The following is an excerpt from the conversation my son and I have on the drive home from daycare. Every. Single. Day.
ME: “So what did you do at school today?”
MY SON: “Lawnmower.”ME: “That's right, buddy. There's a lawnmower sitting in that garage over there.”
MY SON: “Lawnmower.”ME: “I know, Dada sees it.”
MY SON: “Lawnmower.”ME: “Yep. Got it. Lawnmower.”
MY SON: “Lawnmower.”ME: “Seriously?”
MY SON: “Lawnmower.”ME: “Dada wishes he was under a lawnmower right now.”
And this generally continues for the next 10-15 minutes or until I swerve into a tree. All hyperbole aside, I'm pretty sure people on bath salts bring more to the table conversationally than my son does. If that sounds harsh, I challenge you to ride in the car with him right after he sees any item you could get at Lowe's or – and this is the worst-case scenario – a basketball goal. Because if that happens I'll give you one guess what you'll still be hearing about three hours later. (Hint: It's a basketball goal.)
And God help you if you drive past somebody cutting the grass near a basketball goal. You might as well just go ahead and put firecrackers in both your ears and light the fuses right there.
Look, I get it, he's 2. Most 2-year-olds aren't typically brilliant storytellers. But would it kill the kid to mix in a new word every now and again? You know, maybe something like “grass” or “dribble” or if he's feeling really observant, he could toss in a “Dada, what are those sparkly fizzing things in your ears?”
All my friends who don't have kids (I like to refer to them as my smart friends) think it's funny to say one of his trigger words on the way out the door just to get him fired up. Which would be funny if their car didn't end up starting and they were stuck sitting in my living room for the next two hours dealing with the subterfuge of their reckless actions. But the joke is on them, because a few years from now when they finally have kids of their own I'm going to offer to babysit for free and while Mom and Dad are out eating a fancy dinner and having a grand old time, Junior and I will be cozied up in front of the TV watching Eddie Murphy “Raw.”
As for my current situation, I know it will eventually get better. And yes, I'm also fully aware how detached I am as a parent to be complaining about a child who's communicating and showing he's learning but OH MY GOSH NO NOT ANOTHER …
Lawnmower.Bryce Donovan is a freelance dad who also occasionally writes. To get a glimpse into other random parts of his daily life, check out www.brycedonovan.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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