Innocence

My son tells me he loves me
out of the blue, and
of his own accord and time.
He is the greatest gift.

I respect and love his
individual personality
and am blessed to be
in a position to help
protect his wellness.

Love is in the breath
of a child and in
their sleeping trust
of a truthful parent.

-M. Taggart

Parenting

Some parents take their kids down a notch and some parents want to lift their children during their happiest moments. I sit on the side uplifting children and the others can play with their personality disorders in the mirror.

Life, Blood & Charles Bukowski

I got the dreaded call from Gavin’s school today. He’s the youngest in the entire school. His teacher told us that he’s very smart, has an incredible vocabulary, and is brave.

“Hello is this, Matt? Gavin has been in the nurses office for about an hour. He’s OK, but he did bite his tongue and it won’t stop bleeding.”

While on the way to the ER, Gavin, fell asleep. I watched him in my rear view mirror knowing blood was filling his mouth. Eventually I could hear the blood interfering with his breathing. I asked him to wake up and swallow. He did, while half asleep, swallow the blood.

I parked outside the ER and grabbed paper towel. I reached back toward Gavin. I woke him up, with the paper towel ready to catch the blood. It took a moment for him to wake, but when he did, he wore a worried look and I could see he was active with his tongue inside his mouth. “It’s OK, just spit it into this.” Gavin opened his mouth and a clot was on top of his tongue. He spit the clot, along with more blood, into the paper towel.

He never once cried.

The ER doctors opted not to cauterize the laceration. They didn’t want to cause Gavin trauma. Megan held ice to his tongue all evening and finally the bleeding stopped.

And for some reason unknown to me, Gavin bounced his way up to ‘Alexa’ our digital-voice friend whom many of you might also have and said, “Alexa, play Charles Bukowski.”

Seems Gavin will be just fine. But I’m not.

-Matt

Poem –

I’m addicted to my son’s safety.
I think it’s possible that I’m constantly
thinking about his health and safety
because of my own childhood trauma-
of which he does not have.
Maybe it’s time I let images
of him laughing and running,
with his gleaming eyes and bouncing hair,
flood my thoughts. My trauma is not his.
I need to remember this and to be
better about it. I have such a deep
connection, and love for my son, that I can’t
fathom how any parent or guardian
couldn’t. And there I go, not being
better about it. Back to him running,
and laughing, and being loved.

-M. Taggart

It all started with a hug.

He ran to the school bus. His backpack is a bit heavy, so while he ran he teetered left toward the culvert due to the slope of the mountainside we live on. As he ran his hair bounced on the top of his head. He didn’t fall into the culvert and he didn’t stumble climbing the school bus steps. He was full steam ahead and smiling. He turned four years old four days ago and now he’s on the bus for his first day of school. He waved to us as the bus drove higher into the mountain.

And with him leaving I felt empty. Megan began to cry and said, “I didn’t think I would cry, but I am.”

I was Gavin’s full time care giver from 0-3 years of age. My career declined, I didn’t care. Still don’t. From 3-4 he did go to daycare three days a week. I had my little guy two days per week and recently we took him out of daycare so I could have him back, all to myself, before school started.

I didn’t have a father when I was his age.

From 0 to roughly six months was the most difficult for me. I’m not sure everything was always natural. Loving him was, and holding him and feeding him. Putting his clothes on was not. My fingers are too big for infant clothing and I would become frustrated when I couldn’t get his tiny arms or legs into the clothing. Especially if he was cold and I wanted him to be warm.

I remember many morning simply sitting on the living room floor with him in between my legs. I would sit and stretch my legs into a V and he would bounce around and roll and explore the best he could. Eventually he stood. I have a photo of the first time he grabbed onto a couch cushion and pulled himself into the standing position. It wasn’t long after that he was running and jumping off of the couch. Lots of time outs.

One morning, while changing him, he coughed so hard it sounded like a bark and he couldn’t catch his breath. A funny wheezing sound followed by a another barking cough and difficulty breathing; I thought I was losing him. I held him close to my chest to calm him. He seemed to be afraid an panicking. This was among the most scared I have ever been as a parent. I was alone and needed a doctor and the infant I was holding was in pain and badly sick. Croup with stridor, a double ear infection and a fever doesn’t bode well for small bodies. It hit so suddenly, the sickness, and with such force that I began to cry while dialing the doctors office. I told myself to calm down and I did, but it was hard to speak.

And just now we watched Gavin run, with his backpack on, toward the bus, which was parked on an incline, as he teetered toward the culvert and steamrolled his way onto the bus. Ready for his new chapter.

And I sit and write and relive the entire thing. Since day one.

