"Wanna fool around?"
"We are in my Grandmother's house."
"So.... the answer is "No."
"C'mon, everyone's asleep. We could just lay here and quietly hump."
"It's from a Woody Allen movie. "Annie Hall," I think."
"That's funny.... but no."
"This is my Grandmother's house and we are in my Grandmother's bed. I used to kneel beside this bed when I was a child to say my prayers!"
"That's what makes it so cool!"
"C'mon, just a little.."
"Now I lay me down to sleep..."
"That's just low."
"Go to sleep."
"We could go outside and have sex in the mini-van..."
"C'mon, it's a rental!"
It was about 9a.m. when I realized that I had become my own worst nightmare. I was doing laps in the Tampa Airport pushing a stroller with a crying baby inside when I was forced to stop and argue with my 2-year-old daughter about whether or not she would be using the airport bathroom... while brandishing a toilet seat covered in Sesame Street characters. Five years ago when I was flying back and forth between Tampa and Dallas every month, I would have seen someone like me and thought, "That poor bastard."
Now it's me.
To be honest, the plane trips with the girls went pretty well. Both times that we flew we got to the airport early anticipating long lines only to discover we were the only people flying that day. In both cases we were the only car at the baggage drop and we didn't have to wait at all at security. In both cases we ended up spending two hours cooling our heels at the gate trying to keep the kids happy. Sam was in good spirits for the most part, spending the majority of her time standing in place and jumping up and down.... something she has elevated to an art form.
More to come...
Mark your calendar people because we are diaper free. That's right, my oldest daughter has finally conquered her irrational fear of peeing anywhere other than her pants and is now ushering herself into the bathroom several times a day to urinate freely as well as, dare I say it, poop.
We spent a week in intense training and it's payed off in spades. One day she was holding it all in despite spending hours on the potty, the next - she was crapping like a midget fueled on Raisin Bran and cigarettes. And that's not all! She doesn't wet the bed!
Despite this major milestone in Samantha's development, she is still silently belittled for having taken so long by parents who feel that the speed in which you are potty trained determines everything from sexual orientation to college prospects. Today I had a hair stylist at Wal-Mart hold her own child's training (at 18 months) over me like she invented the radial tire. I can only say that I hope she's right in believing her kid is a genius so that maybe she won't have to grow up to be a HAIRSTYLIST AT WAL-MART!
Let me be clear on this: No matter what you think, "milestones" don't mean shit. In the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter that you took three years to get potty-trained or had a pacifier until you were in kindergarten. None of it amounts to a hill of beans when you're 45, although it is tougher to get that big promotion if you're still wearing diapers. (My favorite example of this is the people who have their kids in day-care and are always trying to convince me to put my child in day-care, too. Otherwise, she will be traumatized and anti-social when she enters kindergarten. Listen, I didn't set foot in a school until I was in first grade and no one would dare suggest that I'm incapable of communicating. Plus, I'm a friggin' genius, so suck it, day-care.)
My wife runs our companies (Signature Title and All Florida Search and Abstract). She is the queen of multitasking with 10 things going at once all day long and how she does it I don't know. I could never do it.
That's at work.
At home she has the attention span of a goldfish and is totally unable to focus on anything for five minutes. Or two minutes. Or less. Example:
Today I walked into the kitchen an noticed a new roll of paper towels sitting on the island bar. I looked over at the wooden towel holder sitting on the counter and noticed that there were no paper towels on it and the wooden dowel that normally holds the towels had been removed. It didn't really surprise me because it was obvious what had happened: Bobbi had noticed that the paper towels were out and had decided to put a fresh roll on (in itself a miracle because she never notices stuff like that). She got out a fresh roll, removed the empty roll from the rack, put it in the garbage and..... got distracted by something shiny and never came back.
My personal favorite example of this inability to focus happens a lot when we are coming home with the kids. Typically, we'll bring the kids in the house around bedtime and I'll start emptying the diaper bag, taking Mac out of the carrier, cleaning any bottles we used while we were out, telling Sam it's time for bed, etc..... I'll turn around and Bobbi is no where to be found. Where is she? She's in the front yard pulling up weeds that she noticed when we pulled into the driveway, having completely forgotten the laundry list of things that must be accomplished in order to put the kids to bed.... an accomplishment made more amazing by the fact that we do them every night!
