Working from home has its share of disadvantages. Laundry, filthy floors and other house distractions are always pulling me away from what I need to be doing. It also has its advantages like being able to set my own hours, a picturesque green space out our backyard, a stocked refrigerator and wildlife being chased into my home.
So it was just the other day when working at my computer I heard Indy come charging towards the front door. I literally turned and said out loud, “Dude, what’s all that about?” I watched as he stood as still as a statue in a classic hunting pose, tail erect and one leg up and crooked, by the opening to our hall cupboard. I then looked on in horror as he dove into the pile of shoes and boots and came up holding a chipmunk in his mouth.
This is exactly the kind of thing non-pet owners miss out on.
I shouted at him to “DROP IT!”, which he obediently did. Unsurprisingly it took off again. Into our living room.
Indy charged after it, his deep set animal instincts running at full throttle. Thankfully the follow-up to that instinct to chase, the actual biting down or thrashing the poor rodent to death, did not happen.
Still bewildered by the goings on I ordered him to drop it again. Which he did, resulting in a third get away and subsequently a third chase. By this time I’d raced to the kitchen to retrieve a spaghetti strainer (made sense at the time) and between the two of us we trapped the panicked and confused chipmunk under the strainer. Sliding a file folder underneath I was then able to scoop up and release the little beast back into the wild with the only evident casualty being it’s significantly damper and matted fur covered in dog drool.
Working from home with a pet in the house is never dull.
My best mate is having his first child and as distance keeps us from getting together I thought I’d create a special section on The Art of Dad where I can post never before seen drawings from my first ever sketchbook when our son was born nearly 12 years ago. This section will be known as: Dear Ron. I hope you enjoy.
I saw your “Snoo” post on Instagram. It’s a lovely piece of furniture. May your boy sleep in it more soundly than ours did in the 4th generation basinet we had beside our bed. The accompanying illustration comes from The Art of Dad archives from nearly 12 years ago.
I’ve seen the article “Quit Doing These 8 Things For Your Teen This Year If You Want To Raise An Adult” zipping around FB and I like it. While “harassing your kid to be on time” wasn’t on the list it’s none-the-less one I feel caught doing most mornings. Can’t everyone see the time slipping by during yet another leisurely breakfast? How do they think they can make lunch, get dressed, pack their bags and get out the door in ten minutes when it’s never been done before? Most mornings I’m a buzzing time bomb, calling out “It’s 7:31. Now it’s 7:43!” No more. I’m adopting the mantra that learning to be late is a good thing. If you don’t like the consequences then change your behaviours.
My parental safety net default was put to the test this past morning. My daughter’s bus leaves at 8:03. As far back as 7:35 I could see things were going to go south. Come 7:55 I was sure of it. By 8:04 it was confirmed. I watched passively as the temperature rose and the tornado grew. When the bus whizzed past and the backpack fell to the floor, open, amidst a dizzying twirling teen I waited patiently for the realization to hit, options to be considered. I was available to fill in as the emergency taxi this time but I’m adjusting my routine to be around less during departure time. It’s not that I want to see my daughter stressed out in the morning. It’s more about wanting her to learn the consequences of messing up. Taking responsibility for ourselves is a lifelong pursuit and far better it be over a missed bus then something that has real effect later on in life.
Sometimes the best thing we can do for our kids is to stand back and watch. We’ll see how things go for the rest of the week…
I guess I shouldn’t complain. A week and a bit into school and so far there are no complaints. When I see the kids and ask them how their day was, I’m hoping to hear about funny things that happened with friends, class updates, teacher stories, team goings-on. Pretty much every day the answer I get is “Fine”.
I suppose fine is a lot better than: “Awful”, or “I hated my day and I can’t wait for summer.” or “That was the worst day I’ve ever had in my entire life. It could be the worst day anyone has every had in the entire world.” Answers like these would lead to bigger conversations than I’m probably really ready for. I’ve had a busy day too and getting dinner prepped and after school activities in line is enough of a distraction.
I’m a parent.
So, I’m unrealistically looking for a glimpse, just a sliver of insight into how my kid’s day went so perhaps the answer they are giving me is just…
We all know the days are long and the years are short, but summer, it just seems to fly by every year. There is a palpable freedom that comes with the summer months, best appreciated during one’s school years. It’s an easy comparison: sitting a desk or riding your bike/going for a hike/eating ice cream in the middle of the day/going to camp/wondering what to do to fill a day… Summer comes and we all take a deep breath to relax and when we release fully September has hit us and the new year starts.
When the kids were young I used to lie awake at night wondering if they’d like their teacher, if their friends would stay their friends, what they’d learn to love, what they’d learn to move on from. Now, with high school a part of our lives and another in middle school I find myself writing this late at night before the first day of school wondering, will they like their teacher, will their friends stay their friends, what will they learn to love and what will they learn to move on from. I guess not much has changed but it feels like the effects of these questions becomes more intense as they get older.
Thanks for the great memories summer 2017. Let’s make some new great memories over the next school year.