I love my son. I swear I do. Every day, I tell myself that I could not possibly love him more than I do at that particular moment. Then the next day, I realize that I love him more than I did the day before.
But he can really annoy the hell out of me sometimes.
Over the holidays, I was off work for two weeks. Sarah and I alternated sleeping in and waking up with Tyler. We spent entire days just lounging around, playing, and relaxing. Interspersed with these times of zen were periods of chaos, which is to be expected during any holiday season. Me being at home gave Sarah the opportunity to have a bit of a break from full-time, non-stop parenting. A break that she needed and deserved. A bit to her chagrin, Tyler also thoroughly enjoyed my sudden availability. On a few occasions that Sarah felt the overwhelming desire to give Tyler a hug, or read him a book, he shunned her in favor of me. So, while I know that she loved having me around, the flash of green that sparked in her eyes a few times did not go unnoticed. Quite the contrary, because I can relate.
My return to work Monday was an adjustment for all of us. Although I talked at length with Tyler about it on Sunday, telling him that I had a great time but that I had to back to work the next day, and although he said “yeah” at all the appropriate moments, signaling that we were on the same page, I get the impression that my eighteen month old little man didn’t fully grasp what I was conveying to him. Maybe I should have just said “Daddy work morrow byebye luh-loo.”
It also didn’t help that, due to both work and treacherous roads/weather conditions, I had to spend a night away from home on my first week back. Tyler hadn’t seen me in forty-five hours after having me at his disposal for two weeks. That’s like 8 months of separation, in toddler-years, right?
When I got home – after six hours of white-knuckled driving, mind you – and had given Tyler my undivided attention for the better part of ninety minutes, I made the mistake of thinking I could talk to my wife for a moment or two. Tyler turned his attention to driving his little police car on his road-rug, so I started to tell “HI” Sarah about “HI” my “HI” long day “HI” when Tyler decided that “HI” he absolutely HAD to “HI” talk to me “HI” again. I tried to “HI” talk over him “HI” and continue my “HI” conversation with “HI” Sarah when I finally “HI” had to “HI” bend to Tyler’s will.
“Hi, Tyler. How are you?”
“Oh, did your truck get into an accident?”
“Yeah! Figgst.” He jumped up and ran to his toybox, returning with a tiny toy wrench.
“Are you going to fix it? Yes, good job, Tyler. You are fixing the truck.”
“Yeah,” he said as he pretended to tighten a bolt on the tire. When he finished, he went back to playing. Me, unable to be the better man, unable to just let things go and attempt to finish my conversation with Sarah, waited until he was well into playing with his car. Then, I decided to poke the sleeping bear.
“HI HI HI HI HI HI HI HI,” I said in my best try-to-be-as-annoying-to-Tyler-as-he-was-to-me voice. It worked, too. He turned to look at me.
“HI,” I said again.
Tyler replied flatly, without even a hint of humor, “Done.”
Why you little shit, I thought. Before I could even make an attempt at a reply, Sarah broke into laughter. I joined her. It was good to be home.