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Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
2 years, 6 months.
Over the weekend Mommy and I took you to the pool, just in time for the weather to turn overcast, therefore demotivating us from our desire earlier that morning to want to go swimming in the first place.
Being a guy who drinks a minimum of 3 liters of water a day, I naturally had to disappear for a minute or so, soon after we arrived, as Mommy helped you get your feet acquainted with the cold water in the kiddie pool.
As I made my way to the men’s restroom, I saw a woman standing in the doorway.
Actually, “standing” is not a good word to use. “Anxiously pacing, rocking back and forth, biting her fingernails” would be the way I would like to describe it; because that’s clearly how I remember her.
Turns out I was only steps behind the woman’s 11 year-old son as he walked into the restroom. I’ve been in a similar situation before, so I braced myself for the 90 seconds of awkwardness that was about to unfold.
Right in the middle of the boy trying to do his thing, in the stall next to me, I heard the mom yell (and I mean yell) into the restroom:
“Ethan? Ethan! Are you okay in there? Ethan?”
Of course, in his embarrassment, he delayed answering right away.
So again, his mother screamed, “Ethan? How is everything? Are you okay in there?”
This time he managed to murmur a “yeah” just loud enough for her to hear.
The boy and I were in perfect syncopation. As we washed our hands side by side at the sinks, I wanted to say, “Hey man, sorry about what’s going on right now. I know you feel embarrassed by what’s going on. Plus, I know you know I’m just a regular guy, not a creep. In fact, I have a wife and a 2 and a half-year old son just down the hall. I want out of this situation just as much as you do.”
But I didn’t say a word or even look at him.
It was a long 90 seconds, but it finally came to an end as both the boy and I left the restroom at the same time, with the boy’s mother waiting for us there at the door with a very worried look on her face.
This story isn’t about the mom who I am making out to be a wee bit overprotective, or the 11 year-old son who I am making out the be the embarrassed victim of that wee overprotective mom.
Instead, this story is about me; the random guy who just happened to walk into the restroom the same exact time as that boy.
The way I see it, there’s nothing I could have done or said differently to the boy or his mom to help the situation; that would have only made it worse.
So I guess what I am saying is, sometimes as a grown-man entering a public restroom without his own son in tow, I just have to be okay with certain assumptions being made about me.
In other words, sometimes I just have to let 90 seconds of awkwardness happen, like they did just a few weeks ago at the city park.
Photo: Men’s Restroom Sign on Black, via Shutterstock.
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Monday, November 12th, 2012
I am a self-proclaimed “people watcher.” To be honest, I’m never not people watching.
It’s like every person is a character and every conversation is a plot line. Basically, life is a non-stop sitcom.
This afternoon while at the neighborhood playground with my son, a young playmate approached a fellow parent nearby:
“Hi, my name is [let's just call him Michael] and I am 4 years old.”
The kid sounded like he was trying out for a Welch’s grape juice commercial in 1995.
A few minutes later, the kid introduces himself to me too. I smiled and said, “Nice to meet you.” Then I turned away to help my own son down the slide.
“Two more minutes and then we’re going home,” I heard the boy’s mother say to him.
Exactly two minutes later, she followed up on her promise: “Okay, time to go now. I told you two minutes ago.”
He pretended not to hear her, so she pretended to leave the playground without him.
And his response?
“NO! No, no, no! NO! I DO NOT like you anymore, Mommy!”
So the irony in this people watching scene was that the little boy who appeared to be a well-mannered child ended up morphing minutes later into “that kid.”
But hey, who’s not to say that my son seemed weird to other parents there at the playground?
After all, he was the kid who illegally went down the slide backwards, about 27 times in a row. (I was so proud of that little goober!)
Not to mention, what about me? I’m the dad who stands at the top of the slide to assist my son once he climbs up there, making sure he doesn’t fall off the 6 foot drop.
Perhaps to other people watchers, being my son’s personal stunt coach seems odd in what is considered normal and appropriate for parents at the playground.
That’s why it’s fun to people watch. You get to see a lot of interesting people do a lot of curious things. Likewise, you get to entertain others who think you are an interesting person doing curious things.
On second thought, maybe that’s not a good thing.
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Thursday, December 30th, 2010
It’s a sort of eery feeling getting up at 1:30 AM, 3:30 AM, and/or 5:30 AM every morning to feed and change Jack. While it’s still dark and quiet, while I’m only “awake” enough to put the word in quotation marks, and while my memory barely records the routine actions taking place during the twilight, I’m sure I’m subconsciously looking for something out of the ordinary. As I hold Jack in one arm and his bottle in the other, the dimly lit room casts a strange shadow on his face. Sometimes when I look at him during this time I get a little creeped out. In this situation he reminds me of a baby version of the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz (played by the Jewish actor Bert Lahr); that movie and the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, though they are both wonderful classic movies, have always freaked me out a bit. On a similar note, it also seems like I’m taking care of a little old man, with his receding hairstyle (Jack Nicholson style), his chubby cheeks, and his baby-version-of-cussing-somebody-out cries when he’s really hungry and his diaper is wet.
To make matters more theatrical, there are times when I am taking care of him during the middle of the night when it’s like he peeks around my shoulder and sees something and gets this calm yet curious look on his face. Does he see something? A guardian angel? Jesus? Maybe the ghost of Bert Lahr?
I wouldn’t be surprised if babies can see into the spiritual realm. It could make sense in a way; babies are completely innocent. They are unaware of damning traps like pride and greed. I could see how a baby is naturally closer to Heaven than we adults are. Sometimes I envy the things my baby may be seeing. But then again, it would be just another thing to spook me in the middle of the night. It seems every account I can immediately think of in the Bible where an angelic being spoke to a human, the angel always had to start the conversation out with “Do not be afraid…” But Jack isn’t scared by whatever he is seeing around me that I am less aware; if he’s actually seeing anything supernatural at all.
Bert Lahr as The Cowardly Lion:
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afraid, baby, baby crying, Bert Lahr, Bible, changing diapers, Cowardly Lion, creepy, dad blog, dad from day one, dark, fear, feeding, ghost, guardian angel, innocence, Jesus, old man, parenting, scary, spiritual, spooky, supernatural, The Wizard of Oz, twilight | Categories:
Nostalgia, People, Spirituality, Storytelling, The Dadabase