The conquest did not take place over night. It was a gradual descent into kiddy chaos hell. Buying a baby doll here or a puzzle there for the girls seemed harmless enough. After all, like any good parent we were trying to buy our children’s love. I kid, I kid. We actually shelled out the cash for yet another pretty princess just to get a moment of peace and quiet and avoid a meltdown in the middle of Target. Once again, just joking….well, for the most part.
Slowly over time the kid’s stuff took over control of our house. The exact date of when the changing of the guards occurred is up for debate, but I’m guessing it was shortly after having to rent a U-Haul to bring home all the girl’s spoils from a trip to see Granny and Pop-Pop. You want it, we’ve got it: books, blocks, Barbies, ballerinas, beauty products and Blue’s Clues. Without us any the wiser, our house has become a Toys R’ Us franchise.
On second thought, we are closer in style to castoff stores like Ross, Marshall’s or TJMaxx because very few toys have all their pieces intact or are in good working order. This is the result of random quick cleans that take place when we have company coming over or the doorbell rings unexpectedly. My frantic cleaning gene I received from my mother kicks in and I start tossing everything in the corner of the living room, the place where toys go to get lost, broken or misplaced.
The only thing that brings me joy in the midst of cleaning up toys is putting away the Alphabet Pal Caterpillar. When the toy is in Phonics Mode, it is capable of sounding-out short words like DAD. Even though I know the little worm will giggle and say “that tickles,” I try to get it to say random four letter naughty words. Other dads of toddlers please do not shake your head in disgust. You know when your wife isn’t looking you do the same thing.
The problem with our wealth of toys arises during Paige’s naptime. Instead of sleeping, she tries to be stealth and sneak quietly out of bed. More often than not, Paige eventually tires herself out and falls asleep on the rug in the middle of her room. We thought this was the case the other day until we heard “Oh No! We’re Off The Track!” not once, but over and over again. When Jenn went upstairs to check on the commotion, she couldn’t believe her eyes. Paige was sprawled out across the train tracks of her Leapfrog Phonic Train set. In her slumber, she was blocking the pathway for the alphabet coal car causing the frogs to freak out. On a side note, does anyone else find it odd that a company feels tadpole hobo’s who spend their days riding the rails are the ideal candidates to teach toddlers their ABC’s?
Anyway, with naptime being a precious commodity, we decided to leave Paige alone and let her sleep. After all, she was not fazed in the least bit by the noise or the toy train tapping her repeatedly on her shoulder. The last thing we wanted to do was press our luck by waking the little giant as we attempted to turn off the toy and place her back in bed.
Ten minutes afterwards we were regretting our decision. There are just so many times you can hear “Oh No! We’re Off The Track!” repeated before you begin to envy Helen Keller for being deaf. The phrase gets stuck in your head and it paralyzes you. You cannot concentrate on anything else because you are waiting for that silly hobo frog to utter those words again.
I am not 100% sure, but I think another reason the frog’s phrase haunted me is due to my tendency to waver. While trying to cure this nasty habit of mine, I came across a few definitions of the word indecisiveness through my research for the month. Not only does indecisiveness involve having the trait of irresolution, but it also means one has a “lack of firmness of character or purpose.”
Ouch, that’s going to leave a mark, especially when you feel the impact of the word in a sentence like “the king’s incurable indecisiveness caused turmoil in his court.” If this statement is true then the chaos that defines my life from time to time is a result of my own doing. The king of this household is leading his family around in circles leaving everyone confused and disoriented.
Character drives direction. In essences, it serves as a compass for your life. Without character you are lost and the decisions you make are based on feelings and circumstances. Considering feelings are fickle and circumstances can change at a drop of a hat, this leaves you on shaky ground. Regardless of the external factors thrown your way, purpose keeps one on the tracks heading towards a goal. On the other hand, indecisiveness only leads to trying to learn how to pronounce “T-R-A-I-N W-R-E-C-K” from a hobo frog.