Matt

first day of school

Adorable Practice. Pre-K students

Gavin practiced riding on his school bus today. He may be the youngest in his class. He’s still three, although turns four soon; it’s an incredible feeling to watch your three year old standing in line with students and teachers waiting to board a school bus.

My pre-k days were half-days. His will be full days. I didn’t jump onto a bus. Times are certainly changing and I admire the attention this district is giving to education and individual safety. Some complain it’s too much. I’ll not be one of them. I find people who often complain are unhappy with their life and most of what comes out of their mouths represents their unhappiness.

Gavin walked up to one little girl and said, “Hi, I’m Gavin Taggart.” He also walked up to his teacher and said, “You’re my teacher.” He had met her once before. Gavin is very social and seemingly fears nothing. Not even the ocean. I had to pull him out of the waves. Ran straight into them. His fascination with life over rules his censorship concerning safety…at least so far. He had only been walking for a few months.

He sat in the front seat with his friend, Jordan, whom he has known for a number of months. Megan and I sat at the end of the bus. Unable to see Gavin. I think moving forward it’s going to be more of the same. We’ll know he’s there, somewhere, and that he’s doing just fine on his own.

Matt

 

 

Cheers everyone!

Oh, Gavin. This mind of yours.

Am I the only one to find creativity in this? I am the father. I wish to not be blind of that fact. However, I can’t unsee the stance, the distance, the background. The use of ‘people’ which are decorations for a home, just not in this instance. In this instance, a soon-to-be four-year-old positioned his people exactly so.

IMG_5083

 

I had no choice but to take this photo and share with all of you.

Thoughts?

Matt

photo taken 8/12/19

 

I’ve always loved the different

Not to bore all of you. But what the fuck. I’ll do that. I gave Gavin a bath this afternoon and after that bath I placed him on our bed, tucked in towels the best that I can, which is nothing compared to how Megan does it- but there he lay, on our bed watching a documentary that he picked from YouTube. The documentary was an hour and a half long documentary about balls being displaced from one area to another via small leverage cranes and elevators. It was much like watching chalk slowly remove itself from being anything. There, Gavin, our soon to be four year old, lay watching a boring chalk show. Happily. He’s a bit different. I’ve always loved the different.

 

Cheers everyone!

Matt

On Keeping Your Children Safe

One of my big fears happened this morning. Gavin fell down the stairs. They are wooden with no carpet to help absorb a fall. There are fourteen steps and Gavin was on step seven. Directly in the middle.

I cringe whenever he walks up, or down, with socks on. The house, and stairs, are new. The oak stairs are stained dark brown, and are slippery. I think about him falling down the stairs in the middle of the night. Among other fears. Megan and I talk often about how best to keep him safe. He’s not yet four and, in our opinion, should not be walking up and down these stairs alone. He was not alone. I was in front of him.

It was early morning. We had just finished brushing our teeth. Gavin held his large T-Rex in his right hand as I stood in front of him and took my first step down. I watched over my should as he grabbed for the railing, held it and started down behind me.

I usually pace him, step for step, until we reach the bottom. Half way down, Gavin stopped and complained about his sock on his right foot. Stating it had something in it. I was now at the bottom looking up at him and gauging a possible fall. I do this with everything when it comes to his safety. I have been called a helicopter parent behind my back because most people are cowards and are afraid to say what they mean while in person. That is not me. I say exactly what I mean and I write exactly that way too. I will happily continue to be a safety aware parent until Gavin no longer needs me to be.

I asked Gavin to sit, trying to trust him more, and to take his sock off. Gavin did this. He then tossed his sock toward me. I had told him that I would fix the sock once he was downstairs. I asked him to stand and hold onto the railing and to be careful because he still had one sock on and that it was slippery on the wooden stairs. He stood, reached for the railing, and slipped. I immediately started up the stairs calculating when I could intercept his fall. Both of my hands were full with sea creatures.

He lost any grip he may have had on the railing and did a split with the slippery sock leading the way. He bounced when he landed, on his side, and the compression expelled his body into the air. I rushed and caught Gavin, with both arms just as his head was about to hit a wooden step. One under his neck and the other under his knees. He looked at me with a stunned expression and started to cry. I nearly did too. I held him like a baby and walked to the couch while asking him if he was OK. He stopped crying somewhat quickly and said that he was. I asked him if it scared him that he fell down the stairs? He nodded yes, but later told me he wasn’t scared.

I was. I still am. I shook for an hour. I had a hard time dropping him off at his school/daycare. I didn’t want to let him out of my sight.

It can happen so quickly. A life changing event. So damn quickly.

I hope you are all as well as possible today.

Matt