Have you ever put your hand in the blender while winning the lotto? Or maybe on your wedding day, decide this is the best time to get a colonoscopy? You may ask where I am going with this and I appreciate the curiosity. These are the best examples of what it is like to be Graham’s dad. And in case you are wondering, Graham is my three-year-old son. He is the love of my life, along with the reason I am balding and going gray. He is a mix of Cupid and Chucky, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, he is the Ying and the Yang.
Let’s start off with my little Cupid. I think Cupid is a great comparison because this kid has so much love in his heart. I have honestly never seen a child of his age show so much empathy and love for the people around him, both young and old. After my back surgery, I saw the concern on his face when he first laid his big brown eyes on Daddy’s “boo-boo” and I watched him tiptoe around me to ensure he didn’t hurt me. I have seen him cry while watching cartoons because one of the characters got hurt. Not to mention every day at daycare he feels the need to hug everyone in his class upon his arrival and if ever he comes across a child crying, he is always the first to console. Usually with a toy and a kiss. I wish I could say he learned this behavior from yours truly, but that is as believable as a 3 am tweet from Donald. Of course, he gets his compassionate demeanor from his mother. The woman who puts her family’s happiness above her own, the one who will have chicken soup on the stove at the first sign of a cough and even more importantly, the mother who manages to raise two hyperactive and crazy toddlers. The older child is the person that is crafting this word jumble you are reading. I can confidently say that Graham will have daddy’s sense of humor and mommy’s oversized heart. If that happens I am perfectly fine with it. I just hope he is mentally and emotionally prepared to take on a massive amount of heckling from friends, family and classmates for having his old man’s humor. Like his father, Graham’s sense of humor will be ahead of its time and only a select few will appreciate the avant-garde comedy. Ok, I think we have had enough of me trying to get brownie points with his wife, not to mention me trying to convince myself I possess any sort of humor, whether it be a sense or otherwise. I will spare you the agony of reading any more about this and do us both a favor and move on.
Let’s get back to our little bite-size protagonist of this story. Actually, he has now become the antagonist. When I think about the little man who spends the other half of his time doing a Chucky impersonation, I picture the cartoon character the Tasmanian Devil running a million miles a minute and creating a trail of destruction in the wake of his path. If Donald Trump (yes two Trump references in one post) is going to take credit for inventing the phrase “prime the pump”, then it is fair to say Graham was the life force behind the proverb “bull in a China shop.” While in his presence, I often look around the living room and envision a glass picture frame hurling through the air, only to come to a shattering halt against the undeserving high-definition LCD screen of the TV or my laptop being spiked like a football after a Gronk touchdown. I also imagine trying to explain the Child Protective Services on how Graham found my car keys, started the car and took it for an evening stroll into the neighbor’s backyard. Not to mention the betting odds of when and why Graham will take his first trip to the emergency room. I have the over/under set at three years old and 117 days and 2:1odds of the why being from a fall from the kitchen counter top and 4:1 odds on the injury being from him attempting a backflip off the toilet into the bathtub. I know at this moment you are probably questioning my skills as a father and more importantly how can you get a piece of the action.
I am sure there are moments for every parent who has ever been in possession of a toddler where the only words to come out of their mouth are “No!”, “Stop!” or their name. Sometimes I feel that if I say “No! one more time Beetlejuice will come alive. I think that’s how it works, right? I remember a piece of advice the doctor gave us; set up your house so you don’t have to tell your child no. Either Graham’s pediatrician has never had a kid or she just enjoys screwing with people, but this advice is about as useful as trying to stop your pregnancy with Plan B after giving birth to your child. I am confident when I say I could put Graham in a room with four walls and nothing else and he would somehow find an electrical outlet with a fork nearby.
So, you have seen the light and the dark, the sun and the rain, the angel and little devil that is Graham. I ask myself what if Graham was just the perfect little angel without the devil, would that be the ideal situation? Well, I can tell you 100% certainty that a full-time Chucky would be a nightmare, but honestly, I don’t think I would change him one bit. First, he isn’t just the good of Laura and me, he is the whole enchilada. If you don’t believe me just look at those insane eyebrows of his. If that is not proof he is my son, I don’t know what is. Lucky for him they are blonde. So along with his big heart, we must deal with the hyperactivity and impatience he gets from his father and the DNA responsible for stubbornness he inherited from his mother. See the thing is I love the not so lovable parts that make up our son. Because behind most of what makes toddlers so tough to deal with is just their curiosity and love. Just like anyone, who wants to hear the word “no”? No just means that the fun must end. When he throws a fit because it’s bed time it doesn’t mean he is trying to be an a-hole, at least not this time, it means I want to spend 10 more minutes with my mommy and daddy. When he gets in trouble for throwing mama’s iPhone down the stairs he isn’t trying to break it, he is curious to see if it will turn into a slinky. And when he kicks daddy in the special place that was responsible for creating him, he isn’t trying to inflict pain and nausea, he is just curious to see if daddy’s balls will fly as far as the soccer ball does when he kicks it. I guess what I am trying to say is that I need to stop referring to his qualities as good or bad and realize that all of his qualities are good because they are what makes him the wonderful child that I could not physically love anymore. The next time your toddler is about to get on your last nerve, give him a hug, thank him/her for being such a wonderful child and then pour yourself a stiff drink because sometimes love isn’t enough to make it any easier.