While learning to walk really is a big deal, I feel like I never hear of any parents talking about the first time their kid runs.
I’m not referring to walking fast. I’m not talking about jogging a few steps before falling down. Instead, I mean running.
Today was the first time where your updated motor skills had the opportunity to be tested on an open course. Mommy and I took you to a huge park with virtually no physically boundaries.
You just got to wander wherever you wanted to today; you’re so not used to that. Granted, we were about 15 feet behind and/or in front of you the whole time.
Mommy and I joked that you ran your first 5 K today. Once you started running, and realized you could do it without falling and hearing us trying to stop you, you didn’t want to stop- so you didn’t.
Just like Forrest Gump.
I just didn’t know a 2 year-old could run for 20 minutes straight. It’s like you were trying to burn off all the calories from your goldfish crackers for the past week. If so, you were successful.
As one would predict, you were ready for bed early tonight. That worked out pretty conveniently since yesterday was Daylight Savings Time so technically I had to put you to bed an hour early.
You pretty much snubbed the playground for the opportunity to run the whole time. As much as you like dogs, you weren’t that fascinated by any of them you saw today. You were only semi-impressed by seeing kites for the first time.
Running made you very happy today. This seems like the perfect cure for your typical Sunday afternoon antsy-ness. Just let you run in a park until you heart is content.
Honestly, I’m nearly more excited about you running for the first time than when you learned to walk.
We have been pumping you up for weeks now about Shipwrecked, an indoor playhouse in the Nashville area.
You indeed had plenty of fun- you are already asking when you can go back:
“I go Shipwrecked again? I drive the car? It’s mine?”
However, judging by the look on your face in this picture, the word “fun” wouldn’t necessarily be the first adjective to come to mind.
How about crotchety? Irritable? Cranky?
Despite a big pirate ship playground, train tables, dress up rooms, and toys all over the place, you spent about 97% of your time on the Fred Flintstone-style Lightning McQueen car, which you were nearly too big for.
If this picture of you depicts a 2 year-old boy who claimed ownership over one of the playground’s community cars, then used it to plow through the toys and other kids, causing Daddy to serve as some sort of safety watchman as I followed you back and forth across the place, then I would say the picture above serves the event justice.
If by chance the picture depicts a 2 year-old boy who drove like a mean old-man on his way to beat the lunch crowd at Shoney’s, then this picture captured the moment accurately.
So why were you only in the car for 97% percent of the time? That’s because you spent the other 3% of the time in the playhouse’s two ball pits.
But each time you slipped out of the car, it was a paranoia-laced situation.
You had to carefully shut the car door, discouraging any other kid from stealing your ride.
You always parked two steps away from the ball pit, then leaped overboard, like in every movie I’ve never seen about international spies.
Fortunately, for my sake, I didn’t have to break up any toddler fist fights. That’s because no other kid dared get near “your” car.
I assume that most people at some point have seriously considered deleting their Facebook account.
However, most people don’t actually do it.
At worst, they purge their friend list once it reaches the point they no longer know who all is on their list; typically that magic number is around 500 people.
As for me, I often find Facebook depressing. That would be my reason for wanting to quit Facebook, about once a month.
Certain random things just drain me; like the overwhelming fluorescent lights at Walmart, trying to find a free place to park in downtown Nashville, and being exposed to reality TV shows where people argue and yell at each other.
However, one of the biggest triggers for bumming me out is when I read on Facebook about yet another man who has cheated on his wife or girlfriend.
It’s tough for me to process.
I hate it that there are enough men who cheat on the women they love, that it shows up daily on my Facebook feed.
I hate it for the women who are cheated on and hurt.
I hate it for the families who become broken when this happens.
However, I find hope and encouragement every time I see a father and husband being bragged on by his wife on Facebook. I love seeing men who are doing what they are already supposed to be doing; which is being caring and active in their families’ lives, then who are accordingly reported to the most important new source for most people: Facebook.
