How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

I Turn My Head for Just One Week

Posted by on February 7th, 2013, under NOTEBOOK

one-week-header

I’ll never forgive myself. Or the Universe. I was gone for a week. Just one week! I’m in his room playing and he just said “those” instead of “dozes.”

One Day Earlier

Lugging my bags to the curb, I met my family with a mountain range of a smile set against the gray sky of my unshaven face. Weary as much from the rigors as from the joys of a week-long roadtrip away.

Speaking at Dad 2.0 Summit Andy Herald and Charlie CapenMy somber expression could be due to an extrasensory perception of my son getting older. Or gas.

I sprint-limped up to the car. At the Dad 2.0 Summit my partner, Charlie, and I attended, I’d sprained my ankle in a vigorous reenactment of the throwing-a-hammer-at-the-screen-of-conformity scene in the Apple “1984″ commercial. A conversational moment I hope was more inspirational than it wound up being unintelligent. And painful.

I sat with my head resting against the headrest I never rest my head against as we drove home. I listened and laughed at my three-year-old son, Lucas, as he bubbled and blurted, so excited to see me again. Something was different, though. It couldn’t be. It undeniably was. But I immediately denied it, so the undeniability factor might have been a little weak actually.

The Next Day

My jaw is hanging open and a red Lego block is frozen in time in my unmoving hand. He just said “One pwus two equaws three!”

It wasn’t the arithmatic that shut down my nervous system and motor functions. Not math! Give me a cookie and a minute and I’d have him spouting Stairway to Heaven lyrics. It was that he pronounced THree! THHHHHH-f##king-ree!!! Not Fwee! What happened to my son? My baby! Okay, toddler! Alright, not even toddler! Whatever! Oh my sweet little lad!

I reassured myself that—enter the destined-for-eBay consolation prize—he still pronounced Ls with Ws, and then I placed the Lego on top of another with a vacant stare. He was growing up. In a week.

Now

ducttape-parenting

So.

smell-fingersAs long as he keeps doing this, I won’t cry. And I’ll let him loose from his duct-tape harness occassionally, so he can fwoh da wocks in da wake… ::sob::

I’ve already lost two of my baby sons to time.

I have a satchel loaded with Legos, beef jerky and mason jars. My jaw is set. Attachment Parenting, say hello to Duct-Tape Parenting! My still-little-ish son, Lucas, is presently fastened to my back with duct tape. We’re heading up into the mountains to start working on a time manipulation device. One with a rewind button, or at least a pause button.

Terribly corny children’s audio stories are already loaded onto my iPhone* so he can learn how to say “dozes” again when asking for multiple things in an indicated direction. I will continue to educate him myself. One plus two will once more equal FWEE!

Crap. I forgot to bring tissues.
 

* Shut it. I brought a hand-crank charger OF COURSE! My parental breakdown comes with preparation. And Cheetos.

Duct-tape Yourself to Our Facebook Page
Why not? You’ll smell like some kind of weird candy and radness.

Instructional Diagrams
Nine out of ten doctors pee-squirt-laugh themselves when recommending these.
 

52 Comments

52 Responses to “I Turn My Head for Just One Week”

  1. Carter says:

    “I don’t think of myself as a writer,” said Herald. To which, everyone he ever knew replied, “Oh, really? Read this thing the YOU JUST WROTE, dude.” You are a writer, like it or not.

  2. Charlie says:

    Yeah. I know what you mean. My oldest will be 16 in April! Freaking SIX-TEEN!!!!

    Wasn’t she playing grocery store and American Girl just a couple of weeks ago? Now she’s talking about For King And Country with stars in her eyes. Meanwhile I have mist in mine.

    Somebody told me when she was about 8 or so, that the days will crawl, but the years fly by. It’s true!

    • Andy says:

      In Latin there’s an expression: tempus fugit. Literally “time flies.” I like to think of the fugit part as a corruption of f##k it. Time takes our babies and kids away, the dirty thief.

  3. JeninCanada says:

    *hugs* Time IS a thief.

    This thing all things devours:
    Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
    Gnaws iron, bites steel;
    Grinds hard stones to meal;
    Slays king, ruins town,
    And beats high mountain down.

    Poor Bilbo sat in the dark thinking of all the horrible names of all the giants and ogres he had ever hold told of in the Shire, but not one of them had done all these things. He had a feeling that the answer was quite different and that he ought to know it, but he could not think of it. He began to get frightened and that is bad for thinking. Gollum began to get out of his boat. He flapped into the water and paddled to the bank; Bilbo could see his eyes coming towards him. His toungue seemed to stick in his mouth; he wanted to shout: “Give me more time! Give me time!” But all that came out with a sudden squeal was:
    “Time! Time!”

  4. Chris says:

    What Carter said…

  5. Jill says:

    My son is on the way to becoming a father. They are all little traitors. Every last one of them. Don’t trust them, don’t blink, and for Pete’s sake, don’t turn around even for a minute, or they will grow up and blow away.

  6. JeninCanada says:

    *hugs* Time IS a thief!

    This thing all things devours:
    Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
    Gnaws iron, bites steel;
    Grinds hard stones to meal;
    Slays king, ruins town,
    And beats high mountain down.

    Poor Bilbo sat in the dark thinking of all the horrible names of all the giants and ogres he had ever hold told of in the Shire, but not one of them had done all these things. He had a feeling that the answer was quite different and that he ought to know it, but he could not think of it. He began to get frightened and that is bad for thinking. Gollum began to get out of his boat. He flapped into the water and paddled to the bank; Bilbo could see his eyes coming towards him. His toungue seemed to stick in his mouth; he wanted to shout: “Give me more time! Give me time!” But all that came out with a sudden squeal was:
    “Time! Time!”

    Bilbo was saved by pure luck. For that of course was the answer.

