There are many signs of being a parent that I never noticed before becoming one. Diaper bags are easy enough to identify, but how often do you see a grown woman with a purse full of lizards and snakes? Or see a grown man who unknowingly shows up to work with a Cookie Monster sticker on his pants? Chances are they are parents. When iPads first came out we got a couple of them at work and at the time there were no protective cases available, so Chris made one out of a cloth diaper folded in two. Coworkers without children didn’t seem to notice anything unusual, but it caused a lot of laughter from other parents. Today Chris is traveling to (yet another) meeting. On the way through security one of the TSA agents said “Nice bandaid!” after seeing his feet in the scanner.

Dora the Explorer is probably quite a contrast to the beard Chris grew in Friday Harbor. And it turns out that the beard coincided with deer season in Wisconsin, so several colleagues have been asking Chris if he is planning a hunting trip.

Lastly, I never anticipated what a bonding experience parenting would be. The time we were at the smelt fry in Sheboygan was a prominent example: Everett started choking on a smelt and within seconds there were several other parents around us, none of whom we knew, but nonetheless they were providing plates, napkins and trash cans to clean up the ensuing mess. It has also changed our feelings about travel. In the past when we saw a parent with a screaming child we thought “that poor child”, but now most sympathy is directed toward the parent.

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