I could regale you with any number of horror stories- Fuss has been under the weather, growing faster than the cost of our various national military quagmires and consequently irascible as all get out.
It has been, to drastically understate matters, a challenging several days.
But this afternoon on a visit to Morro Bay he wanted to stop at the Crazy Park instead of the Boat Park.
My preference for the Boat Park has been well chronicled here. The Crazy Park is like the side of Two Face's mug that caught the acid- it sits in the center of a social Bermuda Triangle, bordered on the street side by a major bus stop, on the left by a mangy concrete basketball with one 9 foot rim and one 11 foot rim, and to the rear, the only public restroom north of the Embarcadero. Every indigent, kook and ne'r do well in town has a reason to hang out around that park, and do they ever. Plus it has a tall, ridiculously steep slide that Fuss went down ass-over-teakettle when he was a baby and which we've never forgiven (although he predictably loves it).
After a quick detour to the thrift store across the street (eight bucks spent, $30 in listings realized plus five books for the shop) I returned to find the Wife pushing him on the swings. His thirst for such things is legendary, so I took over and settled myself into a sustainable rhythm for the long haul.
We played a few games- pretending we were dogs, pretending he was a scary ghost and acting horrified every time he said BOO! on the backswing, going "higher and HIGHER", pretending he was a Bomb Bird who exploded every time I pushed him.
Other than Fuss, what I mostly call him is 'Beautiful Boy'. Yeah, I'm letting down the Patriarchy by eschewing "handsome", but he isn't handsome, he's beautiful, like how a sunset or a thousand year old Sequoia or a comet is.
So at some point, on the backswing I started saying "Beautiful Boy!"
And he copied me a few times, saying "beautiful boy!" and laughing.
So I kept it up, and then he changed things around like he does and said
And I started saying "loving boy!"
And he started saying "Loving Dada!" and "Loving Mama!"
That's what you can't get anywhere else, and what makes the whole deranged project of parenthood worth whatever it costs you.
Also, words matter. A few months back I was asking him something and he was ignoring me.
When I asked why he said "I'm not Fuss!"
"Who are you, then?" I asked
"I'm your beautiful boy!"
That's what his foundation rests on, and that's how I know I'm doing a good job, in spite of my manifold shortcomings.