Jack has just started his second nap of the day at 4:30. I suppose you could call it his third, if you count the ten minutes of “sleep” during the drive back from Memorial Park and the transfer from car to kitchen table. I managed to squeeze in a pee and check my email before the tyrant awoke. We’ll see how this one goes.
We were rolling along this morning and I started to get cocky. I thought a short drive to Memorial Park and then a little stroller jog with baby and dog was just what the doctor ordered on a beautiful, sunny, Monday afternoon. Hell, I hadn’t even heard one little cry out of him this morning, so I thought we’d be home free. It’s not like we had not done this before. I packed up the running stroller in the trunk while Jack amused himself with the ceiling fan. I hurried inside to leash up the dog and strap his highness into our hand me down Graco car seat when there was a knock on the door.
“Who the hell is that?” I said to the dog. We are new to Omaha, and I had taken care of all of our appointments with this or that technician last week. Turns out it was some pop in courtesy check by Direct TV and they wanted to inspect the job that their guy did on Friday. I told him it was fine, in fact, Craig the technician was probably the best service man I had ever been acquainted with, but I could tell that I wasn’t going to get off that easy.
“I’d like to check out the job and make sure it’s up to Direct TV’s standards,” said the old man in the Direct TV blue shirt through nasty, stained teeth.
“It’s in the back, you can go around the side of the house,” I replied.
“Don’t mind if I do, I’ll be right back,” he responded while heading around the porch. These are precious seconds, I thought. The tyrant is passive, but the dog knows we are going for a walk. With all the canine whining going on, it didn’t bode well for the passiveness. I had to get to the park now. I grabbed the car seat and the dog’s leash and headed out toward the car. I let the dog in first and she proceeded to jump from seat to seat barking hysterically at either the Direct TV guy or the fact that I was about to lock her in the car. It didn’t matter, as it was only a matter of time before she got the kid crying right along with her. I had to get out of there, and fast.
I ran around the side of the house and found the old man taking pictures of his co-worker’s handiwork from the week before.
“Looks good, right?” I asked, not exactly hiding the fact that I was trying to get out of there.
He mumbled something about what he thought of it, then I reiterated the fact that I thought their other guy did a tremendous job. He had. We pretty much spent six hours together while he figured out a way to install modern technology into a 1920’s house. It took awhile, but a few discussions about football, AL Central baseball, favorite beers, Iowa, and Omaha hot spots later, he had it all taken care of and I had made a new friend. NFL Sunday Ticket and a possible new drinking buddy; I call that a successful day.
Today was headed for success of a different sort, but I needed to get that old man on his way. Who the hell drops in without an appointment or a phone call anyways? The tyrant will not be pleased. Finally, smiley got the hint, and we both walked around the house to the driveaway. I knew it wasn’t good as soon as I turned the corner. The mutt had apparently not ceased barking and now Jack was chiming in with screams of his own. It didn’t take long before he was whipping out the beat red silent screams. The kind where he’s so pissed off that he can’t even make noise. Then he exploded in tears.
“Fuck me!” I yelled to both of them, “and fuck that old man!” I smiled and cooed at the tyrant as a show of apology while smacking the pup on the ass and shooing her to the front seat. A few attempts at shoving the pacifier in his mouth while repeating “It’s okay,” with nothing but smiles, and I seemed to have control over the situation once again. I probably should have given up on the jog through the park, but I was determined. This was the first day of Daddy day care, and we were going to the park goddammit!
My risk seemed to be rewarded at first as the tyrant settled into his car seat and almost even fell asleep on the way to the park. He was all smiles when I finally tracked down a parking space, and I thought we were home free. However, If I’ve learned anything in the last twelve weeks, it’s that whatever I think is most often wrong. The transfer from car to stroller went smoothly, with the dog giving me more of a problem. I smiled back at the young woman climbing into the SUV next to me as she tossed me an “awww, how cute” look before backing out onto Underwood. Little dogs and little babies get you all the ladies.
We headed up the sidewalk towards the start of the park trail and all systems were go. Aside from a few pacifier issues and the dog taking a dump, we were ready to rock. I picked up the pace and started to jog as I hit the trail and turned into the park. Yeah, that’s the ticket; sunshine, a cool breeze, my puppy, and my son out for an afternoon jog. That’s right, this Daddy day care thing is going to be a piece of cake…
…a cake made of shit.
The Tyrant started to fuss about five minutes in. I paused to stuff the pacifier in while keeping the dog from chasing a squirrel and went on my way. It took a couple more of those brief pauses to get through one half of the park, but he seemed to be slightly enjoying it and the dog even more so, so I continuted up the pedestrian bridge over Dodge street and that about when it all went to hell. The pacifier was no longer living up to its name, and myself and the dog were getting bored with the constant stopping and starting. Then I heard them…the first, small cries of frustration. There was no plugging the hole in this dike. I hurried along across the bridge as he went into full on scream mode, real tears and everything. I found a spot under a tree, slid the dog’s leash around my ankle, and reached for Jack, his lower lip turned out and quivering uncontrollably for no good reason whatsoever. That’s what he does. He’s kind of a drama queen sometimes.
I managed to quiet him down enough that I figured we might be able to make a go of it and run a little bit more before turning back. As always, I figured wrong. Not four minutes down the trail, the baby volcano erupted again. I knew I should have turned back long ago, but my stubbornness fucked me over. Now I couldn’t even get him to stop. I now found myself stuck with an impatient dog and a screaming baby, a big joyous fucking circus stuck about ten minutes from the car. I picked up the Tyrant and comforted him to quiet but I knew there was no way he was going to go back into the stroller. I knew, because I tried it three consecutive times to no avail and stronger cries of discontent. I grabbed the leash and wrapped it around my wrist as I pushed the empty stroller ahead of us, while Jack, suddenly asleep of all things, lay like a bag of flour in my left arm. I was sweating my ass off in the heat of the day, and I couldn’t even wipe the beads of sweat from my forehead as it quickly dripped onto my glasses, blurring my vision before eventually continuing it’s burning path to my eyes. I berated myself as I passed moms and their non crying kids playing on the swings, while non burdened athletes and short shorted co-eds offered polite smiles at my predicament as they ran past us.
Okay, he’s asleep, let’s try to get him into the stroller, I thought. It may have been a better idea to force the dog into it, as the Tyrant instantly awoke and resumed his crying spree as I started to sprint towards the car while repeatedly uttering my mantra of the day “It’s okay!” in as many voices and melodies as possible. He could have cared less. I reached the car and tried to hurry up the transfer process while turning my head in shame at the other mothers loading up their quiter broods into mini vans and SUVs. The final results of Run in the Park Part I: Jack 1, Daddy 0.
Then, he fell asleep instantly in the car.
…Noise from the monitor already? Really, kid? It’s been 14 minutes. Here we go again.