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Lost Boy

We lost the Doodle yesterday.  So.  That was new.

He likes to push things.  His changing station, shopping carts, his stroller-- pretty much anything he sees us pushing.  He loves going to Trader Joe's because he gets to push one of their mini-carts, which is sized perfectly for him.  When we're at other places like Costco, he pushes the cart while I steer and make sure he doesn't rack up a giant bill in shattered LCD screens and personal injury lawsuits.

The Issaquah Salmon Days festival is enormous and packed with awesome, especially for kids.  There's a big area full of free stuff for kids to do-- a train ride, pony rides, dog show, lots of arts and crafts, inflatable slides and bouncy houses, etc-- the best kids' area I've seen at any local event.  We made the cardinal error of going directly to the festival from our morning errands, skipping the Doodle's nap.  That's roughly equivalent to cashing in our savings and betting it all on a hard six.  Bad idea.  It wasn't long before our adorable baby Jekyll turned into toddler Hyde.  Once the Doodle rams into that cranky iceberg, the ship's going down no matter how fast we try to bail water.

As we strolled through the kid's area, he got cranky and wanted to get out of the stroller and push.  Okay, we thought, that's an easy fix.  Out he came, and he was walking right in front of me, "pushing" the stroller while I steered.  At that distance he was out of my direct sight unless I looked down, but he was right in front of me and if he stopped I was moving slowly enough that I wouldn't trample him.  So we walked for a bit, looking at all the craft booths and vendors and attractions.  We got to the end of a row and stopped to decide which way to go.  We decided to go left, and then I looked down and the Doodle was gone.  "Where's the Doodle?" I asked, looking around.  My wife didn't see him either.  He was gone.  He was walking between my legs and the stroller a minute ago, and now he was just... gone.

My wife immediately went into the headspace of "He's been taken."  I'm not sure there was a rational thought process-- adrenaline and hormones and fear kicked in and sent her emotions into overdrive.  She didn't know where her boy was, and that sudden loss pressed in on her from all sides.  In that moment she couldn't even remember what the Doodle was wearing.  Loss.  Fear.  Find my child!

I went somewhere different.  I knew he had just wandered off.  He had been right in front of me a minute before.  Logically he couldn't have gotten very far, and it was just a matter of figuring out what could have drawn him away.  I didn't see him in any of the nearby booths, and if he was in one of them he'd be found quickly enough.  So I looked farther afield.  I didn't see him by the playground in a quick scan, and I didn't think he had enough time to actually get to any of the play structures there.  So not that way, then.  There was a big field back the way we had come, so I turned that way, thinking maybe he went to look at the ponies.  Nope.  Where else?

And that's when I saw him, eagerly running oward the zorbs, chasing after them as they rolled downfield.  I caught up to him as he stood in their path, oblivious to their weight and momentum.  All he saw were giant balls that he wanted to play with.  As I snatched him up into my arms, he wriggled and cried that he wanted to roll the balls.  I couldn't blame him.  Zorbs are cool.

By the time I brought him back to my wife, a sympathetic woman had seen her distress and dragooned the Issaquah football team into searching  for our son.  I didn't have the chance to thank her, or the team, for rallying on our behalf.  Later that night, my wife was still a little shellshocked and haunted by visions of becoming a shell of a woman, never getting over the loss of her child.

I hope never to go through an experience like that again, but given the Doodle's strong-willed and inquisitive nature I rather expect this is just the first scare of many.  But I'd be lying if I didn't admit I was gratified by how I reacted, keeping my cool and attacking the problem swiftly and methodically, while my heart machine-gunned in my chest.  I feel like I've been tested, that life has taken my measure and did not find me wanting.

Level up!  You are now a level 2 dad.  Next time, keep your damn eye on the kid.
Comments (6) | last by Phil, Oct 8, 4:54 PM

I'm Baaaa-ack!

