During the journey of fatherhood, you pass through different phases.
Phase One is the “Sleep Deprived—I Think We Made a BIG Mistake!” phase. Then there’s Phase Two, the “Maybe This Isn’t So Bad After All—Let’s Have More Kids!” phase. Then, after your second child is born, you enter Phase Three, the “I Can’t Believe We Let This Happen AGAIN! Why Didn’t We Remember Phase One?!?!” phase.
Right now I’m in Phase Four, the “Border Collie” phase. My main responsibility these days is chasing after my 18-month-old son and herding him away from potential dangers and things that he could break, which basically includes everything in his reach.
Much like a Border Collie runs alongside the sheep, herding them away from the cliff’s edge and into the safety of the pen, I have to continually shadow Isaac, running alongside him to make sure he doesn’t eat the dog food, drink out of another kid’s sippie cup (see video), or destroy everything within arm’s reach. It’s exhausting work.
At just 18 months, Isaac is surprisingly quick, deceptively so. And he’s crafty, too. He’ll get your attention by reaching for the bowl of Alpo in the corner. Then, as you dart over to grab the bowl and put it out of reach, he’s already off and running towards his real target, your hot cup of coffee, which you foolishly left within toddler-eye-view over on the end table. So you dash back across the room and dive for the coffee, clumsily knocking it over and spilling it onto the carpet below.
By this time Hurricane Isaac is already on his way to the bathroom with the remote control, which he will be tossing into the toilet.
Along with your toothbrush.
When you’re dealing with a wild animal like this, you can forget about going anywhere. Inside our home, we control him by barricading him within a Danger-Free Zone in the living room. But once we step out outside, all bets are off.
Recently I took him to a graduation party for one of my cousins. Shouldn’t be too hard, I thought. I’ll just get a plate of food, walk around, and let Isaac explore the yard, taking advantage of the many doting relatives who will undoubtedly keep him occupied whilst I gorge myself on fried chicken, baked beans, and halushki.
But as I tried to survey the buffet table, Isaac took off for the three decorative glass thingamabobs in the flower garden. “NO!” I snapped, quickly removing his hand from one of the fragile works of art. Of course he immediately went for the next one in line, and then the next one. “ISAAC! NO TOUCH!!” I said, as he darted around the back of the house, searching for some manmade pond to jump into or some extension cord to chew on.
And like a good Border Collie, I followed in pursuit.
Meanwhile, my relatives were enjoying the show as they relaxed and savored the delicious graduation party fare. We were only there for about 45 minutes when I grabbed Isaac and headed for home, exhausted, sweaty, and starving.
Who knows how long will this phase last? All I know is I’m running out of energy, fast, and I need to think of some other way to keep my son safe and under control.
Anyone have a doggie cage I can borrow?