Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Play Time for Me, Play Time for Him


As most every North American male knows, Sunday was a big day for professional football. Two playoff games were played and the winners of each are off to that annual celebration of hype and excess known as the Super Bowl.

Gambling or no gambling, the allure of Tom
Tom Brady is inescapable. (Seriously what
football player gets this kind of glamor shot?)
And while I didn’t have a rooting interest in any of the teams left playing, I nonetheless committed to watch both games while looking after Master Blackwell. (Note: I think Mrs. Blackwell would have a deeper regard for time spent watching these games if I began gambling and thus had something tangible invested in the outcome.) 

I’ll preface this post with the declaration that, when given the opportunity, I’ll waste an entire Sunday watching football game after football game. By hour six, I’m usually glazed over and not watching so much as entranced. I’ll also add that I understand this is neither a unique nor admirable trait.

With the boy cozy in his crib and content with my laziness, I began the early game prepared for a day of sports on TV, interrupted only by slothful  consumption and napping. 

Properly attired in a hoodie, jeans and house slippers (AKA the “Slacker Uniform”) I sat on my couch and ate chips and salsa, leftover lasagna, Coke and chocolate. It was, glorious.

By the halfway point of the second quarter the boy was stirring. So, I retrieved him, made the requisite adjustments to his diaper and bottle situation and we headed back downstairs.

As the third quarter kicked off, I set the boy and some of his toys on a blanket in front of me.

While the Atlanta Falcons gave away a playoff game, my son sat by my feet and enjoyed his fire truck, his singing dog, his stuffed Bert and Ernie and his Grover. And by “enjoyed” I mean he held them, chewed them and drooled upon them.  As he did so, he cooed, grunted and blurted out a stream of non-words that nonetheless convey some sense of how he’s feeling.

Cute little squeals remind me he’s here and remind Grover who’s boss. Grunts and deep gurgles let me know he’s working hard at something. All told, it’s a soundtrack of bodily functions punctuated with raspberries.


Pictured above: Guilt, quantified.

And then, it stopped. I’m not sure how long he was silent before I noticed, perhaps it was a minute or two. But when I looked down he was – just like his dad  staring at the television.

There are things we like about ourselves that we want to pass on to our kids and then there’s this.

Yes, he’s got his mother’s nose and sunny disposition. He’s also got my eyes and my propensity to sit mindlessly in front of a television for – literally –  hours on end.

When he’s older I’m sure he’ll find diversions to relax with and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, when I finally got his attention and he turned his head away from the screen and toward me, the thought of watching the second game was far less appealing.

So, I got on the floor and we played together. He climbed on me and, in general paid more attention to me than his toys, a fact that made me feel pretty good. And, when Mrs. Blackwell came home before kick off of the second game and suggested we hang out – without watching football – it was a decision I’d already made earlier that day.

That said, I saw the entire second half once the boy went to sleep. 

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