Archive | July, 2017

More backhoes

11 Jul


Every few feet, I find another piece of loose dog food, each morsel thrown one at a time by my toddler while I was in the bathroom. My hours’ long headache unwavering, I pick up the pieces and also cars, trains and construction equipment left like carnage in my toddler’s room, so I can get him settled for a distraction-free naptime. As soon as it was done, he deemed now the time to resume train-play:

No! No! No! No clean up!

*Takes every transportation vessel out of bin and scatters to floor, carries four trains to other room to “choo-choo!” his way to happiness*

After further stalling to say goodnight to our dog, he finally relented to the nap and I headed into the kitchen to attack a sink full of dishes when all I wanted to do was lie down and sleep off this immune-to-pain-relievers headache.  In this moment, I had never felt more like a full-time mom.

Usually, I can get the dishes done in the morning while my toddler is eating breakfast or playing on the floor. But today was one of those days where he had an eye on trouble and my eyes off of him for a moment meant throwing all his food to our dog or throwing all the dog’s food at the walls. Or eating the dog’s food–I am certain that also happened.  So instead I met him where he was and diverted his mischief into other things, and we played with backhoes! all morning long.

Backhoe is a word I certainly knew but hadn’t heard uttered in possibly years. I now hear that word at least 20 times before breakfast.

Early in the morning: I wan’ play backhoes!

(While playing backhoes): I wan’ watch backhoes!

(While watching You Tube videos explaining parts of backhoe): I want backhoe digging!

(While watching videos of especially skilled backhoe driver dig and fill a trench): I want backhoe!

(While on a walk, one passes us–South Florida is perpetually under construction) Fox: See backhoe? Me: Actually, honey, that’s a front-end loader. Fox: Fron-end yoder! Fron-end yoder!

That is his new daily mantra, and when did I start clarifying the subtleties of tractors?

Before my son became fixated on construction equipment (how many times did I read the book Roadwork? or I’m a Backhoe or Bulldozer’s Big Day?), I was perfectly content to mentally acknowledge random piece of construction equipment without a single care to know which kind it was. Now I have joined in on the fascination–let’s talk stabilizing legs and the difference between an excavator and a backhoe. Do you have a few minutes to discuss the prevalence of front-end loaders in our neighborhood? Or that some concrete boom trucks reach up to 200 ft?

My summer morning routine now includes watching You Tube videos with Fox. A sampling:

Parts of a backhoe / how to operate a backhoe (Informative, but had to overlook the abnormally annoying “just for kids!” host wearing neon suspenders and glasses)

Backhoe vs. excavator: who will win? (Spoiler alert: always bet on the backhoe)

Backhoes rescuing other backhoes in Southeast Asia (Next level stuff)

Backhoe driver steering backhoe onto flat-bed truck using scoop as leverage (I was impressed)

Front-end loaders and dump trucks: best buddies (not actual title)

Garbage trucks with a front-end loader (sounded good, but snoozefest)

Twenty Trucks Channel, aka truck video nirvana. (Videos of yes, 20 different trucks set to original songs that both inform and entertain adults and toddlers. Fox bobs his head in rhythm to lyrics about a bulldozer, and I am still reeling from the stirring emotion of the con-crete pump, con-crete pump, boooooooooooom chorus as the truck dutifully pours the floor of a Seattle Seahawks stadium. Y’all, I am watching these videos on my own because my toddler’s attention span no longer matches my interest. Major pride point when Fox identified a front-end loader without its scoop on a walk today. He didn’t let that grappling attachment fool him).

This brings me to my teacher summer stay-at-home Mom life in general. My first week, I over-planned activities in order to make the most of my time with him! and while I became a master of scheduling and snack prep, I was ready to quit on day #4 (or go to bed at 7 pm). Turns out you don’t have to go to the pool, the library, the children’s museum and take a toddler out to eat all in one day.

My second week I got smarter, took it easy on the outings and took more long walks using the stroller, which meant our dog got to run sometimes and chase more lizards/squirrels and I got to listen to podcasts while talking to Fox about all the world we were seeing while he was eating his snack (I don’t use headphones–I make everyone else in the neighborhood also listen.)

Now I’m fully in it with a good groove and it’s pretty great–I am truly enjoying every moment.  Except the moments at the beginning of this post or when he’s hot and cranky but refuses to come inside because playing with trucks on the sand table is too euphoric to leave and it takes a dangerous mix of sand and sweat to the eyes to bring the tantrum and I have to wrestle his clothes off and hose him off in the front yard to calm him down.

Nothing to see here, neighbors! Level 9 parenting in progress.

Those moments don’t last in my memory–they can feel unbearable in those minutes they transpire–especially if I slam my knee into a car on the floor in the middle of one–but they fade quickly and all I can remember is the hour Fox spent driving cars and backhoes up my arms and legs while naming each one, his unwavering excitement for peanut butter toast or watching him sift through the newest library books, eyes lit with anticipation to read The Magical Life of Mr. Renny. Book-a-read! he shouts after each one, hoping there’s always one more book.


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