The Man with the Grey Toupee

It snowed last week. Actual, real snow on the ground that stayed there for an entire day. It was the first time in the four years we’ve lived here that we’ve seen real snow in October and I won’t pretend I liked it. So when the sun shone and clear blue skies revealed themselves again, I insisted on taking the boys outside to ‘enjoy’ the last of the beauty Fall has to offer.

Minor detail: nobody except me likes to spend time under sunny blue skies, so these outings are increasingly painful. Which is code for fairly awful.

It seems the older boys would prefer to spend their entire day[s] alternating  playing Plants versus Zombies and eating pancakes and anything that deviates from that preferred arrangement incites a profuse amount of complaining. That’s code for ‘a lot of complaining’.

And our younger boy is three and, as Tom Hanks said in Sleepless in Seattle: ‘he’s good at it.’ Really good. As in, ask him to do anything besides eat pancakes and he’s going to plop himself down on the floor and thrash about like you’ve just informed him he’s been reassigned to a Siberian family of ice farmers.

If only I were kidding.

So I took dragged the boys out of the house this afternoon and drove directly to North Glenmore Park so we could all go for a walk and experience nature ensemble. We’d been walking for roughly thirty seconds when I simply ‘suggested’ to the three year old that he ‘consider’ walking on the pedestrian path instead of the bike path which is typically reserved for bikes whizzing by at 30km per hour……

He plopped. He wailed. And he was officially on strike from walking – anywhere. Meanwhile the Gort, who was riding his bike, was out of sight. And the Hen was already talking about going back home so he could play Plants versus Zombies. All whilst I entertained visions of dropping them all off at home and going for a walk by myself.

For a month.

But that seemed overly dramatic, so I did my adult-ish best to regroup and we managed to walk more than five consecutive paces towards the Weaselhead when I sensed a fellow nature-lover’s presence behind me. It was an older gentleman wearing a track suit. With what appeared to be a grey toupee on his head.

‘You have healthy, good-looking boys,’ he observed. And I unclenched my teeth temporarily, and returned a semi-genuine ‘thanks’ accompanied by a weary smile. We kept walking and I thought about the tantrums; how I wished my boys loved the outdoors more than a screen. And I thought about his words.

We met again, on the bridge. ‘The other one is also a boy?’ the same man asked, motioning towards the Gort waiting for us on his bike. I nodded, smiling the same weary smile. ‘Three boys,’ he marvelled. ‘And they’re lucky to have such a good, caring mom,’ he added. And I thin-smiled again, because I wasn’t feeling particularly good or caring, and I couldn’t imagine the boys felt particularly ‘lucky’. But even so, I couldn’t help but think this random toupeed man in a tracksuit had sensed my frustration and was offering me kindness and truth.

We were tromping through a wooded area when the Hen ‘asked’ if we were going home yet. ‘Not yet,’ his oldest brother disagreed-insisted, ‘I want to be outside for a while longer. I don’t want to just sit in front of a computer all day.’

4 thoughts on “The Man with the Grey Toupee

  1. I know, right! Twana, I’ll admit I suppressed a snort-laugh when I heard ‘my’ words coming out of the eight year old’s mouth.


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