A few years ago, when I had only one son, I briefly wrote a parenting column that some people liked. Of course, no one liked it more than me. That's not ego talking, that's just how I felt about it. I loved being a dad, and I loved laughing at the comedy as a 2-year-old controlled my life.
Well, now I've got three of those creatures controlling my house, and the comedy - and agony - are magnified. I want to write again. I've got the time. And I've got plenty of material. Thus is born, 'Dad Times Three.'
I was inspired to do this after taking my youngest son, 2 1/2-year-old Colin, to a weekly playground session yesterday. It was my first time taking him; normally my wife brings him.
After dropping him off to play with the other kids, the parents gather in a separate room for a group session on parenting. By "parents," I mean moms ... 14 moms, and me. I stayed mostly quiet and let the facilitator and the moms talk - including a few jabs at husbands and dads, which I chose not to respond to - but I left the session mentally exhausted. Why? Because parenting is a freakin' crazy job!!!
We spent more than an hour discussing the sensory trigger points, both positive and negative, for adults and children. Do they suck on the buttons of their shirt? Do they pick their noses? Do they struggle to sit still? Do they fidget with their hair? Do they like to put cold things on their face? Do they run and bang into walls ... and on and on and on. The lesson is to recognize your child's sensory triggers, be responsive to them and help navigate them.
I thought, 'Are you kidding me?' I don't have time to recognize their triggers; I'm too busy yelling at them to stop doing all those damn, annoying things ... Which is right about the time I realized (for the 10,000th time) how difficult this job is. Because you can never stop it. To do it well, you have to do it all the time. Every day. Every minute they're awake. And a few extra minutes when they're asleep.
It's exhausting. It's humbling. And I hope to get better at it. Times three.
In every post, I will welcome comments, feedback, jeers or advice. Feel free to mock me. Feel free to tell your own stories. Talk to you soon.