On December 10th, 2004, and January 29th, 2008, the two best things I ever missed took place: Kieran and Emery, respectively, were born. These two, as you may know already, are my unnatural offspring- my nongenetic progeny. They’ve given me a lot to think about, and a lot to laugh about. Today it is my intention to show their greatness to the world- and the greatness of their impact on me.
Kieran Dennis James is destined, at one point or another, to be called ‘DJ’. This has never disturbed my very tranquil sleep, but for his mother it is an undying nightmare. You’ll have to ask her about it- I don’t completely understand.
Kieran (we won’t stoop so low, my love- fear not) was born, as was his brother three years later, to Aura Delorme and Nondescript White Guy. In his case, we will indeed stick to ‘NWG’. His generosity as a donor of healthy genes is something I never cease to be thankful for. His ongoing contributions are less favorable, but we do manage. He did, after all, set me up with the best family around.
I mentioned Kieran’s cautious nature in my opening post. Let me expand on that a little: Kieran has a great big heart and a razor-keen mind, and his body seems to serve primarily in housing them. As a result, my oldest boy is always conscientious about avoiding scraped knees and bonked heads. We have him in basketball and swimming this summer, because of course he still needs a strong and healthy vehicle.
Kieran, at seven freakin’ years old, is already burning through the Hardy Boys and anything else I foist on him. He was at the head of the reading herd in school this year, and implores me to read to him when he finds something he’s just not quite ready to take on on his own. This, as you can imagine, is a boy after my own heart.
This is also a child of many questions. Strangely, he likes most of all to ask his most poignant, searching questions about two minutes before bedtime. I mean, these evening questions are of the “Where did Grandma go after she died?” and the “How do kids get made?” variety. I’m absolutely, unconditionally ready to sit down and help him find his way, but I do sometimes get the feeling a violin must get when it’s being picked up and dusted off by a king among players.
Emery was only born a year before my entry onto the scene. He grew up in a world where I was Daddy Dan and he was Emeroo, courtesy of my penchant to create nicknames. I had a little song I used to sing to him, and still do if I want to get him totally indignant:
If you poo, I will change you
If I pooed, would you change me too?
Thankfully, there is a lot less public defecation these days.
Emery doesn’t have the proverbial off switch. He really doesn’t- I’ve thrown movies, snacks, walks and quality conversation at him, and it all only serves to wind him up further. I cordially invite any one of you to come over and try it yourselves. Lately I simply channel it, rather than resisting it directly. I’m still trying to come up with a way that we can save on hydro with this kid’s incredible output. He runs, and falls, and gets up, and runs, and bounces off things. He loves to climb on his great uncle Steve. He loves to climb on anything available.
In Emery’s world, DDDs are played on the DDD player. Cats mow (say: m-OWW). Reckless climbers go crumbling back down the mountain. And when Daddy Dan says it’s bedtime, he’s saying the wrong words. When this happens, Daddy Dan is not Emery’s favorite guy anymore.
My policy with the boys is quite simple. Their mother and I provide the nurturing care and firm discipline, and the boys provide the fun. I don’t want replicas of myself, nor do I wish to do everything for them. I can’t live through them as they get older, and neither can they live through me as children. I want them to experience any number of small screw-ups, and I want them to be ready to acid the big screw-ups as a result. I encourage them, in the words of Miss Frizzle, to “take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!” Mommy doesn’t like that last part as much as me.
Let me add that while Dan is always the boss, period, he will always listen, period. It goes almost without saying that the Boss behind the boss is the Mommy behind the Dan- but she lets me play.
This summer we have the boys in camp for two weeks each, and in swimming lessons and sports weekly. We spent a gorgeous week in Quebec at their great-grandparents’ place, and we’ll travel to a few more especially neat places before the sunny days run out. Above all, however, it’s the days where we simply spend our time in each others’ company that I value most highly. These days happen once, and are gone. Because I spend them with you, little ones, they will always be sacred to me- each one.
Here’s a quote, in closing, from my enthusiastic and loving spouse: “You could punch me in the face fifty times, and I wouldn’t care. But you touch one hair on the head of my guys, and I’ll beat you senseless.” Better keep away from those cute little noggins, folks.