As a parent you have to be “on”.
I don’t mean “on” as in entertaining your children all the time or pretending to be something you’re not. Being “on” is the same thing as saying you have to be available to care for your children when they need it.
It’s 8 o’clock and your wife is headed to work. You’re still in bed hoping the laughing you hear in your dreams is just that, in your dreams. You hope to God that it isn’t coming from the next room where your toddler is sleeping. Because if he’s laughing, chances are he’s awake. If he’s awake, you need to be awake too. You lie in denial for what seems like ages but has probably only been 2 minutes. A second later your 9 month pregnant wife is standing over you holding her breakfast telling you to wake up, she’s on her way to work and your son is ready to go downstairs. You make some incoherent sound that means “ok”. The reality is, it’s not ok. You’re tired. You know your wife is tired. Even through sleep filled slits in your eyes you can tell. You try to think of a way to convince her to not go to work and come back to bed. The boy will be ok, he needs independence. But then she says, “I’ll go get him for you.” Putting your son in bed with you means you’re up. It’s the ultimate alarm clock. Once he sees you he’ll never stop squirming because unlike you, he’s fully rested. He’s got enough sleep to power him for a good six hours before nap time. Besides, there’s cat food to get into and spare change to chew on.
“Can you bring him down? I’m coming.” The words don’t even sound halfway enticing. Not to mention you realize how much of a jerk you sound like because your asking your ninth month pregnant wife to cary a 22lb toddler down the stairs while finishing her breakfast.
Once you make it down yourself (watch out for the cat, she will try to trip you on the stairs) there’s only enough time to kiss your wife goodbye. You still think there might be a way to convince her to stay home but as the door closes so do your thoughts on that matter. Your son is holding onto his table friendly cloth high chair in an effort tot boost himself into it, much like the way Schwarzenegger would lift himself out of a deep pool with not en0ugh water in it. You pick him up and place him in saying “Alright, hows a PB and J sound?” There’s a good chance he’s only going to eat a little bit of it, one of lives frustrations is trying to get him to eat sometimes. You take a piece of bread and all the ingredients. There’s no knife in the drawer and the dishwasher feels miles away, certainly to far to walk in your underwear. A fork will do the trick. You stick it into the peanut butter and immediately understand why knives were made. By the time the sandwich is done there’s peanut butter in the jelly, all over the counter and somehow on your arms, but it also made it onto the bread, so theres a point for you today. You fold that shit in half and create natures miracle, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Your son has been talking non-sensible words the entire time, being very patient. You plop the sandwich in front of him and think, maybe I should cut that into edible pieces. You already tossed the fork into the sink so you get a knife out of the dishwasher. Cutting it into his size pieces you hear yourself ask him, “Do you want an apple too? Apples are amazing!” Who is this person making such comments on apples?
In a way you’re not even sure how, you grab an apple and a KCup, placing the magical coffee pod into its totrure chamber, complete with the cup to catch its drippings. As the sweet aroma of the beans boiling fills your kitchen you peel the apple. You remember cutting the apple in first grade to see the star thats in the middle and you can’t wait to be able to show your own son that. Then you start thinking of everything you’ll be able to teach him when the time comes. There will be nights of star gazing, days of picture painting and a million and half books to be read. You look over and see the PB and J being shoved into his mouth by his own doing and think to yourself “Thank. Fucking. God.” He’s eating, that’s another point for you.
You bring the apple half to the table along with the knife and your coffee. You place the coffee down first and hear your son say “hot! Hot” as he points to the cup like a street person pointing toward the devil. “yes buddy, that is hot.” You’re starting to come out of your sleep haze. You feel lucky to have enjoyed the sleep you got, knowing in only a few weeks there will be even less of it. After that comes twice the love, twice the fun, four times the learning for everybody. You start cutting apple pieces and they plop in front of your son, he immediately grabs them and eats them. Its raining apple pieces and he’s enjoying every second of it. One hits the table and falls to the ground. He stops eating, looks over the side and says in a whisper,
You laugh and think to yourself that you wouldnt want to be doing anything else in the world, not now, not ever.