This past week was really stressful for me. The addition of Bonus Baby has challenged everything I “know” about parenting. Really. I have come to a point where I question if I’m ever doing anything right. I feel as though I’m gaining a little more control each day. As if I’m understanding how a 4 month old fits into the already organized chaos of the house. I’m somewhat sure they have been using the Jurassic Park idea of testing the fence for weak spots, and some days I worry that they’ve figured out how to get Newman out of the park with the stolen DNA samples. I’ll say that at the very least, I have a new found level of respect for single parents and parents with lots of kids. I don’t know how they do it and keep their sanity. Three kids instead of two. It doesn’t seem like there should be that much of a difference.
I was stressed, and I needed a good weekend to recharge. I got it.
It was a long day, and I was intent to spend most of my Sunday catching my breath in anticipation for the week. My safety net, Melissa, would no longer be there for my extra pair of hands. They would be replaced by the small, less helpful hands of Bonus Baby. Yep. Good luck prying me off the couch. Well, plans have a way of changing. I find I tend to fall into the category of “a plan is just a list of shit that isn’t gonna happen.” I’m so glad it went that way.
For those of you who might wonder if I’m in the very stereotypical category of “cheap Scotsman” well, let’s just say that six months ago I noted that it was time to get new shoes. So I went shopped on Sunday. I decided that it would be a nice change if I took Carter out and let Melissa and William stay at home. I think kids like a little one on one sometimes. Even though I know the boys and I need time apart, getting out alone really changes things. Carter and I had a good morning, but I didn’t find any shoes that I was willing to buy, and by “willing to buy” I mean shoes that fell into my mythical criteria of being really great shoes that were under $40. See “cheap Scotsman.” After coming home for lunch and getting a fairly insistent reminder from Melissa that it was okay for me to spend more than $40 because A) I really needed to get new shoes. B) I was going to wear the shoes for roughly 50 years so the money kind of spreads out. See “cheap Scotsman.”
I decided to switch things up after lunch, and took William out with me. Mostly because it was Carter’s nap time, but also mostly to switch things up. I wanted to take a slightly different approach than normal with William. Those of you who’ve been reading for a while will remember that William was late to really start talking, and perhaps that has led Melissa and I to be hesitant with helping him to progress in other areas. I see parents with kids who have to be William’s age, who don’t have to worry about letting go of their child’s hand for a moment without risking the immediate sprinting of said child to the most dangerous object in the area. I see parents who can avert their gaze for more than half a second without the worry of their child seeing that as an opportunity to create havoc. I decided that William and I were going to join those ranks, and he went above and beyond my expectations.
First off, in keeping with the “here’s the plan, let’s mess it up” theme of the day, it went from quick run to check a different shoe store, to an almost three hour trip all over town. Home Depot (not-so-fun-time project post in the future?!!!), and three different shoes stores. Did I mention that I really hate shopping?
William decided to be my little slice of redemption. From the start, I made sure to give him a little freedom when I could. Walking down the isle at Home Depot? “Just stay close, buddy,” I’d whisper to him. Sure enough, as we made our way through the store he followed along by my side. Occasionally he’d stop to look at an interesting tool or sheet of plywood. At one point he stopped at big metal beam that ran up to the ceiling, and began knocking on it. He figured out that it was hollow and turned to me saying, “Open, daddy, open!” My kid thinks I can rip open metal with my bare hands….how was your Sunday?
The little extra space and freedom continued through the shoe stores, and by the time we arrived at the final location I think we were both ready to just fall asleep. We had landed at DSW, a place I had never been to because it had not opened a store in my living room. A bit rude. William had started to get antsy to be home, but since he was tired, I was able to give him an alternative to running away from me and putting every shoe in the store into one large pile. Sitting! I would put him on one of the seats they provide for people to try on shoes in whatever area I was in, and bring him my latest choice. Which brings me to my over-the-top cute moment for this post.
In an effort to keep him engaged and still in each spot I went to, I included him in the process. I’d hand him the box, and I would take out one shoe, handing him the other to inspect. Then I’d simply try it on, without making a big fuss over him. Sometimes he’d take one of his shoes off to try the new one on like daddy, and other times he’d just pull out that wad of paper they always stuff into the shoes to…eh…keep their shape? Anyhow, everything was working so well! I can’t put it into words how nice it was to have him sit down, and put my attention on finding the right size, glancing over to always find him in the same place. He was behaving so well. Someone was getting a chocolate chip cookie on the way home.
The thing that floored me though, was whenever I’d try on a shoe, and it had to actually be on my foot, William would give me a once over and say, “Cool shoes, daddy. Cooool shoes. Good job!” I don’t know where that came from, especially considering he only did it at DSW, after two other shoe stores. All I know is that it was awesome, I appreciated the feedback, and I wanted to try on lots of shoes to keep hearing him say it.
Lots of hugs and a cookies were had before we went home.
And for the record, my new shoes are cool. I did a good job.