Thursday, October 7, 2010

Days with Dad

For the first half of this week, Jennifer was away on a work retreat.  She and a group of her fellow lawyers stayed at a compound along the Hudson River, spending nights around a campfire, telling ghost stories, singing "Kumbaya," and drafting 200-page invoices for their clients.  It was a huge bonding experience.  Kyle and I, meanwhile, spent that time at home, getting to know each other better.

Granted, this probably would be a lot more exciting if I was not already a stay-at-home dad.  It would have been a classic Hollywood moment, with me panicking over dirty diapers, tripping over Kyle's toys and falling face-first into a pile of Legos, and pulling my hair out and shouting at the sky as Kyle runs around with something dangerous and destructive, like a chainsaw.  That would have been HILARIOUS!  But that wasn't what happened, since I have a routine down, having done this job now for more than two years.  This is obviously a let-down for the little guy, and he expressed his dismay on the way home from dropping Jennifer off, often repeating, "Mommy.  Mommy."  A few days alone with her would have been exciting.  A few days with my parents would have been exciting.  Heck, even a few days with a pack of wolves or our crazy landlady would have been a kick for him.  But a few days with Daddy?  Just more of the same.  The weather didn't cooperate, either, so my plans to spice up the week with a little skydiving and rappelling fell through.  We went to the YMCA instead, and he simply ran around in circles, throwing red rubber balls.  Ho-hum.

So, really, this week hasn't been much different than previous weeks, except for a few days I was the one feeding Kyle breakfast. Turns out he's just as impatient in the morning as he is at lunchtime, when he cries at his highchair, demanding his food and milk, as if I was going to put him there and forget about him.  Silly kid.  That only happens at nap time.  When we weren't eating or snoozing, we did the usual stuff: grabbing an afternoon coffee (usually for me), playing with toys, reading books, or competing in wrestling/tickling matches.  I don't win those anymore... even the coffee can't compete with that kid's energy.  So, it really was just more of the same... except this week we lost our kitchen table and chairs.  I had sold them on to make way for a new set, which arrived today. 

Of course, since Kyle has yet to understand the intricacies of modern commerce, he had no idea what was going on.  I probably should have given him more warning.  He seemed awfully confused.  We came home Sunday night from dropping Jennifer off, and I was in the middle of feeding him dinner when the buzzer rang.  In came two women, and they just took the table and chairs, and left.  I went back to feeding Kyle.  He ate well that night, as I'm guessing he figured that, if he didn't finish his meal, the women would come back and take him away too.  Of course, that would never happen.  I'd never sell my kid over an unfinished meal.  After all, if I sold him, who would rake the leaves once we own a home?  However, I'm sure I could get a good price for all his toys. 

The empty dining room was the big thrill for Kyle this week, as he kept pointing to it and saying, "No table!  No chairs!"  There were a few other moments he enjoyed, too.  My friend Mickey stopped by on Tuesday for lunch, and the little guy hasn't stopped talking about it since.  "I had fun with Mickey," he repeated over and over again, as if to emphasize that he wasn't having fun with Daddy right now.  He even said he had fun with the kids who live downstairs, though he only saw them for about 10 seconds as we passed them by in the hall.  But that's Kyle's way.  He has fun with me by pretending that he's not.  His smiles give him away.  He's a little wiseguy.  I don't know where he gets it from.  I think I'll blame my own dad. 

So, yes, I suppose he did enjoy the "extended" routine, and hanging out with dear old Dad.  Yet, it was no secret that he missed his mother, and when she came home last night, he jumped around with so much reckless excitement that he accidentally whacked his chin on the edge of his crib.  He's okay, though, as the injury wasn't too severe.  I'm just glad that didn't happen under my watch.

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