At first there was the chaos of a new baby.  Then the comment system broke, and in trying to fix it I managed to break just about everything.  So I wound up taking an unplanned extended sabbatical from blogging. This week I finally got around to fixing the problem by installing everything from scratch.  A few details are still being ironed out, and I'll probably still make a few cosmetic changes, but at least everything works again.  So for those of you who are still here after two years of silence, let's get this baby going again!

For starters, here's an update on the little guy I'm holding in my previous post.

P1010779.JPG

That's the Doodle.  He's 22 months old now, and it's hard to imagine getting luckier in the baby lottery.  He sleeps well, he eats everything (Barbecue pork ribs?  Check.  Tom Kha Gai soup [two stars]?  Check.  Asks for more vegetables?  Check!), his memory and language development constantly astound me, and he's so cute it's a miracle I haven't gobbled him up.  I expect he'll feature more than occasionally in the blog from now on, because I'm an unabashedly proud papa.

Fatherhood has surprised me.  Not the fatigue or reduction of free time, I expected those.  I just didn't expect how much I'd change.  The Doodle makes me want to be a better person.  The best person I can be, really.  An example for him.  My priorities have shifted.  My perspective has changed.  It's like I stepped sideways into a world that's always existed right alongside me but which I was never able to see.

And everyone tells me it just gets better.

Comments (3) | last by wholesale nfl broncos jerseys, May 11, 6:09 PM

Surviving

Right about now is when you'd usually come to Static Zombie and find a witty, insightful post about the new season of Survivor.  Something about the new twist this season and Mark Burnett's ongoing deal with the Devil.

Sorry to disappoint.

The new season's begun, but I haven't had a chance to watch it yet.  Worse, I'm not really sure when I'll get there.  That's because I'm engaged in an entirely different season of Survivor.  No immunities, but plenty of challenges.  Meals are made up of whatever can be scrounged up.  Sleep is difficult, interrupted by the hungry wailing of local fauna.  It's Survivor: Parenthood.  And here's the most adorable immunity idol you'll ever see:

baby2.pngThis season will run much longer than 39 days, but it's already the best season ever. 

 

Comments (10) | last by wholesale nfl jerseys, May 10, 10:10 PM

My wife and I are expecting a baby in early September.

We are, of course, very excited.  Tinged with a whiff of terror about losing our independence.  You know that crazy, wide-eyed look a horse gets when Something Terrible is coming and it desperately pulls at its tether to run to safety, towards freedom?  All completely normal.

She wants to make sure the child gets outdoors, plays sports, socializes with other kids.  I want to make sure the child understands that brick and lumber are the most important things in the early game, that no problem is so horrible that it can't be solved by reversing the polarity of the neutron flow, that good knife skills are more important than good penmanship, and that the ancient wizards were absolutely correct: words have power.  She wants to limit the child's screen time; I plan to lull the child to sleep with the gentle vibration of the 360 controller's rumble.

We're both agreed that the child will learn to eat what we put in front of it.  Soda will not be part of the child's normal diet.  The child will learn to save money at a young age.  Barbie and Bratz are forbidden, but bring on the Lego.  TV shows that are just extended commercials for toys are off limits (unless the show or toy is really cool).  Bedtime might be extended to the end of the next chapter.  Daddy's board games are not to be touched without permission.  Even if my wife and I disagree, we will present a unified front to the child.  Except just this once-- but don't tell mommy.  Our child will be the first of its friends to have a computer, but the last to get a cell phone.  We will perpetuate the white lies that bring joy to childhood-- the Tooth Fairy and her ilk-- but will otherwise tell our child the truth.  We will encourage our child to ask questions and find answers.

We will support our child, but not stifle it.  We will raise a child we can trust, and we will trust it.  We will set good examples for our child, and in so doing become better people, so that our child will be a good person.  We will love our child, and it will know it is loved, always.

But first, there will be poop.  Lots and lots of poop.

Comments (15) | last by Bruce, Apr 13, 10:10 AM

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