“Happy Valentine’s D—Hey! Come Back Here!”

So it’s been a couple months of adjusting to life with a growing, fully mobile little boy running around. Will is now 16 and a half months, and this two-legged freedom he’s now experiencing has brought new joys AND challenges our way.

I’m definitely enjoying having a walking toddler around instead of a crawling, or immobile little bean. Although the little guy hasn’t spoken a real word just yet, he’s having a blast zipping from room to room in our home, sometimes making the most adorable nonsensical sounds along the way (my favorite is when he sees his reflection, wrinkles his nose and declares, “Yah yah yah!” in a hushed voice. Love it!).

This year was our second Valentine’s Day since Will’s birth and, to be honest, I don’t even remember what we did last year, but we decided it would be cool to go out as the three of us. Will had a pretty chill day earlier, so we figured it’d be safe to take him out.

We were wrong.

When we arrived at our local T.G.I. Friday’s, Will was asleep in his car seat, so we plopped it in his stroller and wheeled him inside. He didn’t last long in there though. The bright lights and noise were enough to wrench him out of any kind of peaceful rest, so I plucked him from the carriage and sat him on my lap for us to feed him. He was good for a while; I’ve found it fun to balance the little fella on one knee and feed us both, but tonight he could only sit for a short time. Soon, he was reaching for his mom and getting into her diaper bags and purse. After some fussy minutes, Amy declared that it was time for me to walk him around. With only one a few other couples left dining nearby, I paced the walkways around our table, following our little wobbler. I tried holding his hand so he could be more controlled (who wants to be eating out and seeing a toddler running around off the leash?? I didn’t want to be THAT parent), but since he’s allowed to roam free at home, he wouldn’t have it. In outdoor situations, I force it — tears and all (usually his, not mine) — but in a less life-threatening environment as a Friday’s, I figured it was OK to just follow him around.

And it was fine, but there seemed to be no end to the constant walking, about-face, walking, about-face, walk… it was endless. And of course, Will kept wanting to go further each time. Before long, I was yanking him by the arm backward away from the kitchen or bar area… again and again. We tried to get him to eat his kids meal that we ordered for him, but he was fussy (over-tired, really) and just wanted to own the floor of Fridays. By the end of our Valentine’s Day evening, I sat in the booth alone, eating dessert, while she tended to his restroom needs. Once we had Mr. Grumpy Pants back in his car seat (in which he went kicking and screaming), we drove home — exhausted and not feeling all that lovey dovey. Still, it’s a snapshot of where this road of adulthood has taken us. He won’t be a little, speedy toddler forever, so we have to take the good with the not-so…

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About the Author

In 1996, John launched one of the first and largest Christian music websites in the world, Jesusfreakhideout.com. In 2003, he and his longtime girlfriend Amy tied the knot and began a new adventure. And now, in 2010, John is venturing into a whole new exciting territory: PARENTHOOD.