Never Underestimate the Speed of a Toddler: a support appointment tale.

You know what my kid is really good at doing? Pooping in his pants. You know what he is not good at doing? Anything quietly.

As I type this, both children are screaming downstairs. Want to know why? It’s 6:20 PM. That’s what my kids do at 6:20 PM. Lose their mind, and scream for a bit.

So unless you are my kid’s grandparent or willing to let us spend the night, the odds are you are not going to see much of my kid after about 4 PM. Really, ever.

But the one situation that almost perfectly seals the deal is if I am expected to make an undistracted spiel regarding financial support that night. I’m probably not going to bring my kid(s) along.

Wait, let me rephrase that: I’m not going to bring my kids on a support appointment again.

Let me take you back, and paint the picture. We had been contacting the couple for a number of weeks, playing phone tag trying to set up a good time to come over. When we finally decided on a date/time, I was so excited to have it in the calendar that I wasn’t paying attention when the following sentence crept past: “Yeah, bring your wife and son, we’ll have dinner!”

So the next night we piled my son (then 1.5 years old) into a minivan and drove across town. I glanced down at the clock and shook my head. 6:30 PM.

To make a long story short, never underestimate the mobility of an 18-month-old in a new place. As I’d get into a point about the dire situation on the college campus, I’d look up to notice my son licking a photo album with the words “once in a lifetime” written on the cover, or hear my wife say hurriedly from the other room, “LB, hand the crystal figurine to mommy.”

And once we’d reacquainted our hosts with the concept of childproofing by diving across the living room floor to stop our son from sticking his toy into a power outlet, there was the part about feeding him without his high chair, in a room chock full of shiny stuff distracting him from dinner.

In seemingly unrelated news, before I got married I got some very VERY good advice from a friend when he said “happy wife, happy life.” And that night driving home from the appointment, my wife rocked her chair back and said “If you ever agree to take your wife and child with you on a support appointment again, I’ll kill you.”

Happy wife, happy life, indeed.

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