My wife keeps us on point. When it's just my daughters and me, we lose focus quickly. It's why it took us an hour to buy soap at Target.
Our quest seemed simple enough: get dressed, brush hair, brush teeth. Then along came a spider.
"Dad! Dad! Spider!" my 4-year-old screamed. I was across the hall brushing her sister's hair, and we rushed to see this demonic beast.
It was just a little guy.
"Squish it!" my little one yelled.
I shook my head, held out my hand and the spider crawled into my palm. I explained to my daughters there was no need to be scared.
"Look at how little this guy is and how big you are," I said.
We released it into the garden and took a moment to vote which flower was the prettiest. When we came back inside, my wife asked why the girls weren't ready.
"Spider," I replied.
Nothing with kids is as easy as it seems. It could be a short attention span, but I like to think it's because they have a wonderful zest for discovering the diversity of our beautiful world.
A few days later, my 4-year-old daughter giggled as I drew sunglasses and a bikini on a llama picture in the corner of her llama notebook.
"Dad," my 7-year-old interrupted, "don't get distracted."
We were getting ready for a trip, and I suggested we make a list of the things they wanted to bring with them.
"She (the llama) needs sunglasses if we're going to the beach," my youngest said in my defense.
My oldest then noted, as I drew an overweight unicorn on the bottom of the page, that I often veer off topic.
"You're correct," I declared," Let's do this list."
My oldest directed me to write down "goggles" and "undies" on the paper. Then she grabbed the pen and added sunglasses and a mustache to the unicorn.
It's my wife who keeps us on point. When it's just my daughters and me, we lose focus quickly.
It's why it took us an hour to buy soap at Target. Somehow our quick trip turned into a debate on which type of "squishy" animal was the best; the firm ones that spring back quickly or the softer kind that take its time returning to its shape. If you don't know, squishies are about as popular a toy for little kids these days as anything.
This was after I told them they could look at the toys for a second, but we weren't going to get distracted and spend an hour browsing.
And it was also after my oldest told me that I, too, was getting distracted. Finally, my youngest reminded both of us that we needed to keep moving.
As we walked to the exit, we laughed about how this often happens. And as soon as we got outside, I started to shake my head and give myself the "I'm an idiot" chuckle.
"We forgot to get soap," my daughter said, and we went back inside.
Normally, when I am doing adult things, I am very organized and focused. And when my kids are doing important kids things, they are on point.
But when we are just hanging out, time slips through our fingers.
When we get lost enjoying our own little world, and nothing else seems to matter.
That's the best part of distractions.
It's living at its finest.
Reach Dave at 330-580-8490 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @DaveManley