Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Double Duty

I do my share of household duties. Really, I do. I keep the yard mowed, the dogs walked. I put away the dishes because my wife is short vertically challenged. Things of that sort. Sure, I do laundry too, and clean up toys when they block my path to the bathroom. So there.

But recently my wife had a minor surgery on her back, so my duties expanded. And by expanded I mean E-X-P-A-N-D-E-D.

She’s fine, everything went well. But I wasn’t exactly prepared for what lay ahead. Okay fine, I'll say it, I was not aware of how freaking much stuff she does around here…

Having a three-year-old is already a hands on job. Our guy runs and guns and likes to get dirty. He likes to help me out in the yard.

So surgery was Friday and I left work early to pick her up. I tried to hide the horror that found me when I saw her. Pale and greenish, she looked like she’d been under the knife. Nonetheless, I poured it on thick, telling her she was a sight, glowing really, then I drove her home, told her to take it easy, and got back to work.

Later I picked up our son to go home. We ordered pizza. Easy enough. It was raining but the dogs needed a walk. I was torn, leaving my poor wife because she couldn’t exactly do much. A quick loop around the woods and I was back in ten minutes.

The house was empty. Have I mentioned that my wife is stubborn?

I found her walking down the street, in the rain, chasing after our kid. I yelled after them, told her to get back in the house. She said she was fine. This was maybe three hours after surgery.

Once I had her safely tucked away and cuffed to the sofa, I took my son for a walk in the rain. With the dogs and the kid walked, I headed inside to sit back and eat pizza. Watch a movie. The joke was on me. There was no sitting. I fixed him dinner, I peeled his pear, I bathed him and got him dressed him for bed, I played Sheriff and Sharp Tooth with him (long story), I read books to him. Simply put, I did it all.

Saturday morning brought more of the same. Kid was up at 6:50 like it was his job. My wife was stiff but doing better, or, better as a person who just had surgery only yesterday could be rather.

Time to punch the clock.

I fixed breakfast, and by fixed I mean peeled the lid off of his yogurt. Whatever, it counts. Then I got the kid dressed and spiffy so that I could chase him around the front yard. Then we had to change because it was sopping wet outside. My dad showed up with a truck full of mulch and we mulched the yard in a half hour flat, then my Mom showed up with food for Saturday night’s dinner.

Next stop was the grocery store, a chore typically reserved for Mom—not because of gender but because I don’t do well with people. At some point we had lunch but Mom must have fixed that. Score one for her. After grocery shopping I had to go cut grass. Then I had to repeat lawn duties because my son was up and wanted to help. Then we played in the front yard. Oh yeah, I vacuumed too.

I vacuumed. Dog hair, dirt, tiny pieces to toys I’d never seen. I vacuumed the carport area, the sun room, the kitchen and the hallway. When I was done vacuuming I had to water the plants. I stripped the beds, did laundry--even used one of those dryer sheet things. 

I bathed my son. I helped my wife shower, scratching her back around the incision. I helped her dry her hair. I forewent my own personal comfort, I sacrificed, I amped up the dramatics. 

But seriously, here’s the deal. I'm glad I could pull my weight, but I need her around. Hopefully she needs me around. She does so many behind the scenes, things that go unnoticed and without thanks. I had no idea, some of this stuff. I just know that the house is growing fur. The walls are tagged with yogurt graffiti. The bathroom sink doesn't not have a self-cleaning option. My kid leaves tracks wherever he goes. 

Our house, and our son. It's a two person job.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Nothing To Do...

With a three-year-old there’s always stuff to do, plenty to do, not-enough-time-to-do-everything amounts of things to do. So when people say or post that there’s nothing to do, I don’t know what to tell them, other than, just go make something to do.

Kids don’t need big, flashy places to have fun. They don't need expensive toys or gadgets either. In fact, kids are fun. Organic, unmanufactured fun. Take the other day for instance, when our ten-year-old neighbor stopped by because well, I guess there wasn’t anything to do. Suddenly we were outside, and the yard was transformed into a town. My kid and this girl, they don't need a lot to work with when it comes to props. A tree became a jail, the walkway was the road. Any littering on that road and well, thus began a screaming giggling chase, and it wasn’t long before we had a jail break. It was chaos. Pure chaos.

Then came Sunday. And once again there was nothing to do.

My kid sat in my car for an hour, working the windshield wipers. We took a walk in the woods and he touched some moss and declared that it was the “carpet of the forest”. He became a doctor, working with his stuffed animals until they were all free and clear of disease. He found a stick in the yard and it became a wand, then a bat, then a machete and then a shovel. He broke said stick and that was kind of a bummer. He came up with no less than four different games on the swing set then found a lizard in the driveway and named it Emo because saying Nemo can be tricky. He met the new neighborhood puppy. He spent three minutes with his head cocked straight up to the sky and watched a jet fly over our house and disappear into the clouds. He found trash in the yard and admonished the litterbug as being naughty (no jail time though). He rubbed his belly and then gave birth (breech) to a stuffed monkey. He rode the riding mowers at Lowes. He helped me do recycling. He went to the park. A tennis ball became the better part of the evening. Later, he built a fort in the couch but refused to take off his left puddle boot and decided—from what I could make through the belly laughter—that Lefty was going to stay on his foot through his bath and even sleep with him and may never ever come off again. He helped me fix his bed. He read books. He wrapped his arm around my neck and said, “I love you, Daddy”.

And that was just Sunday, a day when there was just nothing to do. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Spring Break. Okay Bye!

Spring Break is great. For my teacher wife and my son, it means a week off. For me, I get to grab a few extra minutes of sleep because I don’t have to do drop off.

So my kid has been all Mr. Happy. No rushing off, no well, getting dressed judging from the pictures. He’s got Mom all week, all to himself. And apparently that is enough.

I found this out yesterday morning, as I was leaving for work and he was getting settled at the table. Sometimes I just stare at him, especially when he's all fuzzy-headed and singing along to whatever tune he's got going under the hood. He looked at me, ready to tear into his breakfast of yogurt. *Oh precious yogurt, without it, I’m not sure my kid would survive. 

I started to help when he shooed me away, which is understandable, as I’ve learned not to question what makes the pendulum swing the way it does, and it was swinging Mom's way this week for sure.

Anyway, I gave him a kiss and said. “Okay, Daddy’s going to work.” Kind of expecting him to put up a fight. The Stay Daddy, stay, like he does sometimes when I leave on basketball nights. Maybe reach out to me as I left, begging, pleading, and tugging at the heartstrings--which might be saying things about my well-being but that's for another blog...

Begging was not what happened here. Nope, instead he just sort of glanced over my way, then back to his yogurt.

“Okay, yeah, bye.”

He kind of gave me a shrug, as though I were holding him up from something. I stood, then paused, giving him a second chance to come to his senses. He called for Mom.

It dawned on me that maybe, perhaps, possibly he wanted me to leave. So I shuffled on, past my wife, who kind of just smirked. I hit the door, wondering if an actual party was going to launch now that I’d left the house. Confetti, songs, dancing. Maybe a clown. So I just left, and went, to work, shoulders slumped and wondering where I’d gone wrong.

By the time I got home, he was happy to see me. And I didn't see signs of a party so maybe I'd imagined the whole thing. We played outside, and I pushed him on the swing-set and asked about his day. He shrugged and nodded that it was good. He had a good day and I was home so my day was good too. It's always good to be wanted...