There are plenty of books that tell you items a parent should never be without: a first aid kit, a well-stocked diaper bag, a fully stocked liquor cabinet. But here is one thing that none of them will tell you to have: a box of plastic knives.
Let me explain. As the father of a four year old boy, I witness daily his infinite energy and inability to focus on one thing for more than five to ten minutes at a time. He will play with his Legos and then jump over to his Cars and then ask for the iPad and then browse through a book. I truly hope one day Andrew will be able to sit down and focus on one thing for more than...oh wait...the laundry is ready. Be right back.
As I was saying, Andrew's lack of focus occasionally bothers me because I can foresee a time in the future when...hmm...I'm hungry. I wonder what I have in the fridge.
You know what's great? The chocolate chip cookie dough from Trader Joe's! You pop them in the toaster oven for ten minutes, and out comes a delicious cookie. Man, I need some milk.
Wow, I'm full. Okay. The point I was going to make was that I hope Andrew learns to focus on things more because it is an extremely important tool to have in your life. I've been trying to teach him about concentration the past year, but it certainly seems as if he's not picking anything up from me.
All of this energy and focus on playing is great, but it does interfere with your parenting because trying to pry away your kid from his stack of cars can become a very frustrating and futile exercise in exerting your fatherly powers. And more importantly, your child's ability to file everything else in life as unimportant behind playing causes something to get backed up. Specifically, his poop.
I have spoken to other parents with young sons, and they all seem to have had similar experiences: their son becomes constipated because they hold their poop while their playing which ultimately results in their butts giving birth to a mega-poop. And no matter how many times you plead with your child NOT to hold their poop, they will and two days later another mega-poop is painfully given life to.
These mega-poops are so impressive in girth and size, it has become routine conversation around the dinner table. Here's a fairly accurate conversation we had one day:
So what happened at home today?
Andrew did the largest poop ever!
It was sooooo big. Right, Emma?
It was HUUUUUGE!
Did it hurt?
Did it hurt?
A little bit. But it came out. Then went back in. Then came out. Then go in. Then it ALL came out!
It was as big as his forearm!
If that ain't a Norman Rockwell painting, I don't know what is.
And all of this brings me back to my original point: a box of plastic knives. It has become an Ichikawa household imperative to have a box of plastic knives because this is the only way to get mega-poop down the toilet. There have been one too many times when mega-poop has overstayed his welcome in our bathroom and has come precariously close to visiting us in the hallway.
I imagine within the next few years, Andrew will become better at listening to his body...or at the very least his sphincter. My guess is that once he starts elementary school, he will start to mature more physically and mentally. And with his ability to focus and concentrate on...oh snap! Man Vs. Food is on now! Gotta go!