Daycare is a Distant Memory, The Last Word on Posh Seven Magazine by Matthew Kaiser

My first story for Posh Seven, titled “Life Socks”, was published in the summer 2010 edition. Back then the magazine was called I AM Modern, and Catherine DeCenzo was the editor. My wife shared with Cathy a post I wrote for a mommy blog. She liked my daddy perspective and invited me to submit a story for the magazine’s Last Word column. That opportunity led to a four year run of my light hearted fatherhood stories.

I recently read “Life Socks” again for the first time in a few years. That story, a hyperbolic rant about the difficulties of managing my one- and three-year-old sons every morning, is a snapshot in time of my life as a new dad. As all parents know, the pace of life is frenzied and chaotic during the toddler times. “Life Socks” reminds me of how much has changed since then, and of how many things are still just as maddening.

In 2010 my life was still dominated by dirty diapers, mixing formula and sanitizing bottles, and shaking the dirt off of dropped pacifiers. I can’t count how many sleepless nights were spent deliriously listening to the baby monitor for signs of trouble. The thought of cramming uncooperative kids into car seats still makes me shudder. It’s hard to remember how much time I spent wrestling little legs on the changing table. I complain multiple times a day about pee-splattered toilet seats now, but compared to being reduced to a dedicated butt wiper, I’ll gladly clean up a dribble here and there. I was probably more excited than my kids when they received their trophy trucks as a reward for completing potty training. I earned those Tonka trucks as much as them!

Parenting hasn’t gotten any easier since those early days. Sure, my boys can feed, clothe, and bathe themselves (when threatened), but every day I gain a deeper respect for my own parents. My thick skin is calloused and bruised from years of constant refusals and barbed retorts. Hearing, “I hate skateboarding with you,” was particularly cruel, even if the little demon didn’t really mean it. (Please, don’t let him mean it!) How my wife manages the family calendar is a mystery to me. Without her the three of us would be feral savages living in the woods.

Some days I miss the simpler days of baby swings and stroller rides, but I’m too busy having fun to look backward. My boys have grown into hard-nosed baseball players. (MLB cards have replaced Pokémon as our floor covering.) They are fish in the water and love the ocean and sliding down mountain waterfalls. They are hell on four wheels at the skate park. Their hearts are kind, their brains creative, and they rock out to the Beastie Boys.

At eight and ten, they’re changing fast. I try to savor every minute with them, even when life “socks.” They may be becoming more self-sufficient, but I still regularly hear, “Dad! I can’t find any socks!”