Archive for the ‘parenthood’ Category

it’s not easy

January 28, 2008

In the middle of naptime he screams. One knee is twisted between two crib rails, driving him to panic. Must’ve been playing instead of sleeping.

As my wife disentangles him, she gets a whiff of another stealth activity. He is surrounded by corroborating evidence: a smear across his chest, clawmarks on his sheet, makeup applied to the face of his stuffed cow. What arrived in his diaper is now everywhere.

I am summoned. Together we adults impress upon our child the seriousness of this infraction. Do not play with poopy. Do not even touch it. We strip him of his clothes and make a pile of blankets, sheets and Mr. Cow. (more…)


snow rebellion

January 20, 2008

Fluffy, quiet, all afternoon the flakes fell gently. He’d wanted to walk among them, to breathe in the world’s white transfiguration. By the time I organized myself, however, he’d already moved on.

“I want to play trains,” he intoned.

“Come on, it’s snow!” I coaxed. “Let’s get your boots on. We’ll have a great time.”

Cornered, his eyes sunk, lower lip retracted. “I want to play trains.” (more…)

through his eyes

January 5, 2008

I wish I could see life through my son’s eyes.

In his infancy we placed him on a colorful playmat with overhead toys. I shoved my face inside to feel what it was like.

I’ve positioned my head at his level in the carseat to figure out how much he sees as we drive (more than I expected). I’ve checked the view of a ceiling fan from the floor below (a steady circular motion, not the swoop-swoop-swooping oval from adult height). I’ve crouched to look straight up into the lighted mobile above his swing (brighter, more colorful than apparent from anywhere but the seat).

I’ve even used the excuse of “retrieving my son” to crawl through the multi-storied plastic gym at Chick-Fil-A (hey, they didn’t have those things when I grew up). (more…)

jumping Jesus

December 15, 2007

Things got a little weird when we unpacked our nativity scene.

Two and a half years old, our oldest showed little response as we unwrapped Mary and Joseph. But when baby Jesus emerged, his entire face brightened: “Baby Jesus. Baby Jesus!”  He snatched the figurine and cradled it in both palms, scrutinizing. So this was the Jesus person he’d heard so much about. I wondered what he was thinking, how this image of an infant Christ was reshaping earlier impressions.

Within minutes he stood by the couch, raising and lowering the figurine in quick jerks. “Baby Jesus jumping. Baby Jesus jumping on the couch!”  Our nativity had transformed into an action figure playset. (more…)

unspoken rules

October 20, 2007

He was so curious about our 3D tic-tac-toe set, I figured why not. How complicated is tic-tac-toe?


Forget strategy; forget even the concept of winning. As we played, my son gave me a step-by-step education on the numerous possibilities for invalidating a game.

It turns out board games require a host of principles we take for granted: (more…)

true obedience

August 6, 2007

Jesus and Peter walked on water. The Israelites crossed the Red Sea on dry ground. Neil Armstrong planted his bootprints on the moon.

Next to those, the most astounding footsteps I know were just three or four in number, and took place in my mother’s kitchen.

My son – compulsive, train-obsessed two-year-old boy – was crouched over the toy train track Grannie had set for him in a spare nook of kitchen floor. It was time to go. Knowing his propensity for emotional explosion, I’d issued a five-minute warning, then a two-minute warning … not that he had any such grasp of time, only to ready him for imminent disappointment.

Finally, time was up. “Okay now, let’s go,” I said. “Come put on your shoes.”  Expecting the customary collapse and outburst, I was shifting position to lift him off the floor. (more…)