  7. Just realized the other day my son was 10. The reality check came when he was scouting the perimeter of the house for aliens and came in house riddled with ticks. In checking the crevices for the little boogers, I found a clump of frightened hairs nestled under his arm. You could tell they were blinded by the light and shrived in retreat. When you find the cure for the common “growth”, please share the details. Dads little man is coming of age.

    • Andy says:

      As soon as we’re done with the time machine, we’ll commence growth-reversion potion. And a good treatment for tick removal. ;)

      • Jill says:

        I actually have a good treatment for tick removal. Put some starting fluid (ether) on a cotton ball. and hold it over the tick for a minute or so. It puts them to sleep, they release their hold, and pull off easily.

  8. Laurie says:

    I’m still thinking about that whole scene that included the ankle-spraining action, so I think it’s safe to say it was more inspirational than unintelligent, but I can’t speak to your level of pain. (I’m not sure you’re capable of unintelligent? Serious.)

    • Andy says:

      Wow! I’m so pleased you read this! I thought of you, Charlie and Amy when I wrote that part. (Trust me, I can do Dumb Level: Bag of Hammers. And I’m not referring to the screen-of-conformity shattering kind.) ;)

      • Charlie says:

        This is funny! I am the Charlie who wrote the second comment about my oldest daughter turning 16, and _I_ am married to an Amy.

        • Andy says:

          It’s almost like you were there! Ha ha! It’s weird to see the same names, my 3yo son just met someone with his name and he was fascinated someone else had his name. Ha ha!

  9. Mother Duck says:

    :…)…

  10. Laurie says:

    Surely I can’t be the only one getting teary over my cereal here, okay fine its chocolate hearts and not cereal but whatever. This is so very sweet and I love it! You Sir are a fantastic writer! Time for another baby I guess :)

  11. Coco Cana says:

    All choked up. My lil guy is 2 and I want to freeze time everyday. He used to say “chit-chin” for chicken and the other day he asked for “more chicken pleeeeease?” and my husband said, “uh…you mean chit-chin?” And then we looked at each other like, “yea, how rude it’s not called chicken.” snort. Why is it so sad and bittersweet when they don’t say the “wrong” word anymore? ;-(

  12. The day my kid stops saying “deaded” for “die” I will die. Don’t ask me why we discuss death so much. I blame video games.

  13. Aaron says:

    When I was turning 12, my father and I had a conversation regarding my upcoming bar mitzvah (just a year away), in which it came up that my father thought I was still 10 and a half. Now that I have a child of my own, I will never make fun of him for that again.

  14. Dawn Marie says:

    my almost three year old said “Harry Potter” instead of “Harry Cotter” the other day and we promptly corrected him. no growing up in this house!

  15. I was so happy when my baby girl said “trout” for the first time, even though she said “tot.” so cute! but now, all fish are “tot,” except for walleye, they’re wawweye.

  16. Desiree says:

    Wait ’til he brings home a (three months from adulthood) potential mate and starts snogging discreetly away on the same couch you once changed diapers on. #1 I’m popping popcorn and pretending nothing changed, #2, I’ve owned this couch WAAAAAY too long, and #3, suddenly I want seven more babies. Right now!

    • Jill says:

      That’s what I did, Desiree. Waited 18 years, and just as my nest was about to empty, we bypassed nagging the kids for grandchildren and made our own. It’s awesome, by the way! Highly recommended course of action. Don’t call me in 20 years to ask how it’s going when I am 65 and having to release this one.

    • Andy says:

      You’re just making it worse. The wistfulness and the randiness to make more kids. ;)

  17. Time flies when your having fun…time hits light speed when you think about your kids.

    My son turned 4 last week and I have no idea where the time has gone.

    In fact, he informed he was now as grown up as I am (I never knew that 4 was the age of maturity). I keep threatening to go ahead and get him a job so he can start supporting me in a manner I want to become accustomed.

    Aaron Brinker aka DadBlunders :)

    • Andy says:

      Time flies. Period. Even when you’re not having fun. I guess the trick is to soak it all up as fast as you can and appreciate it as much as you can, and save the memories to cherish later. Maybe even video the absolute hell out of everything. ;)

  18. Mimi says:

    Ugh, seriously! The day my son stopped saying “agabee” and “ugabee” for “battery” and “strawberry” was a very sad day. I even tried correcting him and he sternly told me they were “battowy” and “stwawbewwy”. Sigh. ((He also used to say the f-word for truck… Not sure if I’m happy or sad he stopped that one))

    • Andy says:

      I love it! Those are great pronunciations. Yesterday I kept asking Lucas when we could try to get his splinter out just to get him to say “tomowwow” over and over again.

  19. Elizabeth says:

    I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU!!! Misty eyed….

  20. Allie says:

    One day my 4 year old stopped calling them “runny babbits”. I tried to correct him and he dropped his chin and gave me “the look.”

    Good thing I have another one.

  21. buffi says:

    Now that my youngest, also Lucas (which he used to say “You-cas”), is nine, I get all misty over those sweet things that they don’t say any longer. Like bezzert for dessert, and calling Monopoly “Fronokaly”, and saying “whip cream!” instead of “yippee!” But especially, “I yove you, Mommy.” Although I do sometimes hear “love you Mom.”

    I won’t tell you what my 16 year old says. This being a family blog & all…

  22. Becky says:

    We used to have two children called Dee-Dee and Balum but now they’re all grown up and called Lucy and Calum, 8 and 5. Sometimes I call them those names and get the look too.

  23. Lexy says:

    I get teary every time baby girl needs to go up a size in clothing. I just brought her first 18 month size :(

  24. Holly Stewart says:

    Mine just decided to start saying milk instead of the adorable ellellell he used to call it! :(

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