The kind of van that could only belong to a kidnapper or a contractor greeted us in our driveway, the ladder on top suggesting the latter.
“Hey, David’s still here, buddy,” I said to my son Evan.
“Yay!” Evan yelled from the backseat. Evan loves running around to the back of the house to watch our contractor David doing loud things with power tools. I fear that it’s refreshing for Evan to see a man using a drill for something other than taking the battery cap off Tickle Me Elmo’s foot.
Also, when’s the last time you heard somebody yell “Yay!” the way the word was meant to be used, rather than with a world-weary roll of the eyes? Non-ironic expressions of happiness are just one of the many benefits of living with a toddler, in addition to all the ear-cleansing screaming.
As we walked around the driveway to see how much progress David had made that day, Evan repeated the line he says every time we look at the back of the house: “David building a scween woom.”
“That’s right,” I said as we rounded the corner to see David standing on the wooden platform he’d built. I would have tackled this project myself, if not for the extenuating circumstance of my complete lack of applicable skills. The aforementioned toddler also requires a fair amount of attention, and though he probably wouldn’t notice if his daddy lost a few digits, it’s still best that I don’t get too close to a table saw.
“I like David,” Evan said.
“That’s nice. He’s a good guy,” I said. I hoped David could hear his littlest admirer, though he didn’t turn to face us.
“David a little bit scary,” Evan said.
I glanced up to see if David had heard his littlest now-heckler, but he seemed to be wearing ear protection, which is generally a good policy at our house.
Being “a little bit scary” to Evan is actually the highest form of praise, putting David in the same category as spicy chicken, Tyrannosaurus Rex and riding in the car with the windows cracked. Evan loves things that are a little bit scary, but without that context, being told that you frighten children would probably brighten your day as much as having a 10-penny nail come through your shoe.
I just ended the last sentence that way to prove that I know what a 10-penny nail is. Or at least that such a thing exists.
But we’re getting to the age where I need to be cautious about bringing Evan around people who don’t want their real or imagined attributes loudly pointed out, which I think is pretty much everyone. You probably won’t see us in the mall for a few years.
But Evan does love watching the construction project in our backyard, and he’s David’s #1 fan. For a toddler, it probably doesn’t get any better than having a construction site come to your house, short of having Dora the Explorer move next door or having your parents start a triceratops farm in the backyard that doubles as the local fire department.
This might not be the most opportune time for us to have undertaken this project, with a baby due any day, but we decided to build a screen room because it’s something we knew from the start that we wanted to add to this house, and we figured that if we’re going to do it someday, someday might as well be now. It’s the same way we decided to go ahead and have two kids. If you know you’re going to do it, stop dithering and just do it.
My point is that you can get into a lot of trouble thinking that way.
You can hand Mike Todd his fingers at firstname.lastname@example.org.