AD/HD son telling AD/HD Mom a knock-knock joke:
AD/HD Son: Knock knock
AD/HD Mom: Who’s there?
AD/HD Son: Winnie
AD/HD Mom: Winnie who?
AD/HD Son: Winnie the Pooh
AD/HD Mom: Winnie the Pooh who?
AD/HD Son: Huh?
AD/HD Mom: What?
AD/HD Son: I’m so confused!
AD/HD Mom: Me too!
Yes. I live with this everyday. It is never boring! 🙂
I think it is maybe my male biological influences, maybe my careful and anxious nature, or perhaps a combination of both. I just have to make sure our spontaneous family adventures are well planned.
My wife and I are not eager to screw up our sleep schedules. Once a year, in order to celebrate the required purchase of a new calendar, people stay up to “ring in the new year.” We have five children. In case you do not have experience with five children, it is exhausting. At least once a week, our one-year-old decides to cry in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, and he is not able to go back to sleep until he has been assured that we will have trouble going back to sleep ourselves. Our five-year-old loves to crash mom and dad’s slumber party whenever she can think of an excuse, so the thought of another night deprived of sleep is really not all that exciting.
Those of you without kids are going to think this is terrible, but when our oldest kids were younger, we used to lie to them and tell them at 7pm that it was time to count down to midnight. Yay! Happy New Year! Time for bed. Those of you who have or had young kids either have done this yourself, or are right now wishing you had thought of it too. The kids had a blast, and we all got a good night’s sleep.
Well, the mean age of the kids is rapidly rising, despite us adding a new one a year-and-a-half ago to try and keep the numbers down. So we have to find other ways to celebrate the beginning of the new year that are fun for the kids, but do not compromise our already encumbered sleep schedule. This year we have decided to drive up to the snow. We live in the desert, and there is not often snow here. It rained much of the day today which is a welcome change where we sorely need the water, but not exactly the chance to walk in a winter wonderland.
So the snow is not too far away, and it is a great opportunity to have a spontaneous adventure. We have a one-year-old, and my wife can leave the house without worrying about pesky things like what will happen if he needs a diaper change in the five hours she intends to be out. She is fun, and can change plans at the drop of a hat (or diaper, as the case may be.)
I am just not built that way. I have to know exactly where we are driving. I have to know that we have sufficient diapers, changes of clothes, blankets, and portable shelters, flints, and water purifiers in case the apocalypse lands while we are frolicking in the snow. I have carefully worked out a sled sharing schedule that accounts for differences of maturity, and ensures maximum fun has been scheduled for everyone. You see, if spontaneity is not carefully planned, it might end up not being fun. My wife points out that I need to let go and just learn to have fun. She got the wrong kind of soup at the store today when I sent her with a list of requisitions, but I am dealing with that. See? I am letting go.
I have previously discussed that my wife and I are trying to lose some weight and get healthier. So on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, she goes to the gym, while I get the wee ones ready for school. This last Tuesday was my first time as the deck officer while she was at the YMCA. Trying to get five kids together, fed, ready to go to school, and relatively happy is like trying to stuff a live, angry octopus into a small Ziploc bag.
“I don’t know where you left shoe is, why wasn’t it by the right shoe?”
“Well you can’t go to school without pants, so you are just going to have to find some.”
“No honey, they are not my shoes, I have no idea where they are.”
“Yes, you have to eat breakfast, what kind of question is that?”
“Do you do this to your mom too?”
“Wait, didn’t you already have the right shoe before? So you have found the left shoe but cannot remember where you put the right shoe that you already had before?”
“Who gave the baby markers?”
“What do you mean you don’t have any more money left in your lunch account? Why are you just telling me this now?”
“What do you mean those shoes do not fit anymore, then why did we spend all #@&*$@ morning looking for the other one then?!?!?”
“You just wait til your mother gets home!!”
Hats off to you honey, you do it every morning!
I spent some time thinking about what to blog on Father’s Day. While I was thinking about this, I naturally wandered into the philosophical territory usually left fallow, as I thought about what it means to be a Dad. The moment that immediately sprang to mind was the birth of my daughter. When she was born, she wasn’t breathing. For me, that moment held all that being a Dad means.
The pregnancy had been normal, though the delivery had been somewhat tumultuous. My wife was too far along for an epidural, no wait she wasn’t, oh wait yes we were right, too far along. No, on second thought, we can go ahead with the epidural. It was the middle of the night. The crotchety nurse must have mistaken my request for coffee as a request for a diamond encrusted gold brick, based on the scornful disdain with which she turned down my request. Then, after all that, my daughter was finally born. And she wasn’t breathing.
You see, I had three boys already. My wife had wanted a girl, and truth be told, so did I. The apple of my eye, I could picture her older, spinning around in a sun dress and smiling kindly at her beloved Dad. We were afraid she was going to be very large, but in the end it was mostly fluid, she was actually quite small. She was perfect. And she wasn’t breathing.
I stood there, my hand linked to my wife’s. She needed support throughout the delivery, as she always did. That was my job. To provide support. I was afraid. More afraid than I can ever remember being. Half of my heart was tied up in one hand, wrapped tightly in support around my wife’s hand. She clung to me as if I could save her from the pain and suffering she was going through. My other hand longed to reach out for my daughter, laying on the table. Not breathing.
Truth be told, I was probably the most useless person in that room. A nurse moved in to intubate my daughter. The doctor was helping my wife to recover. I made a snap decision to keep the worry from my face, in order to not alarm my wife. And there it was. A defining dad moment. I felt so helpless, but my wife and daughter needed me. Needed me to be strong, to be supportive, to be compassionate, to love and to treasure. A Dad knows how to fix everything.
A more experienced nurse, the nurse who had earlier refused me coffee, stepped in and was able to get the mucus blocking my daughter’s airway free, so she could breathe. It had taken only moments, but it truly was one of those moments were time had seemed to stand still for me. My daughter sucked in, and pierced the air with the sweetest cry I think I have ever heard. Truth be told, I shed a few tears myself.
Times have changed for men. The gruff men who worked hard, and showed no emotions now line a fatherhood museum with retired horse carriages and rotary phones. Today’s Dad is sensitive, caring, involved with even his young children, and has a smile or a hug for his kids always handy. Providing for his family means so much more than it once meant. And we have no road map, us Dads of the new millennium. Our own Dads were gruff and distant, but our wives and children would not stand for that now. We have to be different , but we have few role models to look to. We are forging new territory.
Dads are the rock. The support, the guide. Dads can fix everything. The truth is that we sometimes don’t know how. We have no map, no instructions, and no one has been a guide for the journey we now find ourselves on. But we are the guide. We forge ahead, without fear for what is ahead, only fear for the family that trails behind us. Expecting us to be their all, to be their savior, to fix everything.
So as I stood there, before my daughter was breathing, holding my wife’s hand without letting the fear show, I was a Dad. As I stood there feeling helpless as my daughter lay on the table not breathing, but knowing there had to be some way for me to fix this, I was a Dad. As I stood there holding my wife’s gaze, and smiling with tears streaming down my face as my daughter filled her lungs and screamed, I was a Dad. I am a Dad.
Happy Father’s Day Everyone!