For the past month I have been working on a companion story to the story I wrote about Jr’s life two years after starting school at two. I thought it would be fun to tell you all about how my life has changed in that same time span also. As these things go sometimes I get bogged down in the details and as I am often wont to share I just have a hard time writing about myself. Really? How interesting could I possibly be…to others? Jr…now there’s an interesting character!! Dad…he’s so dull!!
I mean the story really isn’t that hard to place. I make some humble self defacing jokes about how I awkwardly stumble through dad hood, I make some poignant observations about how much smarter 4 year old Jr is than 40 year old dad and when it is all said and done the ending always, always, always remains the same; that I enjoy every grain of sand of life with Jr and my bride and that I am the luckiest guy on Earth. You know it is really hard to write all of the rest when you keep focusing on that ending?
You have to admit though that’s a pretty solid ending. Once upon the time there was this guy. He was as happy as could be and appreciated everything about his life. What a lucky guy he was? And then he lived happily ever after. The end!!!
That is so sappy!! Instead of going through all of that and putting thought to word (oh wait I did it anyways!!) I thought we could just do some more fun catching up with Jr…okay and Daddio too, just a little bit.
Do you want to know how my life has really changed? Sunday mornings are the one morning of the week where I get a little free time to check some things off of my list. The other Sunday while Mrs. Daddio was out getting her exercise in it was just Jr and I at home. I really wanted badly to exercise a few items off of my list. Jr wanted help building some of the Lego models he had received for his birthday. How long could it take to push a few blocks together? Three hours later the Lego building was complete!! and I was exhausted!!! Have you ever tried to put Lego together with an anxious 4 year old constantly helping and asking, “is it done yet?” sung to the tune of, “Are we there yet?”
Needless to say my to do list is longer than ever…but we do have a neat Lego faux robot to show for it!!
Jr was going through a stage where he was saying, “Huh!” a lot. We can call this the “Huh” stage. I know he got it from one of his favorite TV shows and that it was mostly innocent but where we live HUH is not an acceptable sentence to be used in the English vernacular. To remedy the situation I explained to him that instead of huh he could say pardon me. Then we went through the “pardon me stage!” In similar rhythm to the high pitched, “HUH” grunt he started saying, “pardon me” in escalating tones whenever his thought process thought silliness was in order. Huh as it turns out isn’t so bad after all!
For the record I’m pretty tolerant with most everything but the silliness secretly gets to me and it is never really ever in order.
I have been trying to nurture Jr to be a leader. Every day when I drop him off at school I’ve been telling him to be a leader and to help out and be a good role model. As it turns out I think there was a little bit of translation loss in the message between dad and son. One day I arrived for pick up early to see the kids marching back to class from their run around time in the play yard. Poor Jr was in tears. When he saw me he cried through his tears, “Dad I keep trying to be a leader but everyone keeps taking my turn!” The poor kid, he thought I wanted him to go first all of the time! Afterwards when I explained to the teacher what had happened everyone had a smile. I re-explained what I had meant to Jr and he seemed to understand this time that I meant to be good and help. The teacher promised him if he listened and was prompt that he would get a turn at the front of the pack. Next time I saw the group marching back to class Jr was in front and everyone was happy. The next time I saw them in a similar situation after that? Jr was in the middle of the line playing his role listening and leading by example! Sometimes all it takes is a little extra communication.
Speaking of our little leader and stages he is going through a chicken stage. Chickens seem to be about the funniest thing on Earth right now and the butt of most to all of Jr’s jokes.
Jr, “DAD, DAD, DAD!! Guess what?”
Dad, “What is it buddy?”
Jr, “Chickens, ha, ha, ha…”
Jr, “Guess what?”
Dad, “ What is it pal.”
Jr, “UMMMMMMMMH, I gots something to AX you?”
Dad, “Okay what is your question?”
Jr, “CHICKENS!! ha, ha, ha…”
And on it goes…
We are constantly working on our manners. I firmly believe that manners play an important role in the civility and respect of a society. Jr is pretty good at working through his please and thank yous in English and also starting now in Spanish. When you ask him what his magic words are he responds all drawn out and happy. “PLLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEASE and thank YOU,” he’ll say.
You are welcome is another story. Instead of you’re welcome he says, my welcome.
Dad, “Thank you pal for all of your help.”
Jr, “My welcome!”
Dad, “Thanks for holding the door for me son.”
Jr, “My welcome.”
I am not allowed to call my parents mom and dad in front of Jr. To Jr my parents are grandma and grandpa or as he says it, “mama and papa.” If I call them mom and dad he tells me, “Dad that’s not mom and dad that’s mama and papa.” I then have to apologize for my error, “Sorry Jr you’re right that is grandma and grandpa silly me.”
The other morning I’m lying in bed when Jr comes into the room. He is slightly off from the sleep but mostly awake, fresh and spry like both he and his mother wake. On the other hand I do not wake so easily. It does balance out though because later in the day when both mom’s and son’s energy wanes oh so slightly mine picks up (likely due to the caffeine). With that background in mind let’s get back to Jr coming into the room. Jr climbs up onto the bed and onto my chest just like a cat does. He pulls the sheets up and over us and whispers (loudly) with sprays of moisture into his groggy old man’s ear, “Dad, dad guess what! Guess WHAT! Dad, DAD, DAD!”
Dad, “Morning buddy what is it?”
Jr now getting right up into my face, “I’ve got a secret to tell you!”
Dad, eyes still closed trying to breathe through the extra weight on his chest, “What is it buddy?”
Jr, “Dad guess what? I have a secret. Last night I went to sleep. Now I am awake. And we need to build a robot and the tree out front we can decorate that for Christmas and I want to go to the North pole because that is what I want to do, go to that white place and I want a robot just like me but only this big and can we build that?”
Dad, “Sure pal we should do that.”
Jr still on dad’s chest, “Dad, dad, dad guess what?”
Dad, “What is it buddy?”
Jr whispering (loudly) and spraying slightly “I have a secret…”
As it turns out I guess I was able to put that article together about how my life has changed over the past two years after all. It is funny but when I start out writing a piece I have a general idea of where I am heading but like a great adventure with many twists and turns I often end up right back where I started only wiser and more experienced. If you read between the lines Jr’s life and adventures are also often mine and my learning curve is attached to his…and that great ending where I am the luckiest man on Earth…let me phrase it this way, with a story.
Jr is often at his sweetest first thing in the morning. The other morning was particularly nice. The sun was bright but not too intense; it was crisp and cool but fresh and just right to have the back screen door open letting some of that great clean air into the house. Jr was just up and we were in the backroom together. He thought he should have a look outside and see what the world had in store for him that day. I’m pretty laissez faire about his adventuring as long as personal safety isn’t an issue and of course stay near with an eye on him just in case. Jr opens the door all the way and pokes his head out and much to my surprise he breaks into song!
To the tune of Happy Birthday to You he sings, “Good morning to you…good morning to you….good morning to you…” To the world at large.
Could anything be sweeter than that?
Peace and love all.