Rub-a-dub-dub, Mom, Dad and the Tub

We used to love bath time, the three of us, that is. We looked forward to it rather fondly. My wife and I because it signaled the moment just before “bedtime”, whereas for my son, it meant “splish splash” time when the bathroom turned into his own water park with rubber duckies, boats and such typical “bath time” paraphernalia. There was giggling and laughter. It was all very Norman Rockwell. Until last night.

Last night the spell was broken. The Fairy Godmother must have been off getting drunk with the dwarfs or something because that bath might as well have had snakes in it. I was, though, pleasantly, albeit, momentarily pleased to see that my son had miraculously learned to leap into my arms from the ground. As he sobbed rather audibly into my ear and trembled like a leaf we reassured him that although he might not think so he actually really liked taking baths. He would have none of it. So we tried the “look over there!” routine which is the first tactic most parents use on a crying child and depending on the moment and the tantrums can be more or less effective. You can’t tell your kid “look over there – a plane” when you are in the bathroom because they’ll just give you a brief and piercing “don’t be an idiot” look and continue bawling.

So there we were with a naked, semi-dripping, shaking, crying, peeing (I swear I felt a bit of a warm spot spreading), screaming child in my arms and no end in sight despite pulling out the big gun tactics (look bubbles, look daddy clapping like a seal, look dad pretending to be a chimp, and in general mom telling dad to look like this or that…). The look of self-pity we had on our faces was clearly reflected in the bathroom mirror.

We finally managed to calm him down enough to get him close to the tub to wash him without too much of a struggle, but the whimpering only subsided when we had finally wrapped him in a towel and whisked him away.

I returned to the bathroom as my wife finished preparing him for bed and observed the devastation, the bubble bottle leaking onto the floor, rubber ducky head first in the hamper, the mirror streaked with soapy liquid and so on and so forth. What was once an idyllic bathroom scene, where bath time was a family event filled with laughter and smiles, was no more – the age of bath time innocence was over.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

What do May flowers bring…

Maybe it’s the last teeth pushing through or the start of potty training or the separation anxiety that has started or just early onset “Terrible Twos”, but I suspect the main culprit for the sudden spike in my son’s tantrums is that he is sick of Winter. I can’t really blame him. I’m sick of Winter, too and this year more so because of my son. Not because of my son mind you.

Fact is that 99.99% of New Yorkers live inside storage closets converted into apartments (the other .01% works for Goldman Sachs) so unless you are a sailor in a submarine there is now way you can appreciate what living in tight quarters means (enough with the giggles, boys). Spring is, therefore, welcomed by those of us who are in desperate need of opening up the “cages” and letting our little ones run rampant in the various parks around the City.* This is something that those of you in the warmer parts of the country and world do not have to worry about, but for us “4 Seasons” folks the first Winter thaw brings wide smiles and winks amongst perfect strangers.

Setting aside the urban versus suburban debate with it’s many nuances and necessary premises, there is nothing like taking your kids outdoor and letting them loose, unburdened by heavy clothing and hats, and watching them chase each other, running to and fro and hearing them laughing (and, of course, occasionally whining). They are just happier. They are happier even when they get their scrapes and cuts, bumps and bruises and whatever other minor accidents that are unavoidable when playing in the park – short of bubble wrapping them (and even then they would find a way!). In my new life as a dad, this is something I look forward to and more than ever appreciate.

Luckily, it is Friday and I will try to wrap up my workday quickly so I can join my wife and son in a foray into Central Park to soak in the first inklings of Spring.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

*Yes, the use of a capital “C” is intentional. It’s an annoying habit for anyone who does not live here 😉

Why I Love My Son…

Those of you who have perused my past ramblings know that I am a big fan of talking about products – mainly about those that assuage my Peter Pan Syndrome and that I too often pretend are for my son. Well, today I am going to break with a tradition that goes way back to January 2010. Granted I probably should have written about this earlier, but luckily for me (and as the tagline at the top of this page warns people) this humble blog is about anything and everything – so I’m excused.

The buzz this year is that 2010 is the Year of the Daddy Blogger. Sure, why not. Let me remind everyone, though, that there is a before and after 2010, years in which we were and still will be dads. I suspect that the reason I find myself in the company of a motley crew composed of so many great guys is the common denominator of fatherhood and the love for our little troublemakers.

So back to trying to explain (with words) why I love my son. I say try because, most parents will agree, a list of traits or actions (cute, funny, smart, goofy, spontaneous, huggable, etc.) cannot fully answer that question, since the “Why” is more of a “je ne sais quoi” feeling that resides deep down, but is always present. The one that comes from within and reminds you everyday (consciously or subconsciously) that – despite the roller coaster of thoughts and emotions they inspire – this little munchkin rocks your world! That “within” comes from whatever you as a parent believe in (i.e. spirituality, religion, instinct, nature, nurture, Darwin, Buddha, the alignment of stars and planets etc.) and frankly it does not matter, you just know that it’s there and it’s good.

This is the same feeling that keeps you from pulling a Homer Simpson on your kid when they test the permeability of your only pair of “nice” shoes with milk and cereal or when they leave a Hansel and Gretel trail of graham cracker crumbs leading up to and into your bed or… well, you know exactly what I mean.

It is also true (even more so) that it is the same feeling that would make you leap buildings in a single bound if it meant keeping your kid safe from anything and anybody that could harm them. Our prior egotism is completely stifled by a brand new and sharply focused altruism aimed reserved exclusively for them that most of us did not know we had in us prior to becoming parents.

My son is still a wee little one so I have a very different set of parameters, I am sure, than dads with more and/or older kids and teenagers, but I doubt that the feeling ever changes? Probably, just the way you express it to your kids.

I am not writing anything ground breaking, nor do I expect all of you to agree with me. I just thought that maybe by putting it in writing (and in the true spirit of a blog) I would create a hard copy for my own reference. I know I am failing miserably in getting my point across, but let me try one last thing.

During random moments of my day, when I get a first glimpse of the New York skyline on my way home from a business trip, for example, or when I stare down the subway tracks to see if it’s coming or when I hear my son’s steady breathing when he is fast asleep, my mind drifts, for a split second, and that feeling sneaks up on me from within, leaving me flushed and with goose bumps. That is when I realize that “Why I love my son…” is not so much a question, but rather an affirmation.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs