….and hello to something much, much more vexing. Readers, Our youngest turns three today. He’s a quirky, often hilarious little dude who is, I think- clever beyond his years.
His entrance into this world was a brilliant foreshadow of things to come. His birth was one of ‘exuberance’ …for lack of a better word. I don’t remember the exact times, since it doesn’t matter how many times you go through it, part of daddy’s job is ‘panic’ and things have a tendency to blend all together.
When his due date was getting close, we made the appropriate plans, packed the appropriate bags, and I kept change for the toll booth we’d need to go through on hand at all times. We’d done it before, we were veterans. We had this. As an added challenge, we had a three year old to deal with this time. We made arrangements with various family members to watch him while everything went down. In the event that we had to take him, we packed stuff for him too. I’m telling you, we had our bases covered.
Then it happened. We get the ‘all systems go’ sign and load up the car for the 30 minute trip to the hospital. (yeah. that’s the closest one.) No family is immediately available to hang out with The Narrator. He’s coming with us. My family, who was closest- would meet us there to watch him and await the arrival of his little brother.
We got to the hospital, and in very, very short order the doctor says something like “Oh. He’s on his way out.” Mini-Me wasn’t wasting any time. My poor wife wasn’t even able to be given sweet, sweet drugs and had to endure the whole process as naturally as it comes.
I took The Narrator to the waiting room in the maternity ward, which was just down the hall, slapped some cartoons on the TV…and realized he’d be all by himself. My family hadn’t arrived yet. I asked a nurse to keep an eye on him while I ran back to deal with his screaming mother, but she told me they were busy. She’d check on him when she could, but it wasn’t going to be often. At that point, another man in the waiting room said he’d watch him for me. I had no choice. The maternity ward is basically on lockdown, so I was pretty sure it was going to be okay. My sister was bearing down on the hospital at that moment, and my wife was bearing down on the baby who was doing everything he could to GTFO right now. I left The Narrator in the (hopefully) capable hands of a perfect stranger, and ran back down the hall to ‘the scene.’
THANKFULLY, my sister arrived less than ten minutes later and hung out with The Narrator while things went down.
Mini-Me arrived before my parents, or my in-laws could make it to the hospital. Within the space of three hours and forty five minutes, we went from “It’s time to go!” to “Here’s baby!”
He’s been an adventure ever since. And now that he’s three, and becoming more aware of the world around him and much more capable of articulating what he wants and needs, things are so much more fun. The energy with which he entered our world has not subsided either. He’s constantly on the go. Climbing, running, jumping, screaming, playing…he doesn’t stop. His little heartbeat feels something like a box fan at times, and I’m sure things won’t slow down from here.
You see, everyone talks about the ‘terrible twos’ but fails to mention what three brings. I’ve heard this period referred to as the ‘tumultuous threes’ or, more accurately the ‘f*ck you threes.’ The youngsters’ opinions become more formulated, and they’re more vocal about them. The Narrator, who has always been a pretty even-tempered kid, had a rough time at three, and as a result, we did too. If he had difficulty, I can only imagine what his more high-energy little brother will bring to the table.
It doesn’t matter though. As easy, hard, frustrating, or exhausting as it may be…I wouldn’t miss it for anything. He and his brother are major parts of what’s kept me grounded while bouncing between jobs and scrimping between paychecks. They’ve given me energy when I get home from long hours at contracting jobs and miserable hours at the IT work, and they give me a reason to get up and do it all again tomorrow while I wait for that holy grail of a job (that shouldn’t be too far away now…stay tuned!)
It might sound ridiculous, but while I was in the academy we went through some pretty serious physical training. No matter how hard it got, no matter how miserable some pissed-off drill instructor tried to make things for us, my mind retreated to a happy place with two little boys who were waiting for me to come home. Seven mile runs at night through the back streets of the city, trying to keep pace with the instructor and several of the faster members of my platoon were made easier as I thought about the kids.
And today, when I come home, we celebrate the smallest of them turning three. We’ll do our ritual pumpkin picking, pizza dinner, cake and presents. There will be the usual bickering between the two kids, and the inevitable temper tantrum over something silly that will last a moment or two before everyone is back to laughter.
This is what I look forward to.
This is parenting.
This is where I want to be.