What’s next is what’s always next. Fold the stroller. Marvel at the mechanism. Perform feats of ingenuity to maneuver aforementioned stroller into the back of aforementioned Lexus SUV. Strap in toddler. There’s always satellite radio playing something terrible that I love. No country. Never country.
Russell has a bad habit of kicking my seat, and it’s only something he’s developed lately. Get Daddy’s Attention O’Clock. It doesn’t work, except when it does. Mostly red lights, at which I’ll turn around from my perch behind the wheel and ask my two-year-old to please stop kicking. My wife has told me he’s always to sit directly behind me–it’s some safety thing one of the pediatricians at the hospital told her–but we’ll get to a stop sign every now and then where, without saying a word, I’ll put the car in park, walk to the back seat, pick up my giggling son who thinks he’s won the battle, and slide him over to the passenger side. He makes the “hrumph” sound before I even start driving again. Today, he’s being good. Just, well, shit-smelly. Unless that’s still me.
At the playground, Russ will have rule of the roost for the next half-hour until the moms start trickling in from two destinations: One, a Tuesday pre-school mothers’ group for the school that we’re trying to get Russell into next year; and two, stroller-fitness, a walk-with-your-babies exercise group that happens in the adjacent section of the park. He doesn’t mind being early as he bolts into the woodchipped play-zone. I take a seat on the biggest bench, waiting for company.