Archive for November, 2012


I’m a pretty moderate guy. I don’t get mad much. I don’t yell. I don’t get into many arguments. I do like a good gripe from time to time. But damn if Joshua can’t drive me up the wall.

You’ve probably seen a frazzled parent losing their cool with a child that has not yet been issued any fucks to give. And you’ve likely shaken your head at the parent who can’t seem to keep it together. There are some times where that parent probably is kind of an asshole. Some people just don’t handle things well. But much more likely is that this is parent who has been driven to the brink by a small maniac.

Here’s what’s tricky to understand unless you spend really extended lengths of time with a small child: it’s not the big things they do that are maddening. A child that spills something or breaks something or what have you isn’t what will drive you over the edge. Those are accidents and more often than not they happen because your child has not yet figured out how something works. Adults know that milk will pour out of a glass that is tipped on its side, but kids won’t until they’ve done it once. More malicious acts like coloring on the wall or anything else similarly purposeful from a child aren’t that bad, either. They’re events that may make you mad, but you can work with that. It happened and you can scold and educate and move on.

What gets a parent are the small, simple requests that are met with an absolute steel wall of inattention. When you’ve asked a child for the 10th time to please come over so you can put their shoes on, or asked them to please sit on the potty for the 15th time, you’ll start to feel your armor begin to crack. It’s intensely frustrating. These are things that should be small. Needful moments dealt with immediately and left behind. But children make them both incessant and unending. Putting shoes on suddenly takes 15 minutes. Climbing into the stroller takes five. Going potty takes 10 minutes for the kid to get on and then another 10 of sitting there while he keeps announcing “I’m not finished yet.” Oh sure, you can try to force the matter. How much do you enjoy making children cry? I didn’t think so.

Stack enough of these banal moments together and it’s like water torture. The drips just keep boring into your forehead. On a long enough timeline, anyone will snap.

What is most maddening is that you are typically trying to accomplish something to specifically comply with your child’s wishes. When Joshua announces he wants to go outside, I grab some shoes and tell him that we can put them on and go outside. You’d think he’d be thrilled. “I get to do what I asked to do!” NOPE.

What’s that little guy? You want to go pee-pee? Alright! Let’s go upstairs and use the potty. NUH-UH.

You want to take a ride in the stroller? Let’s climb on up in that sucker and go for a ride. I THINK NOT.

Toddlers will ask do the things you then tell them they can do while they are intently in the process of avoiding doing those exact things. Is that sentence confusing? Exactly.

“Joshua, do you need to go pee-pee?”


“Then why don’t you want to go to the potty to go pee-pee?”

“Because I don’t.”

“But you have to go pee-pee?”


“Do you want to go to the potty?”


“Okay, buddy, let’s go.”

“I don’t want to go.”

“You said you want to go to the potty, though? Why don’t you want to go?

“Because I don’t. I have to go pee-pee.”





This is the thing everyone knows that toddlers do. They ask “Why?”

It’s one of the things that cartoons and sitcoms love to show little kids doing that is actually a real thing that happens. Little kids love to ask “Why?” Joshua started doing it a few months back. I don’t think he had any idea what he was asking when he started, and frankly I’m not entirely sure he does now either. But he does know that it is a question that gets a response.

Though, I think that’s maybe too simple an explanation, because it implies there are questions that he asks that are ignored, which isn’t the case. It might be that each time he asks, he tends to get a different answer, despite the fact that the question is always the same. Whatever the reason, he keeps asking away.

Now, in a cartoon or sitcom, the child will ask this until the parent is driven mad. They’ll blow up and stop answering and theĀ mischievousĀ child grins because of course this is what they were after all along. But not in our house.

In this house, Joshua gets an answer every time, no matter what. That’s our job. His is to ask. Ours is to answer. What does it say to the little man if his first and most trusted source of information is unwilling to engage? Do I want to teach him, however subconsciously, that there is a limit to his curiosity and, by extension, maybe even his ambitions? No, I’d rather teach him that if he wants information we are here to explore with him.

It’s true that sometimes I get dead-ended, though:

“What happened?”

“He fell.”


“He tripped.”


“He probably wasn’t looking where he was going.”

“He’s hurt?”

“Yeah. Probably.”


“He fell.”




“Umm. I think it has to do with the rotation of the Earth, maybe? And magnetic fields? Basically it pulls everyone to the ground.”


That’s when “Because Science” is about the best I can come up with. Liberal arts degree! *jazzhands*

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Being relaxed about a pregnancy probably shouldn’t be the kind of thing to feel guilty about.

We’re about halfway through this second pregnancy and it occupies a relatively small portion of my mental RAM. I of course think about the baby when I see Janelle, and when I get a chance to feel little kicks, and when we have Joshua try and talk to the belly (always “Hi baby. What are you doing in there baby!” because he heard me say that once) and when it occurs to me that there’s some item we’ll need to purchase or plan for once the baby has arrived. But relative to Joshua’s time in the womb, this isn’t really much on the Richter scale.

Everything with Joshua has gone pretty well. So far no major illnesses or injuries. We get by with almost no TV or electronics these days. He eats all the same food we eat and eats a lot of it. Books are probably his favorite toys. He likes being around other people. He does pretty well and that suggests to me that at best we’re doing a good job with him and at worst we’re managing to not screw up the path he’s already on.

As a result, I think it’s safe to say we’re feeling pretty comfortable as we get closer to having our second child. Sure, daycare will be even more expensive than it already is, but at this point the impending infant isn’t a terrifyingly fragile little creature that there is a real chance I will scar for life. It’s a little kid that can’t run away from you, weighs much less than 35 pounds, doesn’t poop (not really, not relatively) and has to do everything you say. It sounds pretty awesome. Except for the part about less sleep for a couple months. That’s still a bummer.

Janelle and I can’t really shake the feeling though that we’re trading an easy infancy for a disconnected pregnancy. I don’t think there’s any question that we’ll be pretty attached to the squidgy baby when it arrives, but we just don’t have a lot of time to sit and ponder this baby like we did with Joshua and as senseless as that may be it feels like the baby is getting shortchanged.