Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hey...I'm A Real Live Parent!

First let me start by saying I've completely become that parent who used to annoy me so much. You know the ones. Big goofs who overly dote on their kid?

Check. Or how about the ones who post their kid's finger paintings? 

Check. What about the ones who take pictures of every. Little. Thing?

Check. Check. And to whom do I make out the check?

And now with the new school year upon us, my wife, the teacher, the maker of dinners and tamer of wild men and boys, was busy last night meeting parents and kids. Yes, it's that time again. Time to usher in another wonderful first week of school. (Okay, I put a spin on that, her classroom is currently without air conditioning and twelve hour days are kind of a bummer.) But never to fear. As  I'm the do-it-all kind of parent that I claim to be, I was up for the task, and came out to pick up our son after work. 

I entered the school to a circus of animated kids and exhausted parents roaming the halls. I nodded to administrators and teachers, all of whom seemed a little bewildered at the thought of another whole year of school. Making my way through the debris of checklists and guidlines, I found my son tucked away from the disarray and thankfully out of harm's way.

Simon was in Mommy's classroom, content and quiet, coloring at the table while parents filled out forms at the desk. Oh, and when I say coloring, I mean tattooing himself with Crayola markers, both arms were inked up to the elbow. But then he looked up and smiled, I felt my knees get a little weak when he let go with a big old "Daaadeee!"

You know those parents who really, really can't believe how fast their kid is growing up? 


It was Daddy to the rescue. And with Mom up to her eyeballs with parents and forms and, well, chaos, I scooped up the kid and we got out of dodge. 

First stop was the grocery store, where I we got just the necessities. Bread and Ice Cream. Okay we got apples too, but I quickly realized that we needed to hurry. I tried keeping him in the cart, but he wanted out and let the whole store know about it. And I don’t have little tricks or snacks in my purse to keep him occupied. I don’t even have a purse.

At home, we got busy with manly activities. Well, after we did the dishes--his idea. If my kid loves two things, it’s a vacuum and the sink. Well, maybe three things, because you should have seen his little face light up when he assisted me with some small projects around the house, fixing those rickety old chairs in the dining room—which involved the drill.

Playing around the house, things were moving quickly. It was already dinnertime. I took the easy route. PB & J, and then sat back and watched him destroy it, nearly losing a finger in the process. As he ate, I thought back to those times when it was just my dad and me. Cue flashback music...

When my dad was in charge of dinner, it usually involved grilled cheese and the fire alarm. He could also do eggs, sorta, just nothing fancy. But what I enjoyed most during those times was the great conversations we’d have over dessert. 

I’m kidding, we just stuffed our faces.

But I do remember how Dad fixed dessert, vanilla ice cream with hot chocolate syrup. Popping the can open, (yes, can), he'd warm it on the stove. Then we’d sit down at the table with our two bowls of vanilla ice cream, and drizzle the steaming Hershey’s syrup over our heaping mounds of ice cream. Sugary madness.

And that's what I had in mind when I grabbed the plastic container of syrup and nuked it for thirty seconds. (Don’t worry, he just had plain old vanilla). And for the next five minutes, the house settled into a delicious, lip-smacking silence. 

The rest of the night was standard fare—vacuum time, a little outside time, then bath time. We had a lot of fun, and I realized that at some point I have become a real, live parent. And that just about blows my mind. 

After bath, I got the little guy all cleaned up and in pajamas, snuggling up on me as we read Curious George until Mom came home and scooped him up for herself. I handed him over with a smile, because I'd held the fort down and every thing was running on schedule. At least until this morning, when my wife noticed that the kitchen was covered in chocolate.

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