My three year old son is my teacher, and even though he is young in years, he teaches me life's little lessons. Sometimes these lessons take place when I am in a hurry - therefore, I don't expect them. We all have certain things that we look forward to. For some of us, it might be a specific restaurant or riding a bike or even watching a TV show. For me, there are too many things to list; however, on this occasion, it has to do with a certain television show.
I do not watch much television, except that I am hooked on one show and one show only, on Thursday nights. I do not like to miss this show...and to point this out, I do not have Tivo or any other device in order to digitally record my show; therefore, if I am to watch it, I have to catch it during the scheduled time, or wait indefinitely for the re-run.
My show comes on at 8pm, central time. So all household activities and "to-do's" must be completed in order to get my 3 year old teacher to bed at the proper time. This is all on a very tight schedule...at least on Thursday nights.
Most Thursday nights go pretty well. And the schedule, which usually doesn't vary too much, goes something like this: my teacher comes in from playing outside with his friends, washes up and eats dinner, winds down a little, takes a bath and brushes his teeth, gets into bed, stories are selected and read to him, and ultimately he falls asleep...easy enough. Okay, I admit it and for the record, it's not always THAT easy.
This particular lesson happened to fall on a Thursday night, my "show" night, and it was my turn to perform the bedtime rituals, and get him to bed before my show started. Occasionally, he gets the opportunity to take a bubble bath, but this evening I purposely did not mention anything about a bubble bath, because we had a schedule to keep.
As the bath water was running, he was getting undressed and I walked into the other room for a split second. Upon my return, he was standing on the outside of the tub, naked mind you, pouring what was left of the bubble formula into the running water. I knew immediately that I was going to miss some of my show. What I did not know was that my teacher was about to start the lesson...
Of course my immediate thought was to encourage him to hurry up, but he would have none of that. Usually he sits in the bath for a bit before I start to wash him.
"Okay..." I demanded. "Let's get crankin' here...it's time to get washed."
"Not so fast." He moaned.
"We need to hurry up." I exclaimed.
"Why?" He asked.
"Because there's a show on...I have stuff to do." I replied, feeling guilty of what I was about to actually say.
"What stuff? You need to put me to bed after this." He reminded me.
"Please hurry." I begged.
"Okay, just a minute." He said.
I was relieved to hear my teacher cave in. Or, at least I thought he had caved. Then, he sat back and closed his eyes.
"What are you doing?" I demanded.
He did not move, nor did he comment. Feeling a little frustrated because of the elapsing time, I spoke in a "mean" voice.
"I'm going to pull the plug now." I pointed out.
"Dad, hold on for a minute...please...please."
"WHAT!" I exclaimed, "IT'S TIME TO GET OUT!"
"Wait...wait, listen to me...I'm just relaxing." He announced.
"Relaxing? What do you mean, relaxing?" I asked.
"I've had a hard day." He commented.
Gee, I wonder where he had heard that before...
A hard day, I thought to my self...yeah, playing on the playground at school; then coming home and playing with his friends...that's real rough. How could that be a hard day?
So I asked..."Can you tell me about your hard day?"
He was floating on his back amidst the mountains of bubbles, and he opened his eyes, and then said...
"You know Dad, you should really try this sometime, it's nice and relaxing." He closed his eyes again.
"I have done this before!" I exclaimed.
"Maybe you should do it again." He pointed out, with his eyes still closed.
Thinking about what he said, and looking back at our conversation, and remembering the rush, rush of that evening's activity, I did come across as very stressed out. And once again, my teacher had pegged it...and that is why he is my teacher. After all it WAS only a TV show.
And for the record, I did not see my show that night; nor did I really care. He and I sat there throwing bubbles and making bubble beards and laughing about it how silly it ALL was. Maybe I'll catch the rerun of that show......or maybe not.
In a nutshell, the lesson that I learned that day is: It is important to take the time to pamper yourself and to learn to relax. A good place to start is with a bubble bath.
Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.
A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.