The White Knight, Austin Moon Week, and the Surprise Under the Sink

Last Friday, I tried the seven quick takes for Friday post per the wife’s suggestion. I’ll be honest in that I struggled to come up with topics by quick take #5. So, instead of putting the additional pressure on myself, I will just write. If I cover seven topics, great. If not, that’s fine too.

A couple weeks ago, my oldest daughter, Alexis (8) suddenly decided that cartoons were for babies and were no longer cool. Instead, all those teeny-bopper shows on Disney and Teen Nick that used to be boring are now completely awesome and must be watched every waking moment of the day. She actually gets up early on school days just so that she has time to watch them. We have unofficially adopted Austin & Ally, Jessie, and Stanley (Dog with a Blog). Even better is the fact that this is apparently “Austin Moon” week and she CANNOT MISS A SINGLE EPISODE! So, I have put the entire family at risk by teaching her how to use the DVR, so that she will never again miss a second of pre-teen epicness. The randomness of the shows appearing on our DVR list is a sight to behold. I mean, who wouldn’t want to watch The Amazing World of Gumball or four hours of the Home Shopping Network?

Fashion Sense?

The babies have been too cooped up this week, and dad needed some exercise, so I decided to take them to the park today. Now, the weather here has changed dramatically. Two days ago, we were baking on the soccer field in near 100 degree heat. This morning the temperature was in the 50s. So, I broke out the jackets and pants for the three of us.

I wore my Nike Dri-fit running suit. I mention this only to poke fun at myself. I got really big into running last summer and started running 5ks competitively. Initially, I wore any t-shirt or pair of shorts that I had on hand, but as I researched it (yes, I researched running outfits), I discovered that I was not dressing appropriately. So, I opened myself up to the world of polyester tech shirts and socks. I will be honest when I say that I love these things. In fact, I wear tech shirts most days now, not just when running. Sarah (the wife) will often have to remind me that tech shirts really don’t go that well with Khakis or cargo shorts, but I think they look cool and maybe I’m just starting a new fashion trend.

So, when I first started making the conversion to tech clothing, I bought matching tech shorts and a shirt that were black with neon green stripes. I think they look really cool. I referred to the combo as my running suit. I probably should have used a more manly term like “gear,” but I said “suit” and Sarah looked at me like I had three heads. I explained to her what I meant and I’m pretty sure she just shook her head at me.

Health and Fitness (and a moment of panic too)

Anyway – back from tangent-land – I dropped the older two kids off at school and took the younger two to a local park. It has a really large playground area, plus a skate park and a two really nice baseball fields. My favorite part is the paved tracked around the entire park. I would regularly train here when getting ready for 5ks. I parked the van away from the playground so that Grayson wouldn’t see it. I knew that once he did, we would have to beeline there or there would be heck to pay.

Now, I may get flamed from my Facebook friends for this, but I cannot stand those obnoxious, in-your-face reverse camera pics of oneself. However, I have yet to make it into a single picture in one of these posts and who are my kids to keep stealing the spotlight?!? Plus, it’s a little hard to ask a two year old to take a decent picture and get the desired results. This picture is from our recent trip to the sun… errr, no this really is the park. I need to work on my photography skills. I’ll also remember to smile next time (do note the snazzy running jacket).

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So after a few laps around the track, I took the kids over to the playground area. There is a massive play set with multiple slides, rock walls, the works. We had the place to ourselves for a while. I let Grayson (two year old) go on his own and he happily went up the steps and down the slides over and over (lots of exercise, so no complaints here). Clare (one year old) was content to wander around. We moved over to the swing set and I managed to get this awesome two-handed aerobic workout by pushing them a different rates on adjacent swings.

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But, then it happened. While I was blissfully pushing away, I saw the White Knight appear out of the corner of my eye, riding in on his radiant white horse (or was it a navy blue Ford Focus?). I stared in awe as he parked and dismounted (aka opening the door), and I waited… waited… is he going to…? Then I swear I could hear the choir of angels start singing as he majestically pulled out two kids and a stroller. I held my breath and studied closely… Yes! – there was not a wife in sight! It was another stay-at-home dad!!!**

**Note: I never received actual verification on this point, but he was a dad without spouse and with two kids and a stroller at a park during normal business hours; why argue the semantics?

This was great! We could bond, share war stories, show off scars, laugh or cry on each others’ shoulders. Think of all the things we could talk about! The wounds still ache from last week’s trip to the farm where there were no other men to be found. But, that was ancient history! Now it was just us two dads here in the park with each of our two kids! I had to learn more about him! Our conversation went like this:

Me: “Hey. How’s it going?” (witty, I know).

White Knight/other dad: “Good. You?”

Me: “Good.” And then we both went back to playing with our kids.

Ok, so the conversation did not have all the depth and heart-felt emotion I had hoped for. But, I felt a real connection there. Didn’t you?

In an effort to impress the other SAHD and his kids (this was my interpretation anyway), Clare decided that she wanted to start climbing the play set steps. So, we went up and I let her sit on my lap as we rode down the slide a few times. Grayson was still busy with this as well. Well, our third time up, Clare was getting more comfortable with the process and her surroundings. We were two steps from the top of the platform on which sat the top of the spiral slide. Grayson called for me (IIRC) and distracted me for just a second. I turned back to pick up Clare and take her down the slide again… Except that she wasn’t there.

Well, remember how I told you that Clare was feeling more comfortable? She was feeling so comfortable that, in fact, she was already sliding headfirst down the two-story spiral slide. Now, I really don’t do a lot of jumping/leaping/vaulting or the like, but I literally leapt from that second-to-top step, through the plastic opening, and onto the slide (and onto my keys and phone which were in my front pockets). I reached for her as she sped down, touched her toes with my fingertips, but could not get a grip on her foot. I’m not quite as agile as she, so gravity wasn’t pulling me down the slide as it was for her. So, I started scampering (reminiscent of a doggy-paddle) trying to catch her as she slid down. The thing was, since the slide was spiral, I could not actually see the bottom until I arrived at it, so I had this vision that I would get there to find her face down on the ground (at least it was rubber) and sobbing.

Instead, I arrive to find her standing at the bottom of the slide, laughing (at me, I think). I then notice the other SAHD, standing about 10 feet away, looking right at us. I’m sure he’s thinking, “ding, ding, ding… we have a winner!” At least he didn’t laugh outright. I’m sure he waited until he turned his back. At least in the end, the only one who got hurt was me – a skinned elbow. My arm will recover, my pride on the other hand…

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Snack Time

I will close with this story. Clare has decided that it’s no longer enough to just pull stuff out of the cabinet beneath the kitchen sink, but to crawl into it. So, she did that today, but this time came out with the remnant of a breadstick and was chewing on it (naturally). Here’s the thing. First, we haven’t had breadsticks in over a week. Second, there is no way that breadstick managed to just fall under there, and since I have been home, I have been spending hours in the kitchen keeping it clean. Honest to God, I believe that she is taking food and hiding it under there in case she wants a snack later.

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Until next time – Chris (active dad at home)

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