The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

November 28, 2008

Some of the Ties That Bind

Filed under: Family — Brian Lutz @ 12:15 am

The good news is that I managed to make it through the remainder of the drive down to Provo relatively unscathed, aside from a dodgy inverter that blew out fuses in two different cars before we made it out of Oregon.  All things considered, the drive actually wasn’t all that bad,  The next couple of days, on the other hand, might be just a bit more of a challenge than I was expecting.  Although Thanksgiving dinner was a much smaller production than the customary Vanderhoeven versions that I’m used to, it was still far from being small.  Between the seven of us who came down from Washington, and four more from down here (Jason, Heather, Brooks and Tijs Sirrine,) we still managed to have eleven people for dinner at the Lively apartment, shown here before dinner. 

The apartment is actually quite nice, but with that many people, the place can get a bit crowded after a while, especially with a couple of toddlers in the room.  Since at this point I seem to have little practical experience in the time honored profession of parenting, I haven’t quite figured out how to deal with rambunctious two year olds yet.  This means that when the going gets tough, jumping off the nearest third story balcony hasn’t quite been eliminated from the possible list of coping strategies.  I’m guessing that there’s some secret parental switch that gets turned on when the time arrives for such things, but as a single guy used to living in a nice quiet apartment, remaining calm at the point where a curious two year old discovers the wonders of stomping on the floor of a third story apartment can be a bit of a challenge, and makes the future challenges of parenting to come (I think) seem all that more daunting.

One thing that I have learned is that some of my dogsitting experience has proven surprisingly relevant.  Earlier in the day before dinner, a number of us went to a nearby park to get out of the house while preparations were underway.  Connor came with us, and as could be expected of a toddler, every little thing was a source of wonder and fascination.  As with Imola and Minardi at the dog park, this means that on occasion, he’ll completely ignore everything else and focus on something like a few bits of gravel on the ground or some random puddle.  Unlike the dogs, I don’t think that there’s much chance that I’d be able to get his attention back with a couple of pieces of chicken jerky (and I don’t think that Jacki would care much for me trying to do so either.)  Connor is actually getting to the point where he is starting to actually recognize people (my name is still missing most of its consonants, but we’ll work on that part later.)  It’s just dealing with the tired and cranky stage that I need to work on a bit (sometimes, the kids can be a bit tired cranky too…)

To be honest, I should probably not complain about things like this so much, since It’s not like I won’t ever see these people again (and in fact I have to ride back up to Redmond with them in a couple of days.)  The situation is a bit easier to deal with when I have the option of eventually going home to my own apartment, but when that happens to be about 900 miles away, there isn’t much to do but sit quietly and ponder that third story balcony option, but realize that the whole thing won’t last forever.  After all, they have to turn into angst-riddled teenagers at some point, and by the time I have some of those I’ll probably be longing for the days of the noisy toddlers…

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