Finding Center (Ah F**?K)

After Junior’s morning at school if we can I usually make an effort to let him play outside for 45 minutes to an hour in the park and yard behind the community center where his classes are held. Sometimes some of his classmates and their parents join us, other days we are alone. Today was one of those days. It had rained in the morning and had just cleared up around pick up time. In the morning I had dressed Jr in his rain boots and more durable spring coat. We had also brought along one of his favorite outdoor possessions, his umbrella.

Afterwards buoyed by the dryness of his rubber boots he splashed in some puddles and stood just above ankle deep in others. He made mud, played with mud and generally had a good time. After we were done playing we washed the mud off of our hands in one of the deeper clearer pools of puddled water. The only thing missing were peer age playmates. I was not the only one who noticed as Junior took a break from his play to ask me, “Where are the other kids at?”

It may be sad and true, I wonder how many of my little guy’s peers have never splashed and gotten wet prematurely or have had the opportunity to learn how to rinse their hands “clean” without the use of a human made faucet?

After months of race reports and photo essays I think that we ought to get back to square one and do a little family writing. I still owe you race fans a report on my adventures at the Barcelona Marathon and I’m pretty certain that some of the 4000 plus pictures I took in Europe will find their way into another photo essay as will some more from our family vacations to the mountain valleys of the upper northwest and of course Junior’s first Disney visit should warrant another one but those will all have to wait a few more days.

As they say in the yoga world I think that it is time to get back to center. I think it is time that we catch up again with the ever racing, ever growing Junior.

While we travelled recently (a month in Europe and a week in California) and shortly after another one in British Columbia/Washington State surprisingly I had little trouble fitting in my exercise time. It seemed that everywhere we went I had a 40 pound blond haired weight vest to carry around. Its legs were often broken …so he said when he didn’t want to walk. Such is life for a dad who refuses to use a stroller for his three year old.

Jr is actually closer to four than three. This is such a fun time for us. The other day I asked if we could have another three year old. You know how it works; a little birds and bees and then we place our order with the stork and 9 months or so later a bouncing three year old boy or girl shows up, sort of. In response to my request and explanation of events I received a bit of a pained look.

Three year olds are great. As a parent you assume things will become easier as your young children grow more independent and learn to do some things on their own. The only thing is that it doesn’t (get any easier that is) because even though they can do things on their own, like dress, put their shoes on, brush their  teeth etc. doesn’t mean they will. Now they are bigger, quicker at moving (quicker than the parent likely) away from you, think that is funny and still want you to do most everything for them! For example at one time during our potty training escapades I swear I had Junior on the way to wiping his own butt. Now though, I am often beckoned by cries of, “Dad come here. I need a wipe.” When I arrive on the scene there might Jr be with his butt high in the air and his head at his toes waiting for a cleaning. This is all something I never expected!

The other week I was out cutting the grass. It was early spring and it was a nice day just drizzling a little. Jr was close inside and I knew that he would get me if he needed anything. When I looked and saw him on the porch though I received a bit of a surprise because…because there he was in his birthday suit! At first I thought he had wet himself and had stripped down and come to get me to change him but of course things are never quite that simple.

When I asked him what he was doing he replied, “That the rain was like a little shower and that he was having a shower.”

I couldn’t argue with that. He was right. Soon his shower was over and I dried him off. It wasn’t long before he was snuggled into some warm clothes with a snack at his side watching “his” TV again. The really funny thing about all of this is that Junior hates showers. In fact when he is acting up the mere mention of a shower will often smarten him up. Sometimes things all seem strange.

Another time recently I walked in on Jr talking to himself. He was practicing how to say ah f**?k. Honestly it was pretty funny. He was role playing and trying to get the intonation just right. I quickly moved in and we had a discussion on why that was a bad word and how we should never use it. He promised me, “never again.”

Since then he has let it out a few times, mostly for shock value. When recently he said it in front of someone else at a family gathering we again had an appropriate conversation on why not to use that word. He was very good about the whole thing and when pressed said that he had heard it from his mommy! I of course chuckled happy to have this time at least not been the butt of Jr’s joke and also because I am not perfect either!

This parenting thing; there is no better way to learn about the world.

Peace and love all.



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