Saturday, 17 December 2011

When the Training Wheels Come Off

Did I mention that my kids tag-team me?  Yeah, they do.  Somehow a three-year-old, the Little Dude, and an eight-month-old, Squeaker, have come to a conspiratorial arrangement where they pool their talents to defeat a stronger foe.

I must admit I once had low opinions of children, something like a sack of potatoes with dribble ducts was about as much credit as I would extend them. But then Athena bore me one, a baffling trick of uterine evacuation that she repeated to yet more astonishment.  These little people have smarts in spades.  Not a day has passed that I haven't shaken my head at my naivete. Combining two of them more than doubles their power, like a pack of prowling wolves, the sum is much greater than its parts.

But enough armchair anthropology.

The daily cycle
This morning started around 12:30am.  I was going to bed.  First mistake of the day, and it was still really yesterday.

An hour later the Little Dude burst in to the room to announce he needed to go to the toilet.  Ever grateful for the update, I mumbled something I may have meant at the time and rolled back over.

A short while later he burst in again whimpering about his drink bottle being empty. Upon interrogation he didn't know where it was so I filled a cup for him to drink from.  Back to bed.

On the verge of sweet, sweet slumber the door burst open again. "I found my water bottle!" Aargh!

The Little Dude had done his part.  Tag-in to Squeaker.

The hour hand was still struggling past the five and Squeaker decided it was time for Sleepy Dad to start the day.  The Little Dude slept-in soundly to make up for his nighttime escapades.  He needed  energy for later battles. Yup, Sleepy Dad had been sucker punched with the oldest 1-2 combo in their playbook.

I'll spare you the minutiae of the two-hundred years it took to get to 4pm...suffice it to say the clock kept ticking and my heart kept beating, however irregularly, thanks to multiple double-shot espressos.

But the day was to turn around spectacularly.

I took the kids to the park.  I was sure they were moving in for the kill and I wanted witnesses, perhaps a Samaritan to save me the indignity of being topped by an infant.  I also wanted people available to call paramedics. I was coming down from the caffeine and was sure to be found laying foetal, shaking on the grass being mauled by my own offspring.

We had taken the training wheels off the Little Dude's bike.  I wasn't so sure this was a good idea but after about three minutes of coaching, he was away.  The baby eagle had leaped from the nest and was soaring, quite ungracefully at first but soaring nonetheless, off to the horizon.

And he was exhilarated!

Burning rubber, now apologise to the mayor
As a rule, I try not to feel pride, I am not so sure it is a good piece of  baggage to lug around. But this time I couldn't help it.  Seeing the unbridled joy in my boy's face as he raced untethered along the path forced the primal emotion past the roadblocks of civility. I was exhilarated too.

And within a few minutes he also learnt to stand-start unassisted, and he did his first skid, laying rubber on the council's otherwise pristine path.

Today is why being a stay-at-home dad is the best job in the world.  My previous life tracked a plateau, a flatlining electrocardiogram; careful planning and sensible decisions ensured a mundane and secure existence.  But now I get to ride the bipolar pendulum of sobering lows and intoxicating highs, vicariously reliving all of childhood's big achievements no matter how small they may seem to any capable adult.

Tomorrow will most likely start off the same, I fear, but who knows how alive I will feel by the end of the day.

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1 comment:

  1. Never mind the bike riding; what about the drawing?

    And a little bit of pride never hurt. It's like a socially acceptable form of ego by proxy.

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