Ever since my wife and I saw the movie Baby Mama we’ve joked about the scene in which Steve Martin rewards Tina Fey’s good work with 5 minutes of undivided eye contact. Sometimes when Mary or I need a break from the madness that is parenting our two children, we joke that we need 5 minutes of undivided eye contact. This morning was just such an occasion.
While Mary and I were staring into each others eyes (noticing wrinkles, bloodshot eyes, and other aging blemishes) we did our best to put our kids on hold. For Josiah our three year old, this was very frustrating. He had a question that demanded answering. He couldn’t deal with the attention mommy and daddy were paying to each other and subsequently not paying to him. He needed our attention because he desperately needed us to answer a very important question: “Can seals fly?”
At first it was funny because of the absurdity of the question, but it soon became hilarious as we began to wonder how many times he would ask it as Mary and I stared into each others’ pupils. We counted about 15 consecutive times until he paused and stated in exasperation, “It’s not a very long question.” It was at this point that I lost it. I broke eye contact and burst into laughter. Our attempt at 5 minutes of undivided eye contact ended somewhere around minute 2, but it had the desired effect of bringing levity and sanity to our child-rearing efforts, which had exhausted us by 8:30 this morning.