Parenting Blog

Old Routines, New Routines and Routines In-Between

When I was a new dad carrying a bundle of mystery across the threshold, I feared everything: Breathing sounds in the night. No breathing sounds in the night. The baby sleeping too long. The baby not sleeping at all. It was an oxymoronic fear structure.

As my girls grew out of clothes that button down below, I became less and less afraid of our present and their future. I bore witness to their development, and saw that they were on the path to becoming good people with kind hearts and sharp minds. Now, as Elmo waves goodbye in my rearview mirror, I see boys, social media accounts, and boys up ahead. And I am not scared.

The only thing I fear now as a parent is that the worst parts of my past, the traits I’ve long since blown to bits, will become shrapnel lodged into my children’s future.

As a child, I was a lot like the Mouse is today. Not the blonde hair and female parts, and I was probably 1/2 as goofy and 2x as annoying, but when it came to breakfast, I was she and she is me.

It was customary for young Jeffy to have food in his mouth, usually cold cereal, within 60 seconds of rubbing the sleep out of his eyes each morning. This has also been Mouse’s M.O. since age 2 or so. Whereas the Bear saunters in and snuggles for days, her younger sister waves at us while running down the hallway toward the kitchen. This means that come 8:30am or so, she’s hungry. Again. I know those isn’t-it-still-breakfast-time? hunger pains well, dear child.

I’ve evolved nicely since my 2nd breakfast salad days. I can lace up my Newton clown shoes and go for a 3 mile run with nothing but some water and a few Tootsie Rolls. Maybe a banana too. It can be a couple of hours before I eat a proper meal.
But this change took decades to occur, and in the meantime I overate every morning because my first meal was pre-dawn and rushed. I was so hungry I couldn’t get the food down fast enough. I see a similar ferociously feral look in the Mouse’s eyes, and familiar crumbs in the corners of her mouth as the sun rises.

And I am afraid.

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