Jonah had an enjoyable 30 minutes at lapsit today, followed by another interesting 15 minutes which began with him walking over to the fish tank after I asked him if he wanted to look at the fish. This could be a coincidence, but I don’t think so. If he’s not understanding at least part of what we’re saying sometimes, he’s faking it awfully well. This fish tank episode was all that much more impressive since the tank is outside and around the corner from the lapsit story time room in the library.

I had a disquieting experience on the way out, though. I was carrying Jonah to the car when we passed a woman and her bundled up 3 or 4 year old daughter going the other direction. The woman looks at us and says, pretending to be Jonah, “Daddy, I’m cold. Put my coat on me.” I kept walking, but I had half a mind to yell at her to mind her own business.

Jonah was fine, of course, wearing a couple layers and surrounded by the red jacket this woman was so insistent he wear. If we’d been staying outside rather than making a quick trip from library to car, Jonah would’ve been wearing his coat. We weren’t so he wasn’t. When we reached the car I checked the boy. Hands warm, forehead warm, chest warm…heck, he was warmer than me, and in shorts, tee shirt and light Adidas jacket I was fine.

All of which is rather beside the point. Friends and family have thankfully been very good about letting Erin and I bungle our way through parenthood. And I appreciate it. It’s not that I don’t want to be good at fatherhood. I do and I think I am. But it is an experience that I want to meet on my own terms and in my own way. This is my child to raise as I see fit, and though I may ask for and gratefully receive advice from those “in the know” from time to time, for the most part I’d rather make my own way through the jungle of parenthood. Unless it’s an emergency of some kind, I neither want advice nor am inclined to take it.

And that goes double if it comes from some lady at the library whose little girl is bundled up to look like the Michelin Man.