The Joy of Fatherhood


My youngest children are 2 year old, twin girls. They are quite a handful. Just this morning, I had an errand to run at the local Target. Now when I say local, I mean about a mile-easy walking distance for myself. In fact, since I live in New York City (where parking is a HUGE part of daily life) I figured that walking would actually save time in the long run. To give them a chance to go out (but mostly as a personal favor to my wife) I decided to take them with me.

Now the twins like to walk, but the rule that my wife and I have established with them is that they can only walk if they obey. As soon as they don’t listen the offending child gets strapped securely into the tandem stroller for a few minutes. When they have sat for an appropriate length of time we will ask them if they are ready to obey. (At this point I think they would agree to sell their soul to get out of the stroller.) They then are released and get another chance to walk.

I must confess that my wife has done this with the twins much more than I have, but I felt I handled the trip pretty well. We made it to Target, went through the toy isle, picked up the items we needed, and headed for home. Just after we left the store, both of the girls got pretty tired from so much walking, and climbed into the stroller. We continued on our way home and even stopped to look at a cage full of parakeets that someone had brought outside to let the birds enjoy the beautiful day.

I triumphantly entered our apartment and immediately touted my success. I pointed out each of the items from my small list in the bag, and then went to release the straps of the twins’ harness. Just before I let them out of the stroller, I noticed my wife watching me with a bemused, knowing smile. Not quite knowing what had amused her so much I turned to the twins and noticed that only one of their four feet had a sandal on it. They had stripped off and dropped three sandals somewhere on the return trip from the store without my noticing.

So much for my apparently successful trip to the store. As far as saving time by walking instead of driving, the half hour I spent doing a search and rescue mission for three pink sandals certainly erased any time I had saved. After I got back with the missing sandals, my wife poked her head and suggested her strategy to me, “I always take their sandals off whenever they go in the stroller.” Oh, the joys of fatherhood!

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