I was talking with another dad a few days ago who has a daughter Will’s age. We bantered back and forth about fatherhood, diapers, our wives, etc, but specifically we were talking about babyproofing a house and how we keep our offspring contained long enough to do things like cook dinner and take showers.
I was surprised because he told me he doesn’t take showers unless his daughter is napping during the day.
I’m totally on the other end of that spectrum. I take a shower first thing in the morning and I let Will have free reign of the house, because MJ is already gone. I used to keep him contained in the bathroom but when he learned how to open doors and turn knobs, there was nothing to stop him. That and he broke our baby gate.
He questioned how I could leave Will to his own devices for that long. Now granted, we live in a ranch style home so there are no stairs for Will to fall down. And I told him we babyproofed the house enough that Will can’t really get into anything that can hurt him. Hell, usually he just pops in and out of the bathroom saying “Hi Dadda” or he watches Mickey Mouse on TV. Honestly, Will is pretty good and can entertain himself without getting into too much trouble. And when I told the other dad this, he was very impressed. And I, being extremely competitive, felt pretty damn good about myself and my parenting ability.
Then came this morning.
I took my shower, as usual, and turned on the TV for Will. Usually when I shut off the water in the shower he runs right in and says “Dadda, out!” But when I turned off the shower this time, I heard nothing. I called out his name, but received no response. Worried, I rushed out sopping wet wrapped in just a towel to my bedroom. The TV was on but no Will. Quickly gearing up toward a full blown panic, I ran out into the hallway and into the living room. And that’s when I saw it.
Will was standing up on the couch. He had a stainless steel pot on his head, and was holding a fork in one hand and a hammer in the other. He looked like some sort of whacked out handyman superhero, the only thing missing was his cape.
“Hi Dadda,” he said, as if nothing peculiar was happening.
I still don’t know how he got the hammer. I really don’t. I have no clue where it could’ve been stored that it was within his reach. When I realized he was OK, I started looking around for collateral damage he may have inflicted upon the walls or our furniture, because he loves swinging things. And a swinging hammer might put a hole in the wall. Or a cat, which wouldn’t be so bad.
Needless to say, I’m no longer planning to brag to other parents about Will’s self-sufficient nature or my own parenting skills. But if he does become a hammer-wielding superhero, you better believe I’m taking all the credit.