leave, and started screaming ‘HELP!’ for no good reason. Whatever. We left the play gym, and it was onto the next one, as Jay-z says.
While driving, we passed a husky looking boy with long hair and man bosoms:
B – ‘Why does that girl have a big tummy?’
Me – ‘Uhh….that’s a boy. Maybe he has a slow metabolism?’
B – ‘I have a big tummy too! I eat a lot!’
We ended up going to an Early Years Centre. These places are sweet. Government run centres where parents/caregivers can go take their kids, and there’s a bunch of activities and programs to take part in. And they’re free. AND it’s crawling with professional, trained, child care people. Even a clueless dummy like can have a sense of calm that the kids will be OK. As a way to get out and kill some time, it’s a nice option. We went there, and the kids were doing their thing. Playing with toys, messing around in the sand station, and so on. It was getting close to closing time, and of course B didn’t want to leave, and was being stubborn about it. Remember what I was saying about them making me uncomfortable? Yeah openly and loudly disobeying me in public definitely qualifies. Don’t you just love when you have to put on a show in front of other people, so you don’t look like a bad parent? And then, when it doesn’t work, you just do whatever you can to curtail the situation instead? No? Maybe that’s just me then?
Actually, knock on wood, I haven’t yet been that person storming out of Walmart holding their screaming kid on their shoulder like a 2×4 piece of lumber (K on the other hand, that’s a different story).
Anyway, to get him to leave, I bribed him with the incentive that we’d go for treats if we left right then. He insisted on ice cream. Insisted. So we went and got some. He of course dozed off in the car after we got it, because that is totally what you do when you’re excited for something, so I had to frantically monitor the melting ice cream situation while driving. I wasn’t very unsuccessful. The steering wheel ended up pretty sticky. We got back to the house, and ate in the backyard, because it was such a nice day. B got it all over his face and hands, and started complaining that he was cold. His teeth started chattering, he started shaking like he’s a Polaroid picture.
Shaking like he’s fliming a Harlem Shake video also would have worked as an analogy.
He dropped the ice cream, freaked out, cried hysterically. Awesome. Had to go inside, change him, and wrap him in a blanket.
B – ‘Now can I have my ice cream back?’
Sigh. You know, after writing this, maybe I take it back.
Sometimes spending lots of quality time together on my own with my maniacs can be pretty cool. I think what I fear the most now, though….is for my sanity as B and J grow up.
One of the funniest things that I’ve seen on Saturday Night Live was the digital short “Lazy Sunday”, by the Lonely Island. Two guys rapping about the boring, kinda wack stuff that they do? Somehow, it’s hilarious, for real! Along those lines, I realize now that kids can also turn the most mundane activities into memorable experiences. It’s cool, though, because that means that things are always interesting, for better or worse.
I remember one Sunday afternoon maybe a year ago. Me and B were chillin’ like villians. Some quality dude time minus the girls. B wanted to play downstairs (his exact words: ‘I want to play cars downstairs. I want you to play cars with me downstairs. C’mon man, I love you!’), so off we went.
After playing for a while, I noticed B was hogging all the fun stuff. I guess that is one way to always be entertained, to horde all the cool toys. That did nothing for my interest level, however. So, I did what any bored parent would do in this situation – I started being a jerk and taking things from him while he was playing with them. B, being an unusually aware toddler, immediately caught on and smelled what I was cookin’:
B(reaches into pile, pulls out a balloon) – ‘You swipe it?’
Me – ‘Yeah!’ (I take the balloon and laugh.)
B – (pulls out a toy guitar) – ‘You swipe it?’
Me – ‘Yeah!’ (I take it and laugh again)
B (pulls out a zoo play thing) – ‘You swipe it?’
More swiping and laughing by me.
B (pulls out a toy baseball bat) – ‘You swipe it?’
Me – ‘Yeah!’
B- ‘No!! I swipe you first!’
He then wound up like Mark McGwire and cracked me in the head with the bat. If it was a ballgame, he would have had a homer, easy. Serves me right, though, for being a jerk.
Stupid Poetic Justice!
Anyway, later, after my head stopped hurting, B suggested that we play hide and seek….except he didn’t actually know how to play it.
Me – ‘OK, turn around, count to ten. I’ll hide and you come find me!’
B (turns around, starts walking over to the couch) – ‘1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10!’ (He stands beside the couch, in the wide open) ‘Come find me!’
I try to explain how it works, then we try again:
Me – ‘OK, I’ll turn around, close my eyes and count to ten. Go hide and I’ll find you!’
I turn around and count. I turn back around, B hasn’t moved, but is smiling huge. He then walks over to the same spot beside the couch that he was at before:
B – ‘Come find me!’
