06 December 2012

Daddy School: Attention To Detail

I learned this in the Navy, and it has kept me out of trouble many, many times. Especially as a Daddy.

What is "attention to detail" you ask? It is basically the art of being aware of everything around you and also of being aware of the possible consequences which might arise from possible scenarios involving things and people around you. I know this might sound impossible, but it's actually not. It simply takes a little forethought.

For instance, if I leave my tablet on the kitchen table after writing this post, and then Little Man comes into the kitchen while my back is turned, then my tablet is going to be damaged when he pulls if off the table to play with. So, I will not leave this tablet on the table where little hands can grab it. That's a detail I'm going to pay attention to , therefore avoiding the consequence of having to replace a fairly expensive tool.

Daddies are the ones who have to check the tires before a trip to ensure that their entire family isn't killed in some horrific explosion. And Daddies are the ones who have to make sure that the home security alarm is always on when the kids are safely tucked in bed, not to save the family from hordes of raging zombies or hoodlum burglars, but to keep those ingenious little kids from falling out of their second floor windows if they figure out how to get the windows unlocked. Hey, let me introduce you to my daughter and you'll realize it's not that farfetched.

This kind of thinking amuses my wife, until such a time as I'm proven right. For instance, I made her favorite red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting for her birthday. The frosting on that cake consisted of roughly six full cups of powdered sugar. I should point out the fact that we do NOT eat a great deal of sugar in our home. About the only times I use this much sugar in anything are the four annual birthdays we celebrate (I don't make a cake for the Furball's birthday, just a recall big southern biscuit shaped like a bone. He loves it!). Now, my habit of paying attention to the details of life ensured that I only ate one piece of that cake (per day). My wife on the other hand, ate two pieces (both worthy of a man of my girth, not a little bitty thing like her), not thinking at all of the possible consequences. This is why I slept well that night while she LITERALLY bounced around the house laughing hysterically, wondering why she was so hyper. Suffice to say, she often has to say this wonderful words, "You were right." Well, at least I think they're wonderful. Her, not so much.

However, while it pains me to admit it, I'm not always great at paying attention to, or even remembering the details of everyday life either. For instance, I could use the same cake as an example against myself as well. I was changing Little Man's diaper when I just about came out of my skin and started to call for Sweetheart to grab the car so we could get to the ER. But thankfully, I caught myself just before I made a complete fool of myself.

You see, if you pay attention to details, you'll remember that when you feed a toddler cake with green food coloring in it (I didn't have enough red), his poop will be a terrifyingly fluorescent shade of green.