The alternate post title would be: You know you're a dad when . . . .
So my 2 year old is sitting at the table this morning, prosecuting a bowl of Kix for a half an hour; at this point, he's foregone the spoon and has resorted to filling his milk-soaked maw with handfuls of the now soggy cereal, and he's making a mess. A novice parent would treat this problem like you would clear a firearm: immediately take away the source of ammunition (bowl), clear the weapon's chamber (kid's hands), and do a quick function check to confirm all is safe (make sure there's no food left in the kid's mouth that he/she can choke on). Pffft. . . amateurs. The best solution is clearly to add more ammunition! The mess is mostly caused by the excess of milk, which happens because there's not enough cereal left, so the solution is obviously to add a ton more cereal on top to balance everything out! I'm a genius.
When I want silence throughout the house? The answer is not to yell at the kids to shut up, but to hand them what I call 2 minute quiet tokens: Ritz Crackers. Kids love those things. Did you know that when a child's mouth is full of crackers, there's little chance of them screaming or talking? That's a pro-tip. Another option that works wonders on the 1 - 2 year old crowd is to spread Cheerios out on the coffee and end tables, so they have to work at collecting each and every savory morsel, which buys me time for filling my coffee cup.
Loaded diapers? The secret is to prep the clean diaper before hand, and to set out two or three doubled-up sets of wipes. You don't want to be staring down the dirty barrel of the kid while trying to open the new diaper with one hand, and the wipes never come out of the box one at a time. Be prepared.
Baby proofing the house is a must, and buys peace of mind. If I'm going to someone else's home, I do a quick kid proofing before letting the kids wander. And I don't worry if the folks where I'm at get bent out of shape or offended; they don't live with the challenges I do. Even at my parent's house -- I've walked in there several times to find a huge meat clever sitting in the floor which they use to chop kindling for the fire place. A meat clever. You can see the danger in my 3 tear old waving that sucker around like it's the toy Thor hammer he got for Christmas. Yeah, ouch!
I remember the exact moment I realized that I was a veteran dad -- I was by myself in a Wal-Mart or other public venue and there was a woman clutched onto a recalcitrant, thrashing and screaming toddler like her life depended on it. I walked right past her without even noticing what was going on, and as I did I saw about half a dozen people standing there staring at the melee with their shocked faces on. . . . it was then that it even dawned on me that there was a screaming kid being dealt with. Pffft. . . . amateur. The best way to keep little Johny/Jannie from a full on catastrophic meltdown boils down to timing. Wait until the signs of pressure they're showing is approaching critical mass, then take them near (not in) the toy section and hand them each the cheapest toy you think they will enjoy and get back to your shopping business. By the time they're bored with the toys you should be almost home. This may not work so well for women because they go into a store not on a mission with an idea of what their target is. Men go into a store to purposely grab the object they want and pay for it and leave, but I digress. . . .
Yeah, these are dad world problems, and they are of my own doing. I love it, but damn I'm tired.