Kids are kids.
We tend to forget that sometimes. Tend to forget that the beauty and charm is all in the imperfections.
Summer is the perfect time to remind ourselves of that again.
You see, beneath all of the crazy crap kids get up to during this magical season, if we dig a little deeper, I think we’ll rediscover that true summer living is what being a mom or dad is all about.
Between you and me: did you ever pee in the pool when you were 4?
Uh-huh. I thought so.
Between you and me again: it felt awesome, didn’t it?!
Yeah, that’s right.
Summer is just kicking off now; school’s finally out and that means that the long days of dirt and sunshine, of thunderstorms and popsicles, of skinned knees and pool pees, have kicked in for all of us.
Here are a few of the crazy things my kids have been working on, some in summers past, some just last week. So sit back, relax, and enjoy.
It’s getting nice out.
Let the madness begin.
Peeing and pooping in the pool
It’s mid-July last summer, and I’m poolside watching Henry like an embarrassed hawk.
He’s peeing in the pool, and I know it.
He’s got that look about him, that look kids get when they’re all hopped up on summertime and just letting nature run its course. One second they’re all active and splashy, trying to get away from their big sister or their buddy pretending to be a shark, and the next second their bobbing like a buoy with a look of confused concentration painted across their face.
And that can only mean two things, y’all:
1. That kid is about to put the entire public swimming pool into lockdown mode with a #2 and God help us all.
2. Or, he/she is having a relaxing tinkle, and only the highly-trained parenting eye will ever spot the crime.
Now before you rush down to the comments section to let me have it, I’m begging you: please don’t judge me! Or my boy! Because I swear I just got done telling him that it’s not okay to do that. He point blank asked me too, which I appreciated in the moment.
“Dad,” he said between long licks of the Nutty Buddy melting down his wrist. “Is it okay to pee in the pool?”
It seemed like a reasonable question from a 4-year-old.
“No dude,” I replied. “We don’t pee in the pool. You know why? Because they put a special liquid in there that turns rainbow-colored if pee hits it. And then you’ll be surrounded by a massive slick of color and everyone, everyone, will know what you just did.”
I was positive I’d scared him away from the idea forever. But of course, he’s a kid out in the summer sunshine. And all I did was basically push the Pee Pee Button in his mind myself. Of course he wanted to create a rainbow in the pool. Of. freakin’. course.
But I have to laugh at it all now. And for the rest of my life, too.
Eating flowers — yes, literally eating. flowers.
Just the other day I decided to get in on the gardening bandwagon by planting some cheap, hardy flowers out in our little yard.
“They’ll be gorgeous,” I thought to myself. “Plus, they’ll make my neighbors think I’m a perfectly normal single dad who’s really got it going on … like I’m a guy who’s really got life under control.”
Whatever. Nothing ever goes like it’s supposed to for me. I had no idea that my 2-year-old son Charlie would try to eat the damn things.
The flowers weren’t in the ground 20 minutes (TWENTY MINUTES, I tell ya!) when I looked across the yard with my newfound smug, super-neighbor smile only to spot Charlie down on all fours chomping a purple petunia straight from the stem.
“Charlie!” I hollered at him. “STOP!! You’ll get sick!” (And by “You’ll get sick,” I meant, “You’re going to eat away my whole new reputation, dude!”)
He didn’t even look up at me. He was like a raccoon. Or a horse.
“NO NO NO!!!” I screamed.
Still nothing but petunias in his pie hole.
So I broke out the big guns. “Caca, Char-Char!!!” I wailed as I ran over to my own flesh and blood who was now giggling like a proud mad scientist at the chaos he knew he’d created.
You see, “caca” is my go-to word with Charlie when I’m really trying to get his attention. I must have said it like 79 times in a row in the five seconds of flower eating that went down.
I’m sure my neighbors were all watching out their windows. Who wouldn’t wanna see that free show — a grown man yelling “Caca!” while his tiny boy eats flowers out of the dirt. What’s not to love?
Eventually I got the flowers out of Charlie’s mouth. Or most of them anyway. But he was all smiles, man. He had really been enjoying himself gobbling down on my petunias. And again, I had to set him free and crack up at the insanity.
Oh summer, you might give me a heart attack yet.
Getting covered in all the dirt and mud in the world
My brother, Dave, is a fabulous uncle in all the right ways, the chief one being that my three kids associate him with one thing and one thing only: good times.
Mix summertime and Uncle Dave, and … well … that’s enough to get them doing Kool-Aid-infused backflips across the backyard when he shows up unexpectedly.
Last Monday, Uncle Dave took Henry, who’s 5 and adores his uncle, out on one of his “Huck Finn Days.” They’re days exactly like they sound: outside, chasing wild animals and birds and salamanders; fresh air and iced tea and crick walking and digging in the forest floor.
They were gone for like six hours. When they’d left, Henry was wearing some cool new duds I’d recently bought him. But when my brother walked back in through my back screen door in the late afternoon, well, I wasn’t prepared for what I was about to see.
“Where’s Henry?” I asked him.
“Oh,” he said, all casual. “He’s passed out in his seat in the van.”
I went out back to fetch him and I swear to you, I have never ever seen a better poster child for summertime than I did in that moment. Henry was strapped into his car seat, drooling, with a big giant blue Slushy cup in one hand, and a pretty long stick and bird feather in the other.
His hair was three shades darker than normal on account of all the grime in it.
And his clothes and skin were matted and marinated in creek mud and grass stains and probably deer poop.
It was, I have to say, the dirtiest I have ever seen any of my kids in seven years of parenting.
But as I unhooked my boy and heaped him over my shoulder, I was the happiest guy on Earth. Because summer was here. And we were already doing everything exactly right.More On