22 August 2013

Warning: May Be Hazardous To Your Health

Our home is a house of sickness. Of plague. Enter at your own risk.

The interesting thing (one of many) about being a parent is how things seem endless. Having kids is weird. On one hand, time is flying by and your baby—who was just born—is suddenly entering kindergarten and getting ready to go off to college. But at the same time, bizarrely, many things seem to stretch on for so long you think they will never end.

I used to live in New York and I remember being in subway stations very late (or very early depending on your point of view) and waiting a very long time sometimes for a train to arrive. And there was a part of me that always thought, I’m going to be here forever. This train is literally never going to come. I am stuck here now. Forever.

That’s kind of what it’s like to be a parent.

Sleep, for instance. It’s easy to believe you will never again get a proper amount of sleep. Ever. That you will just continue along on your days, in an ongoing haze of sleepiness, never quite knowing if you’re awake or if you’re dreaming. It’s like Inception, only the really boring version without any ceiling acrobatics or snowbound hideouts.

And now illness. Pestilence, etc. For the last several weeks, at any given moment, at least one member of our collective has been down for the count with some form of fever or wheezing or sneezing or whatever the ailment du jour happens to be.

And it’s a vicious cycle, it just keeps going. The kids get well and the parents go down. Parents start to feel like they’re on the mend and the Doozer starts complaining of an earache. A stomachache. Little Brother has a coughing fit at 3 in the morning and then he’s wide awake and wants to play.

Stop it.

I’m coughing as I type this. Like I’m some Romantic poet dying of consumption as he composes these final lines. Hopefully they’re worth it. We’ll see.

Kids get sick. It’s a thing you hear about, something you just kind of know. But like so many other things, you can’t really comprehend it until you’re in it. I mean, they get sick. Like crazy. And then they make you sick. Because they’re so thoughtful. It really is the gift that keeps on giving. And the Doozer hasn’t even started kindergarten yet.

We’re screwed. We’re just going to be sick in some form for another decade. I’m going to have to start wearing one of those medical masks. Like Michael Jackson. We all thought he was crazy, but apparently he was on to something there.

15 August 2013

The Big 0-5

Ed. note: This post was initially drafted well over a week ago, so all references to childs age are in the future tense, which is no longer accurate. Birthday prep was so time-consuming that it prevented the author from completing this essay in a reasonable amount of time. So instead of turning 5, the authors son is now actually 5 years o--oh my god, how did that happen?

Dear Son,

I’m not great at dispensing advice. I’m usually somebody who’s seeking advice from other people. But now that I’m a dad and you’re in the picture, I think I’m going to have to step up my advice game. So here’s something that might not make sense now, but will someday:

Time is not your friend.

It’s true. It’s not. It’s more of an adversary. If you’re Spider-Man, time is the Green Goblin. If you’re Luke Skywalker, time is Darth Vader. Right? Time is not your friend. In fact, it’s really one truly evil mofo.

The occasion for this bolt of wisdom is your coming birthday. You’re turning 5. But you know that already. You’ve been counting down the days. I’m not sure if you’re so much excited about getting older, or the fact that you’re having a party on that day. Probably the latter. And it reminds me of a line of dialogue from one of my favorite movies. You don’t know it.

“I have glimpsed our future and all I can say is, go back.”

You don’t get this reference now. But maybe someday you will. Maybe we will share a love of Cameron Crowe movies. I mean, I already got you into Star Wars and Elvis Costello and The Muppet Show. Cameron Crowe and Wes Anderson movies can’t be too far behind.

But that’s not for a while yet. I don’t know why I want you to be old enough to watch that stuff. Because I mostly don’t want you to be any older than you are right now this very second. It’s too much fun right now. And I’m already nostalgic for these days. I don’t want them to be a distant memory. I want them to just continue and not to end.

Here are just a few reasons why right now is such a great time.

Reading lessons. Dance parties. Music in the car. Kinda, sorta helping in the yard. Brother baths. Tickling. Piggyback rides. Milk-drinking contests. Making up words. Playing tag. Your epic joy when playing tag, perhaps the silliest game anyone ever invented. “I’m running in slow motion.”

That’s an inside joke. We have inside jokes. And you don’t even know what an inside joke is. You can’t beat that.

Sure, you’re not always a barrel of monkeys. I’m not going to lie to you. But for the most part, you kind of are. Not so much when it’s 6 a.m. or when your nose is hemorrhaging at 2 in the morning. But otherwise. You’re kind of more fun than I ever could’ve imagined you to be. There’s pretty much no way to fully convey to you or anyone else what it’s like to hang out with you these days. It’s just awesome.

Happy birthday, Doozer.

Your Dad