There are enough families in the world with too little love in them that I don’t want to sound as if I am complaining about having too much love following me around the house. Don’t think of it as complaining. Think of it as documenting.
My three-year-old son likes to be close to me. It often seems to me that the only time he is not climbing on me is when he is following me around, trying to make me trip over him. In this regard, I’m a bit like Dick Van Dyke, except that the ottoman I trip over every night has active legs and relocates himself to wherever my path is likely to turn.
When we walk together, he likes to lead the way. This puts him in excellent position to stop without warning, which, in turn, is a wonderful way to prod Daddy into spinning, juking, hop-stepping, and showing off all the other moves that would have made him an All-Pro halfback if only pro scouts looked for talent in the kitchens of middle-aged dads.
I am in most danger when I am walking alone, because I am never truly walking alone. There is always a little stealth obstacle sneaking up behind me, waiting for the inevitable moment when I must turn. Since there are no long straightaways in our house, he doesn’t have long to wait. I will turn and throw myself wildly into the avoidance ballet that his presence demands. And while I am gyrating so gracefully, I might as well jeté over to the fridge and get him the juice he so silently came to request.
As if the boy couldn’t cause me to break my ankles by himself, he has an ally in the endeavor. The cat gets a little snack before bedtime. At about two hours before bedtime, the cat starts to follow me around the house, just in case I feel like giving him his treat early. Whenever I go in the general direction of his bowl, the cat attempts to run between my feet to lead me there. I’ve done many a tap dance around that cat, and his tail has dampened my tread on numerous occasions.
When the boy and the cat get to thinking alike, I become a veritable whirling dervish of sidestepping stardom. They are a dangerous pair, especially if I happen to be carrying the baby. Don’t worry on the baby’s account though. Through my long hours of practice for the Pro Bowl, I have learned to carry him like a football and to avoid fumbling. When my tackler grows tall enough for me to straight-arm, I will have an added defense. The baby will be fine. I figure I’ll be hop frogging over him too pretty soon, right about the time I get the replacement hip installed.