Yeah, this wasn’t going well. So we did some walkthroughs and B sort of gets the hang of it. And then:
Me – ‘OK, I’ll go upstairs, count to ten, and come back down and find you!’
I leave, come back, I hear B giggling behind a curtain. Minus the giggling, not a bad spot, right? I pull the curtain back:
Me – ‘Found you…….wait, where are your pants!?’
B – ‘Hide and Seek!’
He took his pants off and hid them……beside the same spot by the couch that he was at before.
Like I said, it is always….interesting, for better or worse.
No doubt, one of the cool things about being a parent is exposing your children to those things that you enjoy. You devout a lot of attention to their interests and activities, so it’s fun to hang out with them every once in a while doing something that you like. Me? I like sports. Basketball, football and baseball mainly. I’ve been pretty excited since my kids’ births to be able to take them to some games with me.
Last year, an opportunity came up to go the last game at Ivor Wynne Stadium. The Hamilton Ticats (of the CFL) played there, and were moving into a brand new stadium that they were having built. Figured that it would be dope experience for B.
One day, I’m sure that he’ll thank for me for taking him…..not that day, though. .Here are the Sportscentre highlights:
Pre-Game: While holding his hand walking to our seats, his little hand started pulling mine to his face, and then to his nose. So I could pick his nose for him. Gross. I pull our hands down, we keep walking for a bit. Out of nowhere, some lady yells at us “His pants!” I look down, his pants are around his ankles. How long they were like that, no clue.
First Quarter: B is sort of into the game for about two minutes, then wants popcorn, and only wants popcorn. I give in, get us some. He tells me that he’s going to eat it all, and spends the rest of quarter hogging it.
Second Quarter: B wants to go home by now. However, he does ask me at one point why the game is stopped. I tell him there’s a timeout. In B’s world, a timeout means that you’ve done something bad, and you need to sit on the stairs or something. B is really interested as to the reason why the ‘football man’ got a timeout, and what he did to get it. I try to explain the different meaning to him, but he doesn’t get it. Even that night, hours later before bed, he asked me why the football man was bad. I gave up, just told him he gave another man an ‘ow boo boo’.
This ow boo boo would be timeout worthy.
Third/Fourth Quarter: Treats and a noisemaker work for a bit, but B really wants to go home. Eventually he gives up asking. Then he decides in the pouring rain, freezing cold, and among like 20 something thousand screaming people, to curl up and go to sleep. Stays asleep until we leave.
Post-game: While walking out, he sees an ambulance. Starts freaking out excitedly at the ambulance. Later, when asked what his favorite part of the game was, he replied ‘the ambulance!’
We also thought that it be fun for him if we took the “Ticat Express” bus to and from the game. On the bus ride home, at every stop, he asked me why we had stopped, and I would give him the same answer (a red light). Finally, I get tired of him asking:
B – ‘Why are we stopped for?’
Me – ‘Why do you think we’re stopped?’
B – ‘Are cows are crossing the road?’
Me – ‘Uh, no, there aren’t any cows.’
B – ‘Are there goats?’
Guess I shouldn’t have asked.
Anyway at least the ambulance was memorable for him. He’ll thank me for that one day.
Do you ever like something, but have no clue why you like it?
Around Halloween last year, B randomly started using the word ‘favorite’. Thing was, I don’t know if he knew exactly what it meant. Driving him to daycare one morning made it seem like he was lovin’ life:
B (in his carseat while we pull into a Tim Horton’s drive-thru): ‘Look! A blue car! Blue is my favorite colour!’
Me – ‘Me too.’
B – ‘No! Your favorite colour is orange.’
Me – ‘Uhh, ok.’
B – ‘Heyyyy! What’s Shari’s car doing? That’s my favorite green car!’
I look around, and, yup, he spotted our old neighbour Shari’s car from across the parking lot.
B (now really excited) – ‘Look!!!! A black truck! What kind of truck is it?’
Me – ‘Uh, it’s a beat up old Dodge pickup truck.’
B – ‘That’s my favorite black truck! Look over there! That’s my favorite white car! What kind is it?’
Me – ‘A Sentra. Hey, What do you want to eat? A cinnamon bagel?’
B – ‘Yeah! That’s my favorite breakfast!!!’
I ordered and we drove to his daycare. Along the way he saw his favorite school bus and pretend-fed his favorite toy bear his bear’s favorite snack – celery and timbits (?!)
We got to daycare, and B noticed the pumpkins on the front steps:
B – ‘I’m just going to look at them!’
He took off, tripped going up a step, and smashed his face on a pumpkin.
Me – ‘Are you OK??’
B (rubbing his chin) – ‘I’m OK. Kiss my chin, daddy. That pumpkin is my favorite pumpkin!’