It was 6:43 am on a Monday morning when he flushed the toilet. It was hot, there was no air conditioning, and the sweat was rolling down his sides as he washed his hands and laughed at the toddler dancing on the floor next to him.
“If you have to go, you have to go,” he thought out loud.
He bent down to rescue the dog’s water from the child. The kid had switched from dancing to splashing in the water bowl, probably because the water was cold, the room was hot, and splashing in water is fun no matter how old you are.
Pandora was blasting from his iPad; it was a Marvin Gaye song–one that was powerful and relevant 40 years ago, and had suddenly become relevant again. But unlike so many songs from the 70s and 80s that had become important again, this particular Gaye song seemed like it could be written today, about today.
He paused, still holding his child in his arms. He cocked his head to the side, and listened, all the while bouncing the little boy around, smiling. He thought about what this song meant, could mean to both his boys, to his wife in the years to come.
He stepped on a Lego, yelped in pain, and saved himself from falling over with the baby in his hands. Kicking the piece aside, softly swearing in French, he put the little boy down onto the crumb filled carpet.
The phone rang, and he nearly jumped out of his skin. He fumbled with the phone, and picked a piece of lettuce up from the floor, tossed it in the trash. He looked at the pic on the caller ID, and smirked.
“Oh, hi, son. What’s up, Baby?”
The other son, chimed in, picking up one of his mom’s sandals and bringing it to me, chanting “Dada! Dada! Dada! Dada! Dada!” the whole way.
“Um, Dad…Mom wants to know, um…um…is this your jacket in the seat? When did you get it?”
“Yes, that’s mine. I got it from lost and found. I put it there to cover the melted crayon from yesterday.”
“DADA! DADA! DADA! DADA! DADA! DADA! DADA!”
“DADA! DADA! DADA! DADA! DADA!”
Faintly, in the background on the phone: “Does this even fit you? Ask Daddy why he put it on the seat?”
I raced over to the iPad to mute the music. As I crossed the room, the baby climbed onto the couch, and onto a nearby end table, and was standing up to dance on the wobbly surface.
“NO LITTLES NO!!! NO! GET DOWN!” I dove across the room, scooping the baby up in one arm.
“I can’t hear Dad, the baby was talking saying ‘DADA! DADA! DADA! HA! that’s really sweet and funny, Mom.”
“Tell Mommy that I put the jacket on the seat to cover the crayon because I didn’t want to get MELTED CRAYON on my behind.”
Again, in the background on the phone: “I heard you. I was confused for a second. I got it. Love you, Daddy!”
“Love you Dad!”
“I love you both, drive safely.”
“Love you too, Daddy. Have a good day.”
They hung up, I smiled, rolled my eyes, and laughed. My little one, caught my expression, and began to giggle and wiggle in my arms, dancing again. Then he sneezed, blowing snot all over my glasses.
The dog walked over to me, cocked his head to the side and stared.
“Dagu!” The kid bounced in my arms, smearing snot all over his face.
The dog walked over to the side of the room, stared at the ground and began to breath hard and labored, grunting. His sides worked hard, in and out, and then he heaved up a small and far too familiar puddle of yellow foam.
“Oh, for the love of Martha Fokker.”
I put the dog in the bathroom, set the snotty baby down on the carpet, quickly grabbed a roll of paper towels and disinfectant, and then I laughed. I had to laugh.
I made a detour to the iPad, un-muted the music, and wondered if I could get the little one to dance to more Motown, and for how long.