And a Happy Friday to you all. As we anxiously count down the days until this interminable election season is over (18 more, kids!), I realized it’s time for another edition of “The Daddy Chronicles.”
Since we last visited the life of Nate Lewis, he turned 2, has developed new favorite phrases like “See you soon!” when leaving a room and “I’m back!” when returning to a room, and has become more of a little person, quicker, than I was ready for.
As always, I have many thoughts on my little guy, and man how fast he is changing.
— So I guess I should start with his current obsession. It’s a red, furry stuffed animal whose name starts with E. Maybe you heard of him.
So for the first 16 months or so of his life, Nate had no interest in his stuffed animals. But around 18 months he suddenly decided he needed Elmo with him all around the apartment. So Elmo started having meals with us. Then Elmo had to be on the couch in my little guy’s room when he slept. Then Winnie the Pooh and Paddington Bear also had to be at dinner and on the couch overnight.
Then, like Ringo Starr joining the Beatles, a furry guy named “Monkey” joined the entourage, and now four different animals watch us eat, and my boy sleep, and each gets a goodnight kiss.
Nothing seems to make my son happier than walking in our apartment after an outdoor activity and yelling, “Elmo! I’m back!”
Because, you know, Elmo was worried sick while he was gone.
— The other big change the last few months is that my tyke suddenly has opinions on things. At least twice a week he tells me the clothes his mother picked out in the morning aren’t acceptable. “Other shirt!” or “Other pants!” are requested, and sometimes we have to go through 3-4 options before he’s happy. He also likes to change bibs and spoons halfway through meals, has sometimes inexplicably stopped eating certain foods he loves (oh tomatoes, how you once were such a staple of his diet), and has learned to hate the diaper changing table. Sadly, it’s not because he hates being changed, it’s just he doesn’t want to be kept still.
— The potty is in the house! OK, so he thinks it’s a toy, and I don’t think he’s quite getting my explanations about why it’s such a cool thing, but he’s been telling us “doody!” occasionally and has been correct 40 percent of the time (hey in baseball getting a hit 40 percent of the time gets you in the Hall of Fame), so we bought the potty and I’m pretty damn excited. Hey, it’s a start.
— Favorite activities are still unloading the dishwasher and helping with the laundry, but he’s taken quite a few steps toward doing laundry himself. A couple Fridays ago at around 5 p.m., he said “Daddy! Laundry!” I told him we were all good, only a few shirts and pants were dirty. He was undeterred. So he decided to start doing his laundry by himself. I quickly ran to grab the camera. If you’ve never seen a 2-year-old do laundry, by all means, please click here.
— One of many future careers I’m now envisioning for my son is as a party DJ. He walks over to the CD player and changes music literally 6-7 times in a half-hour sometimes. He desperately wants this Raffi CD, then a minute later the Laurie Berkner has to go back on. A couple more weeks and I’ll be teaching him to scratch records.
— Oh yeah, he’s also incredibly quick to throw a tantrum at the slightest thing. If he isn’t allowed to play with our phones, or we take him away from something he’s enjoying (like, you know, climbing on top of his bookshelf), Nate goes from zero to hysterical crying in like three seconds. Seriously, he’s like the Porsche 911 of emotions that way.
— His mother desperately wants him to be a cuddle-bug, and while he sometimes climbs onto the bed with us and goes under the covers, it lasts for about 16 seconds. We figure by the time he’s in his mid-20s he’ll consent to snuggle with her.
— And finally, I thought it was way too early to have a moment like this, but here it is. This week at his Advanced Beginner swim class I was told by the instructors to stay out of the water as much as possible, and see how he handled it with just them in the pool. I sat on the top step with my feet dangling in, and a couple times I actually got out of the water. And except for a few moments where he looked up and said “Daddy sit!” when I was standing out of the pool, he really did perfectly well without me.
I was a little bit proud, and a more than a little bit heartbroken. This is the first time he truly hasn’t needed me. How can that be happening already? He was just born!
I’m going to need a lot of Kleenex for the first day of pre-school next September.