RYAN TAYLOR COLUMN: Sidekick
TOWNER, N.D. - There's a new hired hand on the Taylor Ranch. He works cheap - three square meals, at least as many diapers and the occasional juice box. He's just older than 2, long on ambition but short on direction. Since the new baby brother h...
TOWNER, N.D. - There's a new hired hand on the Taylor
Ranch. He works cheap - three square meals, at least as many diapers and the occasional juice box. He's just older than 2, long on ambition but short on direction.
Since the new baby brother hit our house last month, big brother Bud has become my full-time sidekick. Like Matt Dillon and Festus, the Lone Ranger and Tonto, Bert and Ernie. We look out for each other.
He has all the qualities of a good sidekick. Faithful, helpful, ready to go at the drop of a hat.
He doesn't travel light, though. It used to be I could pull down my hat, head out the door and go to work. Not so now.
These days, I need to make sure I have a sippy cup, a blankie, a little container of raisins, a spare diaper and some wet wipes. The back of my pickup has about as many toys as it does tools.
You always can spot a daddy rancher. Just look in the back of his pickup and see if there's a toy dump truck and bulldozer back there with his fence stretcher and post hole digger.
We're still working on channeling his energy. Sometimes the bulldozer fills up my post hole while I'm digging it. Most times, I can stay ahead of him.
He's pretty good at bringing me stuff, even stuff I don't need. But it pleases him to bring me every tool out of the tool box, or empty a can of nails one by one, and it keeps him occupied. It doesn't take me long to put them back in mass.
He helps me appreciate my surroundings. "Windmill, windmill, windmill!" "Cows, cows, cows!" "Trees, trees, trees!" You can't slip anything by him. And he appreciates quick confirmation of everything he's identified.
Like barn cats
I guess you could say that my first born and I are spending a lot of quantity time together. There may be some quality to the quantity, but basically our relationship is blessed with sheer volume. It's a lucky father who has that opportunity.
It reminds me of the barn cat theory of parenting related to me by a reader who's a farm-raised family doctor.
He figures children are like the batch of kitties you find in the hay mow of your barn. You have to get out there and start petting and playing with them when they're little, before their eyes are open. Lots of love early on, and you'll have cats that are tame and useful their whole life through.
If you wait too long to spend any time with them and their eyes open up without any taming and petting, you'll have a barn full of hissing, spitting cats that'll be wild the rest of their days.
When it comes to children, the time their eyes open up is teenage adolescence and the time to be with them and tame them down is when they're infants and toddlers and little kids.
Everything I do on the ranch takes twice as long when my sidekick is helping me, but it's not wasted time.
I'm sure there will be days to come when his eyes open up and I won't be his idol and he won't be my sidekick. Right now, he's pretty sure I hung the moon. And I think life on the ranch without him would be pretty dull.
I wouldn't call him tame by any means, but we are putting in the time.