It’s Father’s Day month! The first post is here!
This first post comes courtesy of Dad vs The Kids who has a seriously funny Twitter account (@dadvsthekids) and a great new blog at http://www.dadvsthekids.com/ – go check him out!
I love this post and he is right, it does ALWAYS start off with the crayons……
In the beginning, Mrs DvK would coddle and hold our kids tightly. I, on the other hand, would count down the days until their neck was strong enough for me to throw the kids into the air and catch them like all the other ‘cool Dad’s’ did on the TV. The women would scream in horror. The men would secretly hi-five me for my reckless abandon. Good times.
This would be my downfall. The following experiences of calculated mischief and impossible mayhem can only serve as a warning to all Dads who think its ok to close your eyes for 5 minutes when you’re entrusted to watch your own children.
It starts off with the crayons. ALWAYS with the crayons. You didn’t buy them, but you accept them, not realising the full impact of what will eventually happen. Soon enough, you walk past a once pristine cream wall in your living room to find a piece of blue and orange wax wall art you don’t remember commissioning. And the tiny culprit nowhere in sight. Banksy?
The taste for wanton destruction escalates as your precious bundle of joy reaches each milestone of curiosity and creativity in their development.
My attempts to maintain my place as ‘cool Dad’ means, inevitably, I am the complicit accomplice in their misdemeanours, often hiding the evidence before Mrs DvK comes home.
As I fish out yet another brand new loo roll from the toilet, or wipe up urine and other unspeakable substances from every room in the house (except the bathroom), I give thanks to shows like CSI and Dexter for teaching me the finer points of crime clean-up.
One occasion finds me asleep AT THE DINING TABLE. I only wanted to rest for a few minutes, I swear. Seizing a rare moment of toddler independence, my two boys (about 2yrs & 3yrs old at the time) use this opportunity to find out what our large square cushions are made of.
You’ll recognise the moment when it happens to you. I jolt myself awake. Disoriented, I wonder where I am and why my usually noisy kids are unusually quiet.
Then I see the carnage.
Thousands of tiny polystyrene balls cover our living room floor like a beautiful, white, winter wonderland. Except with two small figures standing in the middle of it, one with the dustpan and the other with a brush, both working together to sweep up all the evidence to dispose of it in the kitchen bin. Busted.
In retrospect, that was the first time they worked together as a team. Brilliant, they love each other!
That was also the first time I remember regretting giving my eldest son a sibling-sidekick. Little gits.
THE ADVENTURER AND THE WRESTLER
These days my boys, now 7 and 9, are seasoned players of ‘The Floor is Lava’, leaping from dining table to sofa to coffee table with the enviable flexibility of a Parkour athlete.
In the early stages of parenthood, the house was baby-proofed, so my ‘cool Dad’ instinct is to leave them to their own devices and discover things on their own. It’s ok Mrs DvK – you go out and run those errands. I GOT THIS. What’s the worst that could happen?
Our first trip to A&E occurred when the youngest (again, probably 2yrs old at the time) somehow manages to traverse a flight of stairs, get into the master bedroom and attempt to climb up our giant chest-of-drawers.
Oh, did I not mention the enormous widescreen TV that was on top? Everything. EVERYTHING toppled over on top of him, the TV missing him by inches.
I’ll never forget the crashing noise and the mythical superhuman strength I suddenly possessed allowing me to flip the chest-of-drawers off of him in one desperate, determined motion.
Despite being stunned for a few seconds, to this day I cannot explain how he emerged from the wreckage without so much as a scratch or broken bone.
The years go by, and the kids get bigger. And rougher. We get complacent, because dammit, for the 100th time, if you fall out of that tree and break your legs DON’T COME RUNNING TO ME.
I’m home from work barely 5 minutes. The boys are about 6yrs and 4yrs, and the oldest is recreating cartoon fight scenes in the living room with realistic aplomb. I’m tired and don’t care, heading up the stairs to check in with Mrs DvK.
Suddenly the crying from downstairs hits that ‘level’. You know the one. The level that says “Okay, they’ve taken it too far; I better stop ignoring them and do some actual parenting.”
I head downstairs. The 6yr old sprints past. “I’M SORRY! I’M SORRY! I DIDN’T MEAN IT!” What? I turn back to see the 4yr old following closely, his head split open and blood down half his face.
It’s the prom scene from Carrie and I am freaking out.
My reaction does not help the already distraught youngsters.
We explain to the nurses at A&E that the 6yr old somehow managed to pile-drive his younger brother into the corner of the coffee table, bashing his head in the process. Both kids are quiet and feeling sorry for themselves.
The only fatherly words of comfort I can offer are “Chicks dig scars.” Mrs DvK is not impressed.
Why am I sharing these tales of fatherly incompetence with you? Because I look back and see that my kids are creative, problem-solvers, resilient, bold, independent and braver than I ever was at their age. And eventually, they give back.
On Sunday May 26th, it was our wedding anniversary. 12 years. We’re not big on celebrations or cards, and when you have kids, that energy to put yourselves first for once and kick the kids out for the day just isn’t in us.
I wake up and reach for the iPad and instead find a handwritten note on a small piece of paper:
“Dear Mum & Dad,
It has come to my attention that it is your anniversary. I try to keep calm and it is not working. I know you love me and Tavon although you shout at us. Please read this letter carefully.
No prompting from us.
For the first time, he wanted to do something for his parents that meant more than any specially crafted card or present ever could. Acknowledge in his own way how he felt about us.
Great, I’ve got a lump in my throat and something in my eye.
Fathers: as your child grows, all your fears/anxieties come down to the one question. AM I GOING TO BE A GOOD DAD?
The rules sometimes go out the window, and you’re going to beat yourself up over it. I know, because I have.
But keep at it. If you’re doing it right, they’ll let you know.
They WILL surprise you every day. And if you ever wonder whether you’re ever doing the right thing as a parent, DON’T. Those rewards are coming. And when they’re from the heart, all your sacrifice will be worth it.