Samuel J. Tanner 4 minute read

Four

Solomon turned four last weekend.

"What present do you want?" Katie and I asked him in the weeks leading up to his birthday.

"A watch with Chase on it."

This might seem like a strange request.

Chase is a fictional dog on the show Paw Patrol. You know. Paw Patrol, Paw Patrol, whenever you're in trouble? Anyway, Solomon likes Paw Patrol, but he especially likes Chase. Solomon likes watches, too. Solomon also enjoys talking about the time.

"What time is it, Mommy?" He often screams.

Incidentally, Solomon is a toddler. He doesn't talk. He screams.

"It's 4:04," Katie will tell him.

"What time is it now, Mommy?"

"It's still 4:04."

This game often goes on for too long. Like I wrote, Solomon enjoys talking about the time.

Anyway, Solomon was overjoyed when he opened his Chase watch. He spent the day asking Katie or I to take the watch off, and put it back on. He was also quick to tell us what time it was.

"It's five fifty-fifty-five," he'd shout happily at 1:30.

"Okay, Solomon."

It's best to agree with Solomon. He likes to argue if you don't.

"Actually, Solomon, it's 1:30."

"It's not 1:30, Daddy," he will shout with rolling eyes, "it's five fifty-fity-five."

Okay.

There's nothing rational about sharing your house with two toddlers. Outbursts of emotions are to be expected. Toddlers require constant attention. There's never a quiet moment.

I suppose all of these are generalizations. Maybe there are toddler whisperers out there, capable of quenching the chaotic, irrational ways of these little beings. What do I know? I'm certainly not a toddler whisperer. And even if I were, there's only so much whispering you can do, when these things live in your house.

Solomon woke up at 5am last Monday. Why? Because. I heard his footsteps in the hallway. I got out of bed, and spoke to him.

"Stay in your room, bud. Play with your toys."

"No. Solomon's not going to do that."

"Okay, well do that."

"No."

Exhausted, I climbed back in bed. Katie was fast asleep. The boys had kept her up all night. Why? There's many reasons. Sometimes Samson needs his diapers changed. Sometimes Solomon wakes up and is scared. The night after his birthday, Solomon woke up because his watch fell off.

"Mom!" Solomon howled at 2am. Katie raced into his room.

"My watch fell off," he told her. "Put it back on?"

Katie put his watch back on, and returned to bed. She really doesn't sleep. She hasn't for four years.

Solomon woke Samson up on Monday morning. They chased each other around the house for 30 minutes, before coming into our room.

"It's wake up time, Mommy!" Solomon screamed.

Katie moaned.

I was looking at pictures of Solomon on Katie's phone the other day. Timehop. I can't believe four years have passed. Solomon looked so different, even one year ago. He's a little boy now, not a baby.

The last four years are blurry. I still remember the moment Solomon was born, as I'm sure most parents do. There is, of course, an inexplicable thing that happens when you see your child. His tiny hand latched onto my finger, and I looked into his open eyes. Something happened to me, then, that I still can't explain. My priorities shifted fundamentally. Let the boy scream. Let the boy be irrational. As frustrating as my toddler is, I'm invested in him wholly. Regardless. That's a strange transformation. I'll be reckoning with it for the remainder of my life, I suppose. At least on this plane, and in this form.

Four years old. Time moves quickly.