When my youngest was born nearly 14 years ago, he was officially the third Riley boy. And he was the third Riley boy age 6 or younger.
I’m not saying the addition of a newborn to the household was a bit of an adjustment, but …
It was a morning of missing the wastebasket with loaded diapers and going deep into the pantry for Pop Tarts and searching under beds for favorite baseball hats. And now it was time to load up in the car and drop the five-year-old off at preschool on my way to work.
I’m in the car, in the garage, rolling down the window to “beckon” him to kindly pick up the pace.
So here he comes, the big curls, even bigger blue eyes, the favorite baseball hat, the Barney backpack — just casually strolling along and a singing a song.
He’s in no hurry. And why should he? He’s five, and five-year-olds hurry for no body.
But the boy sure could carry a tune. In fact, it went a little something like this …
“La la la, I’m a skipping along, woo woo, got my damned backpack, woo woo, getting in the &**^^! car, woo woo …”
I just sat there. Listening. My head slowly dropping onto the steering wheel.
He gets in the car, settles into his booster seat.
And I’m counting all the ways I’ve failed the man.
“Why aren’t we leaving, Daddy?”
Oh, no reason, really — other than Daddy needing a few minutes to completely reevaluate his skills as your father.
So the entire trip to school was spent discussing good words and bad words and trying to use just enough touch to a) get your point across without b) making such a huge deal of it that the kid knows he’s carrying the biggest and baddest card in the deck.