Next week’s highlight for the Determan clan is my son’s 2nd birthday. It also has my 32nd birthday, but when you have a child around your birthday, your own big day is effectively skipped by your family for the rest of time. I’ve accepted that.

I’ve said it before, but being a dad has been awesome. Our little guy toggles back and forth between speaking full, semi-clear sentences and uttering pure toddler gibberish, and it is adorable. The way he cuddles up to his mom after waking up is one of my favorite things to see.

He loves coloring, going for walks in the woods and watching football (in small doses) with his old man.

As parents, we are having a lot of fun raising him, but I have to say - and my wife agrees - that our son is absolutely the worst possible age to be for a life of stay-at-home orders and self-isolation.

My wife and I are both working from home and he obviously isn’t going to daycare, so our work lives have now had a great big wrench thrown into them in the form of a 30-pound tornado of a toddler who - when he isn’t being sweet and cuddly - loves to run, stomp and shout, often simultaneously.

If he were under the age of 1, we could set him down in one of those swings or bouncy-seat things and he would take multiple naps, so we could still probably get plenty of work done in a timely manner.

If he were a little older, we would have better luck making him understand that mom and dad need to get their work done. However, your average 2-year-old demands your attention at all times, can be ear-splittingly loud and is absolutely fascinated by a computer, wanting nothing more than to push all 70 buttons on my laptop (yes, I counted them).

Now, my wife has been dealing with this better than I have. She has even had him sit in on virtual meetings and video calls a few times, much to the enjoyment of those on the other end. Personally, writing a story with my little distraction within eyesight is a near impossible task, so I tend to hole up in the basement during work hours. If he isn’t climbing up on the coffee table or trying to lovingly strangle the cats, I would hear an awful lot of, “Dada, what doing?”

On one hand, I’m more productive in my makeshift office. On the other hand, I bet it’s kind of fun to have him around as I work, assuming work would get done.

Regardless, everyone in our house is getting through this tough time, and that’s all that matters.

Our little guy is getting fresh air every day, and his swing set and sidewalk chalk are sure to wear out faster than we would ever expect. All that fresh air means he is sleeping pretty well too, and that is something I will never take for granted.

He’s nearly 2 now, and he’s still the best thing to happen to me.

Dan Determan may be reached at 218-855-5879 or Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at