My son and I don’t have a lot in common.
Aside from shockingly good genes and a mutual appreciation for Mom and Buried, our differences outweigh our similarities. Being that he’s only two, I imagine it will be that way for some time.
But I hope we find some common ground soon because, without it, hanging out with my son is boring.
Even at my parents, with a backyard to roam and new toys to play with and backup from my mom and dad and my brothers and the occasional visitor and the mailman and that guy who dropped off the dry cleaning anyone else who is willing to take him off my hands for a few minutes, keeping a toddler occupied for an entire day is hard work. Especially when you haven’t had the benefit of sleeping in every other morning or so (my wife and I try to alternate who gets up with him in the morning.). I’m completely exahuasted and at my wit’s end, EVERY DAY, by 10AM.
Without my wife around to help (“help” meaning “take over”), I am fresh out of ideas by the time he’s ready for his mid-day nap. And thank god for that nap. Two to three hours of freedom! Except when he decides to skip it, which has been happening lately and is seriously making me reconsider joining the military.
I don’t know how my wife does it; she must just relate to him on a level that I have not yet reached. Maybe it’s because he lived inside her body for almost a year and they have a special otherworldly bond as a result. Maybe she just has more patience for children than I do. Maybe she loves him more than I do. Maybe it’s simply that she is crazy about playing with blocks and trains and board books and plastic kitchens. I have no idea.
Don’t get me wrong: I love my son (I’m starting to feel like “don’t get me wrong, I love my son” should be my motto). I love hanging out with him and playing with him and spending time with him. I am aware of how lucky I am to be able to do that, especially in the face of generations like my father’s and my grandfather’s, when both circumstances and society forced them to spend the balance of their days at work and bonding with their children was a luxury. Fortunately for me, I am currently “underemployed” as they say (“they” being “assholes”), so I have the benefit of extra time with my son. Time I cherish and do NOT take for granted.
But I can’t lie: I am BORED OUT OF MY MIND.
It’s not his fault; his personality is stellar and he’s a laugh a minute. But he’s a good 30 years younger than me and we just don’t share the same viewpoints. Toddlers are boring! Parenting is boring!
We can’t talk sports; he has NO IDEA who I should take in the 2nd round of my fantasy draft. We can’t watch TV together; his delicate sensibilities can’t handle Breaking Bad and I can’t sit through another segment with Mr. Noodle’s brother Mr. Noodle. I can’t take him to the gym because he insists on touching my nipples whenever I take my shirt off and that is against gym policy. We can’t go to the bars together…well, actually we can, I live in Park Slope, but neither of us has a ton of fun when we do (he’s s a terrible drunk).
So we’re stuck going to the playground every day so he can go up and down steps and slides and swings and I can have a heart attack watching the idiot six-year-olds sprint towards my son without paying attention. And we’re stuck taking out the toy train tracks so he can destroy my perfect oval every time because he doesn’t understand how TRACKS WORK. And we’re stuck playing catch in the living room until the ball goes under the couch for the fiftieth time because I am SICK OF IT.
I love my son, I love spending time with him and I wouldn’t trade these unexpected, unemployment-provided extra hours with him for the world. I know I’ll be back to work soon and I’ll look back at this blog post and hate myself for writing it. But the fact is we can’t have a real conversation and we don’t like the same music and he just wants to play with his toy cash register and it’s BORING.
Again, I honestly don’t know how my wife does it. But I desperately want her to come home and do it again.