50 With Children . . .

I recently found myself contemplating and writing about life as a parent when one passes the half century mark.

Just to be clear right out of the gate, and to avoid a restless night on the family couch, my partner Jennifer is nowhere near 50 . . . I think I copied that correctly?

Anyway, in an attempt to describe what parenting 4 young children aged 2 months, 15 months, 4 and 6 years old entail I wrote the following:

For those of you who have children, my partner and I have 4 including a 2 and 15 month old, the Nyquil commercial in which the husband responding to the cold suffering wife’s question “will it work,” tells her that her sleep will be as restful as it was before they had children requires little explanation.

As parents we have to often times deal with sleepless nights, the nomad bed shuffle and of course the cascading noise associated with arguments over a toy, messy diaper and the generally joyful distracting din of I want, I need and I have nothing to do exhortations.

Now to suggest that parents never get a little grumpy, or soulfully reflect on days past when dinner banter centred on what movie to see or what party to attend on the weekend, versus the sit-up straight, use your fork and for gosh sakes don’t shove those peas up your nose admonishments that keep you from eating a meal that is quickly turning cold, would be less than accurate.

In hindsight, and as I reflect back on the above, I failed to clarify my age perhaps inadvertently leading the reader to believe that like them my partner and I were 30 something parents balancing careers, PTA meetings and the inescapable demands of a young and energetic family.  By the way did I mention that while I am 52 my partner Jennifer is nowhere near that age . . .

Even though I have been blessed with a younger countenance that helps me to avoid the “oh your grandchildren are beautiful” compliments, which is then usually followed by “and how nice it is that you are taking your daughter and her kids out for the day” while motioning to Jennifer, my actual years do at times betray me.

One such example that immediately comes to mind is when calling out to one of the kids I will periodically refer to them by one of the other children’s name, prompting the response “I’m not Carson Daddy,” to which I reply if I’m looking at you I’m talking to you” clarification.

Of course the age recognition gate swings both ways, particularly when my 6 year old daughter Savannah asks if television had just been invented when I was her age which, to a certain extent is my own fault as I have often made references to having only 3 channels when I was a kid as opposed to the 300 that are now available on a 7/24 basis.  I don’t even bother broaching the subject of black and white TV and rotary dial phones with them for fear that it will lead to uncomfortable questions surrounding the discovery of fire and if I enjoyed riding a horse and buggy.

On the other side of the scale there are definite advantages to having children as you are  fast approaching seniors discount territory at the local Denny’s.  Take weight gain, or perhaps loss would be the more apt description.  With the 15 month old learning to walk by the time he was 10 months old, Jennifer and I are now officially outnumbered in terms of keeping up with their movements between the floors of our home.  This means that similar to working out at a gym, we have an exercise routine that would challenge even the fittest of Olympians.

As for dining, again beyond the cold meals that we never really get around to eating even after all the kids have been fed, been given their milk, spilt their milk and then given another glass, our version of lean cuisine is picking through the remaining scraps on the kids’ plates in much the same way that hobos rummage through the garbage cans in the back of a fine restaurant.  Still tasty but hardly the kind of feasting that will add inches to your waste-line.

Then of course there are those lighter moments with kids when they do things, sometimes unexpectedly, that invariably put a smile on your face.

Take our 4 year old son Pierce.

Pierce has the tendency to jump into things head first both figuratively and literally, as illustrated by the following photos.

Pierce has always been a little headstrong . . .

Then there is Savannah who, despite her young age, demonstrates wisdom beyond her years when in response to my question, how do you know that she will reply “I just know these things Daddy . . . trust me!”

Our two youngest are also developing their unique personalities.

Carson, the 15 month old and the one who is the spitting image of me when I was his age, is the autopilot child who, with rare exceptions, wants his naps at 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM and then bedtime at 7:00 PM, sleeping pretty much through the night other than the 1 minute diaper change at 11:00 PM sharp.  To say you could set your watch by him would be an understatement.

Finally there is the newest edition, Quinn Abel Hansen.  Even though Savannah was at first disappointed with a third brother has opposed to our having a girl to even things up, he is the apple of her eye.

The other evening we were watching the Disney channel, with all six of us on the couch . . . by the way our television viewing these days is usually set to one of the kids stations making me an expert at Johnny Test, Jimmy Two Shoes and Jake and the Pirates.

I remember glancing over at Jennifer and mouthing the words remember . . . remember when there were just the two of us and we imagined what it would be like to have our own little ones sitting between us on the couch watching TV?

Well no matter what your age, dreams do come true.


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