Learning To Do Without

From the moment you learn you’re having a baby, the list of all the things you’re told you’ll be forced to do without starts out pretty long. Start with any and every hobby you ever told yourself you loved to do, throw in sleep, date nights, lazy movie nights on the couch and, even sex, and, well, that about covers it. Or so you think.

It’s not a pretty picture and I did my best to prepare myself while simultaneously holding on to the subconscious belief, our child would be the curve buster. That one Golden Child that would sleep, eat and behave in such a way that would allow life as we knew it to continue without too many massive bumps and potholes in the road.

Needless to say, that pipe dream blew up in my face rather abruptly.

You learn very quickly there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do even a quarter of what you used to do and, as a result, things slowly but surely slip by the wayside.

Things you once thought were once so important, they practically defined you as a person. But, little by little, the chinks in your forged armour become dents, with the dents giving way to gaping holes that finally wither away leaving you completely exposed. Naked before the truth that, the forty plus years of life you led before the arrival of your child,important though they were, mean nothing now.

And whether you even know it or not, you resign yourself to accepting it.

And then, somewhere in the middle of the Terrible Twos, a strange thing happens.

Your child–lovely, precocious and as cute and innocent as nothing you’ve ever laid eyes on before or since–senses weakness and pounces.

Suddenly, YOUR TELEVISION IS NO LONGER YOURS. This, I have to admit, I never saw coming.

All of your hopes and dreams already theirs and theirs alone, children’s television comes into the picture hell bent on delivering the coup de grace. A coup de grace in the form of ten plus daily hours of children’s entertainment the likes of which makes Mr. Rogers seem like just the person with which to polish off a half a bottle of Jack and a couple bumps before hitting the corner strip club at 2 a.m.

Dora, the Wiggles, the Telebubbies, Giggle and Hoot, Fireman Sam, Tinkerbell, Maya the Bee, Peter Rabbit, Ella the Elephant, Hoopla stinkin’ Doopla, Iggle friggin’ Piggle, the fairy world of Ben and Holly, and a roll call of other seemingly endless animated creations the likes of which suggest not only are these shows directed at toddlers, they’re actually created by them.

Regardless, it seems, all have cast a spell over our daughter. A spell that leaves her fixated for thirty minute stretches of time. Stretches, it http://journeyswithkaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/FullSizeRender1.jpgshould be noted, which are only interrupted for trips to the refrigerator, potty, search and destroy missions for lost hair ties or intermittent bouts of crayon, pen scribbling and rubbing Play-Do into the carpet.

It’s at these times when, momentarily reflecting on the thousands spent on nappies, food, clothes, mortgage, electricity, water and my other countless lifestyle sacrifices, I attempt the impossible by trying to change the channel. It’s a long shot, I tell myself but, like I just said, I really feel I’ve earned the right.

But it’s little use. “Just 15 minutes of Sport Center,” I immediately find myself yelling down the hall to Kaia moments after she launches into a whine that I know has the potential to drown out the sounds of low flying aircraft.

“Daddy, turn back Kaia’s TV!” she says to me with tears welling on her panic stricken face, her ‘big girl pants’ around knees and enough toilet paper in her hand to paper mache a Sherman tank.

She makes for a sight. Quite a sight, actually. One that more than just a mother could love, I tell myself. But then, I’m partial. As partial as only a father can be. A father that is slowly learning (VERY slowly, if my wife’s observations mean anything) to pick his battles.

And today’s battle, with the rain continuing to fall, is definitely not one of them. Kaia, of course, senses this, too.

So, with the blasé indifference of a playground bully, she deftly takes the remote and leaves me with little more than a heart melting smile before changing the channel.

And, as she does, I’m left with the realization, I have one more thing to add to that extensive list of things having a child forces you to do without. This being, my dignity.

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