Honestly, I just never get tired of seeing reports of men who are still in love with and who still date their wives. It’s enough to deter me from quitting Facebook on a monthly basis.
Son, I should never have to tell you, like the Jason Mraz song says, that I won’t give up on us; on Mommy or on our family. Your reality is that I’m not going anywhere. To quote Jason Mraz again…
I won’t give up on us Even if the skies get rough I’m giving you all my love
Last Saturday morning when it snowed here in Nashville, I snapped a few quick pictures of you discovering the glory of it through the window.
However, those pictures of you didn’t quite turn out as I had hoped.
Instead, they could easily be filed under the categories of “safety hazard” or “a mess to be made.”
Without an explanation, the picture to the right looks like I just let you regularly pretend to strangle yourself with the strings from the window blinds.
In reality, the exact second this picture was shot was the only time you’ve ever put the strings from the window blinds close to your neck.
The main reason you I’ve never let you play with the window blinds is explained in the picture below.
Not only do I not want you to hurt yourself, but I don’t want you to learn that it’s okay to play with something that could easily turn into a big mess, or more importantly, something that could break and be so expensive to fix.
(Those blinds throughout our townhouse costed us a total of $500 for the 3 windows we have, by the time they were installed.)
Trust me, I don’t want to be a stick in the mud parent who is telling you “no” anytime you try to do something new.
I want you to be curious and adventurous. You are a little boy. You’re basically wired to discover fun new things on a regular basis.
But as your dad, I have to constantly be asking myself, “Is this a safety hazard?” and “Will this make a big expensive mess that I’ll have to clean up and pay for?”
Speaking of snow, it reminds me of when I was a kid in school and the Superintendent would have to make the call very early that morning on whether or not school would be cancelled because of snowy or icy weather.
If he cancelled school, and the weather ended up not being as bad as everyone thought it would be, then it could make it look like he jumped the gun and overreacted.
But if he didn’t cancel school, and the weather really was as bad as everyone thought it might be, then he could be seen as unwise and not concerned enough with the safety of the children.
I feel like the Superintendent. You give me enough reasons each day to have continually ask myself whether I should approve or cancel whatever potential hazard or mess you are about to get yourself into.
Two years and two months ago when you were born, we moved away from Nashville where Mommy and I had secure jobs and a great network of friends.
Why? Because life in the big city was too busy for us. We felt so starved for quality time, that we wanted to expose you to a slower pace of life.
So we moved to my hometown in Alabama, where, guess what? We were unemployed for the majority of our 8 months there. Sure, we had plenty of quality time, but it wasn’t really quality time because we weren’t actually making any money to justify our existence.
As your dad, it devastated me, knowing that I brought you into this world, only to not be able to provide for you.
Obviously, we moved back to Nashville, got even better jobs than we had before we left, and now life is wonderful.
Except for that one thing: Finding quality time for our family is still a struggle.
Mommy and I both work full-time, plus I have a part-time job. While your parents are at work, you spend nearly all of your waking hours with paid professionals and your peers at daycare.
Granted, it shows. You’re highly socialized: You know how to eat with proper utensils, you use the potty at school, and you don’t suffer from separation anxiety.
Yet Mommy and I have about 20 quality minutes together with you on weekdays, if we’re not counting getting you ready for school and getting you ready for bed.
We really do have so little time with you. Sure, we’ve got the whole weekend with you…
That’s when we buy groceries, clean the house, take the recycling, catch up with friends, and go to church; all based around your nap schedule.
If we were in Europe, I guess things would be different. I just read this article in The New York Times calledWhat We Have Less Of, by Paul Krugman:
“So what we have is a situation in which American families have more stuff, but they have managed to afford that stuff only by being two-income families, with ever less family time — unlike their European counterparts, who have gained in shorter hours and vacations what they lost in stay-at-home wives.”
It’s a nice thought, to actually have a comfortable amount of quality time, as a family. We tried that and couldn’t afford it.