The Jasper Chronicles

The Journal of a Cynical Dad

Monday, March 20, 2006

Hotdogs and Hockey Games

The Boy and my 'guys' weekend took a turn for the better last Saturday, when my friend Dave invited us to a Vancouver Canucks hockey game. And I'm not talking nose-bleed seats, these were prime Siemans Club Seats, lower bowl, Row 19. What better way to spend a guys-only weekend than going to watch live sports?

At first I turned Dave's invitation down. The game was way past The Boy's bedtime, and his entire evening routine would be interrupted. But after talking to a few other parents that took their babes to a game, "... they loved it." "... fell asleep on my lap...", I thought this just might work. Besides it was either this or Caligula.

The seats were as good as I thought they'd be; center ice, just above the glass, servers bring beer to your seats - it was shaping up to be a great night. The Boy and me taking in our first hockey game together, I just might be the best Dad in the whole world.

The referee dropped the puck, the action was fast, I thought about ordering a beer. The night had all the ingredients of going from good to great. Then at 6:43 of the first period, that's when The Boy started to cry.

I've always been proud of how adaptable The Boy is, he usually just blends into any situation we throw at him. On this particular night, my easy-going baby hit his easy-going threshold. It was past his bedtime, so he was overtired and cranky as it was. Then throw in the neon, music, flashing lights, people and loud PA announcements and we had ourselves a recipe for a meltdown.

I spent the rest of the first period in the concourse trying to calm him down, but even the food court provided little protection from the ceaseless neon and PA announcements, "Guests in section 112, row 16, you've just won yourselves a free hotdog..." "Laura Lewis, you've just won yourself a free lunch courtesy of Subway Sandwiches." " pepperoni pizza courtesy Boston Pizza." (Apparently all of the night's contests involve some sort of processed meat).

Just as The Boy started to doze, the PA would boom in with another meat raffle or something and he'd startle awake. "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, [Canucks mascot] Fin will now shot prizes into the crowd." Lord, I dearly hope he wasn't firing hoagies.

And so it went for the next hour. He'd start dozing, the PA would boom, he'd start crying, I'd get him settled. Repeat. Forget about watching the game, it was all I could do to settle The Boy down. He was freaked, verging on terrified; I felt like the worst dad in the whole world.

Eventually Dave, the nice guy that he is, suggested we watch the rest of the game at my house. I felt so badly, living where he does he doesn't get a chance to see too many Canucks games, and now he's leaving before the second period is even three minutes old. Dave, if you're reading this, the next game is on me.

Sunday morning The Boy wakes around 6:30. Usually P feeds him in our bed while she dozes. And sometimes The Boy dozes again or contently plays by himself for a while longer. I can't feed him in our bed, but I'm tired so I'll try dozing with him. No such luck, he spent the rest of the morning scratching my face and kicking me in the nuts. Payback for the previous night I guess.