Being the father of an active 2-year old at the age of 45 has its challenges. For one thing, there are simply times when I can’t keep up with him as well as I want to or should, and the results are usually unexpected and hilarious. This past weekend, John Adams and I, at the request of his grandparents – my in-laws – went north to Upper Darby, PA to cat sit their elderly boy, Patch, while they were living the high life in Walt Disney World. I decided to connect with some family and friends for lunch and dinner, because we don’t see our “Philly Family” as much as we’d like, and it would also pass the time more smoothly with an active toddler, keeping me sane.
We met up with John Adams’s uncle, Father John, for lunch on Thursday, and with our friends Chuck, Diane, Louise, and Joe for dinner at Applebees later that night. Both visits were wonderful. I can’t even begin to say how much I miss all those faces. John Adams was passably behaved for a rammy 2-year old in restaurants all day, but by Friday all he wanted to do was run and play. Go figure, right?
On Friday we met up with my mother – 86 with early onset dementia – basically sitting at Wendy’s and having the same conversation every five minutes. John Adams was good with grandma. I think he sensed the illness and was suitably reverent. But then for supper I took him to visit his Uncle Todd’s and Aunt Deana’s, and there was this pool, and a lot of land, and it was Toddler Time!
From the moment we arrived (and for the subsequent three hours) he never stopped moving. First, it was the pool: anything we could throw in it – toys, noodles, balls – was fair game. Off came the shoes, off came the socks, the shirt, and finally the pants. Soon my little boy was racing ecstatically in his partially pool-soaked wet diaper around and around their in-ground pool. I hadn’t brought his suit assuming it was pre-Memorial Day and it would be too cold for him. I couldn’t have been more wrong. He splashed, he kicked, he giggled, he ran, he stubbed his toes, he fell, he got up, he cursed the ground for daring to trip him; he did it all over again. He was the proverbial pig in poop.
About an hour and a half into our playfest he spied a squirrel on the lawn – Todd and Deana have a large, rural, secluded property with lots of room for running – and took off after it. He is part dog I’m fairly certain. Clad in only a partially clinging wet diaper he treed the beast while I somewhat helplessly tried to keep up. When the squirrel proved a non-event he whirled around to notice a basketball court with about ten basketballs lying in the bushes around the court. He got to work acquiring each one and throwing it on the court for his bouncing pleasure. About this time, I decided it was time to bring Nancy into the hi-jinks, so I started to FaceTime her on my phone so she could witness her crazy son rummaging in the bushes in a desperately clinging diaper. As the gods would have it, she connected and her face appeared on screen just as John Adams’s diaper gave up the ghost and dropped off him to reveal a gleaming white set of heiny cheeks bent over in the scrub. Nancy exclaimed somewhat shocked and amused, “John Adams! What are you doing?” He whirled around, buck naked, basketball in hand, delighted to hear and see his mother on screen.
“Mommy! I’m just playing with my ball-ees!”
This moment has been brought to you by Fatherhood: Doing the best we can for millions of years.