Children are often known for being gut-wrenchingly honest with everyone (especially family). They only seem to know how to lie when you ask them things like, "who made this mess?" or, "why did you do that?" and other questions of that ilk. But this post isn't about my kids trying to squirm their way out of trouble––as they often do. This post is all about that cringe-worthy honesty that is sometimes a bit of a wake-up call.
When we first bought our house, we knew it was going to be a "fixer-upper," however, we had no idea that amongst the love and care of ordinary maintenance and time out for unforeseen catastrophes, homeownership would be a full-time job of its own (except you have to pay to work––what a terrible deal). Then throw our two miniature anarchists later on in the mix and Lord, that spells trouble.
Anyway, we'd discovered that the only good thing about this quarantine situation is that we've been able to tackle some of the projects that we hadn't been able to get to while my wife and I were working opposite schedules. The project that was on the agenda for this story: removing and replacing a portion of decaying wood siding on the house and then painting. To avoid getting bogged down in more home improvement jargon, I will skip ahead to the end of the weekend, where I was finally applying my second coat of paint.
It was sweltering out, and since trees surround our home, I had felt comfortable exposing my "dad-bod" and had removed my shirt to beat the heat. The children were running about the yard, jetting in and out of the house as my wife lost her mind over how incessantly they left the door wide open. Of course, that was mostly the youngest's transgression, who had also found it necessary to continually interrupt my work.
"Daddy, you took your shirt off? The four-year-old asked. "Mm-hmm," I said distractedly. "Daddy, are you all wet?" he continued. To be fair, I do sweat rather heavily and it had been pouring in waterfalls out of my pores all day. "Yes, daddy is very sweaty." "Yeah? You ran in the sprinkler? "No, bud. When we get hot, our body produces sweat to help us cool down," I tell him. "Yeah? You got all wet from the pool?" he asked. I sighed and repeated my previous response––not to mention that our pool is one of those tiny kiddy pools that, at the moment, was inundated with clumps of mud, grass, and roughly 100 matchbox cars. No way I was dipping a toe in that thing until I emptied it and hosed it off. "Yeah," he said with his usual upward inflection, "Daddy got all wet from the sprinkler," and ran back in the house before I could correct him––leaving the door wide open again. My wife scolded him. I went back to painting. After the long workday was over, I ran upstairs to take a quick shower before dinner. When I came back down, clean but achy, the kids were still running wild. God, I longed for that type of energy again, because as I watched them I felt like I had just been run over by a mini-van.
The lament of aging aside, my wife informed me that there were still a few minutes left before dinner was ready and to relax for a moment. Therefore, I plopped myself heavily down on the living room chair, picking up the book I had been reading. With all the screaming going on, however, I could not concentrate enough to get passed a single paragraph.
"What's the password?" the five-year-old screamed as he lorded over the doorway to the sunroom like, The Black Knight, from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Without hesitation, the younger yelled back, "Daddy's big tummy!"
"Okay, come in!" and the two boys bolted into the sunroom to continue playing. While my wife now assures me that they were copying an episode of, "Peppa Pig," I had been unaware of this at the time and was honestly a tad shaken. I peered down at my little beer gut and thought, "well, they're not wrong."
It had been a while since the scale read under 200 pounds and my pants weren't getting any looser. I promised myself I would go on a diet and get back to the exercise regiment I started a few months ago that had predictably fallen to the wayside. When dinner was ready I cracked, what I considered to be, a well-earned beer for a hard days work. But the kid's password kept echoing in my brain. Daddy's big tummy! With that in mind, I ate my dinner slow, with a little less fervor. Yet, once finished, I still ashamedly shuffled over to the stove for a second helping. As I scooped, I thought (like many people who swear they will begin dieting), "I'll start eating better tomorrow." I mean, Rome wasn't built in a day, right?