She's retarded but I love her.
"Alright, it's time to go night-night, so..."
"No, no more Elmo. Time for potty."
"Potty. Let's go to the potty. Take off your big-girl panties and climb up on the potty."
"Momma is in the other room."
"In the other room, honey."
"Momma not here right now. It's just you and Pappa Bear."
"That's right. Papa Bear goes Grrrrr."
"Pee-pee on the potty get an emm-nem."
"That's right, you get an M&M if you pee-pee on the potty."
"Kisses and love!"
"Here ya go.... here's a kiss and a hug."
"Momma not here right now."
"Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!"
"No, right now we are going pee-pee on the potty."
"Pee-pee on the potty get an emm-nem."
"Did you go pee-pee in the potty?"
"That's okay, at least you tried. Here, put on your panties and let's go get in the bed......... Here's your pillow and your bah-bah. Here's the bear and the bear's bah-bah.
"Yes, baby, daddy will do the "tucky-tucky." Okay.... kisses and love, noses, tell me a secret...."
"I love you."
"I love you too, baby."
"Daddy, daddy, daddy!"
"Pee-pee on the potty."
"Alright, let's go...."
Being a stay at home Dad isn't the easiest job in the world. It's tedious and boring most of the time, frantic and frustrating the rest... and it gives you nothing in the way of intellectual stimulation. In many ways it's like going to college, only the puke that I clean up on a daily basis doesn't belong to me.
I never really wanted kids. I've always been selfish and children are the scariest thing in the world to someone who thinks mostly of themselves. I had children because my wife wanted them and I wanted her to be happy. That's how much I love her. I had no idea what would happen to me as a result.
Today I watched Parenthood, the old Steve Martin movie about an extended family and all the stuff that comes with being a parent. I've always liked it but now that I have kids, it's a different movie altogether. Sure, the funny parts are still funny, it's just that the dramatic parts are so much more poignant and relevant. I get it now.
The movie ends with the whole family gathered for the birth of a new child and after a slow pan around the room, the camera finally comes to rest on Mary Steenbergen, who is crying... caught up in the emotion of the moment.
I started crying, too.
Not just a misty eyed, "awww shucks" movie cry either (although I had done that already, several times) but crying almost to the point of sobs.
It's hard to explain it, which is rare for me. Everyone who has children feels it. Some say it's pure joy but it's not really... it's a combination of joy and something else, at least for me. It's like someone came along, reached inside me and unlocked a door to a place that contains emotions I never knew existed. I find myself thinking at those moments, "I had no idea..."
It's scary to think that I went so long without ever feeling this way. You spend your whole life trying to gain some measure of control over yourself.... a "routine" for your emotions... "This is how I feel about this and this is how I feel about that and so on and so on..." and then you have children and it's as if you've been born again. You're brand new and you have to start all over again, tackling these intense feelings that burst to the surface at a moments provocation.... love, joy, fear, anxiety... they're all there and, if you're a stay-at-home it's worse than most because you have no mental distractions. You're neck-deep in the emotion pot all the time.
So I sat there, crying. Samantha came over and gave me a hug and a kiss. Then, the closing credits started rolling on the movie and Randy Newman started singing "I Love to See You Smile." Sam looked at me and said, "Wanna dance?"
Yes I do baby. I surely, surely do.
A close read of the strip shows that Garfield is not dead (...the imagination paints a vision of the future ). Still, it would be great if Jim Davis really had killed Garfield all those years ago..
"I got yelled at by my trainer today," Bobbi said.
"Really?" I asked.
"Yea, he says I'm not eating right and I don't eat often enough."
"He says I should be putting something in my mouth every 2-3 hours."
"I've been telling you that for years."
"He's talking about food."
I don't really do any web design anymore because I just don't have time between taking care of the kids, doing the books for the business and downloading internet porn. However, that didn't stop Bobbi from telling me that I would have one weekend to build the website for All Florida Search and Abstract.
I must say, I did a pretty good job of getting it out in time, especially when you consider that it took me two hours to figure out how to incorporate the login page of another website into our website. I used a template, which is kind of cheating, but I still had to create my own graphics.