plan all you want, but things don’t always work out the way you want.
a solid life lesson there, but there’s nothing like this adventure called
parenting to reinforce this notion – over and over again.
this is not to say a little bit of planning is not helpful because it is and it
can serve a purpose. However, the kids are not always on the same page with the
parents, and that’s evident often.
has been difficult to accept at times because I am a planner and like to think
ahead and be prepared. On some fronts, this is a good thing for a parent, but I
am constantly proven things aren’t always going to work out as planned.
recent trip to the local library branch and an odd situation in our pool are
Let’s start with the trip to the Berlin library branch, where we went to see
the so-called Bubble Lady. It was a family affair, as me, my wife, youngest son
Carson (9 months) and Beckett (2) joined up with my mom, sister and niece.
suspected this was going to be a proverbial roll of dice with Beckett, who has
the most miniscule of attention spans these days. We had planned certain
elements of the visit out in advance, bringing with us some snacks, his
favorite hat and even some mind-occupying toys.
as feared, he was interested for about five minutes. Whenever the lady was not
making huge bubbles, she lost him. If she stopped to talk and explain to other
older kids in the audience how she did this or that (how dare her), Beckett was
wandering off to pull on a nearby mom’s ponytail, undo a fellow toddler’s
shoelaces, rub his hand along a sleeping baby’s head or pull off every book off
the closest shelf.
realized the sheer volume of books that could be removed from the numerous
shelves in the building, he was done with the Bubble Lady. We never got him
back after that. Not even her impressive tricks involving dry ice and bubbles
merited his attention.
he preferred a good old-fashioned game of chase with his dad. Before I knew it,
he was running away from me behind the counter, all the while looking back over
his shoulder with a huge devilish grin. He was not going to sit still or
cooperate and that was that. He seemed to be getting a kick out of the fact
that was not what I had in mind.
wanted to do was run around and pull books off the shelves, flip through it and
toss to the floor. When I grabbed his hand or tried to tell him this was not
okay, he would let out the kind of shriek that gives all parents that
horrifying, yet familiar, feeling, a mixture of agitation, embarrassment and
my wife there that day because there was a fear he may not behave and be too
much for her to handle along with Carson. That apprehension was indeed
I needed to get back to work and I confess I was happy to do so. I drove back
to the office in silent bewilderment that morning, wondering if my crazy
toddler would ever be like the older kids sitting nicely on the floor watching
the presentation or if I was going to spend more moments like this.
Another example of how parents must be flexible and adaptable and not set in
their ways came in our pool last weekend.
between rainstorms last Sunday, Beckett, or maybe it was just me, needed to get
outside and burn off some energy.
matter of months, Beckett has transitioned from some general trepidation about
the water to no fear whatsoever. Already, an independent streak has surfaced
and he doesn’t want me to hold him in the pool, saying, “on my own” immediately
upon entering the pool.
nowhere, Beckett soon began telling me that he had relieved himself, and not in
the preferred tidy manner. Since he has been known to fake it often of late, or
just report incessantly that he had gone about his business when in reality he had
not, I ignored it. He seems to get a kick out of sending me, or his mom,
scrambling for a diaper when there has been no development at all.
as luck would have it, I learned he was telling the truth as soon as we got out
of the pool and I peeked in his diaper.
he was wearing one of those pool diapers, which do not come off as easily as
the regular diapers and were not created for this type of changing scenario.
This I had not planned for and I’m not sure how I ever could be prepped for
something like that. At one point, I seriously thought about just taking the
yard hose to him.
better of it, we hit the grass. As I was navigating my way through this messy
endeavor, Beckett gave me one of his patented looks. It was one of those, “you
have to be kidding me” glances I would expect from a teenager.
he got fed up and was able to squirm away from me before the deed was done,
leading me to simply rip the dirty diaper off him in a desperate fashion. It
was one of those memorable moments that would later be funny.
didn’t much matter to him, as he ran away shouting, “Commando”, leaving me
behind on my hands and knees.
next 10 minutes, that’s all I heard – “Commando”.