Some of you will remember reading about the weekend several months ago when my wife went out of town (also known as the weekend that I took care of our 3 children SOLO).
If you haven’t read it, here you go. All I can say is that when you read it, please be gentle.
A couple of weeks ago, my wife decided to give me another shot. Well, in reality, she had a choice between a girls’ weekend in New York City and another hectic weekend with the 3 gremlins. Despite the shoddy track record of the Daddy childcare service, she chose NYC.
Who can blame her?
This time I was ready. I planned for it. Think about General Patton unfolding a map on his desk, turning on his lamp, lighting up a cigarette, and then plotting a way to destroy his enemy while the smoke fills the dimly lit room. That was me….sans the cigarette. Don’t smoke…never have.
FRIDAY – School, McDonald’s, and a Movie
She left early on a Friday morning – before the babies even woke up. I remember waking up, looking over to the “other” side of the bed, and wondering where my wife had gone. Somehow, I had forgotten that she was leaving. This is not off to a good start!
I am thinking If I were reading this, I would be laughing because the dude thought he had prepared for the impending solo mission of the 3 kids, but he was so unprepared that he forgot his wife was even leaving. Wow, what a bozo! end of self-deprecating thought
Before I could panic, my oldest daughter Ava walked into our room and climbed into the bed with me. “Daddy, mommy went to Nu-Yok-C-tee so it is just me, you, Cole Bear, and Lila all weekend.” The sweet sound of her voice and her calm demeanor gave me a sense of peace. If I could get her, the oldest, to cooperate, the others would surely follow.
The journey began. I got Cole and Lila up and immediately started a movie, so that I had time to make breakfast. Cereal, milk, and fruit. Hey, Emeril I ain’t, but as long as their tummies get filled…that is all I cared about.
I prepped Ava for her Friday “swim day” at school. Book bag – check. Snack – check. Swimsuit – check. Our carpool neighbor picked her up and she was off.
Covering 2 children is not as difficult as covering 3, so my mission got a little bit easier…at least for the next 3-4 hours.
After breakfast, I curled up on the couch with Cole and Lila and finished watching the movie. Then, we played in the floor for about an hour or so until I had to begin the lunch process.
Lunch went pretty smoothly. They all ate well. The one thing I did not plan for is the fact that for about an hour, the requests are non-stop.
“Daddy – may I have some juice?” “Daddy – want more milk.” “STRAWBERRIES!!” “Where is my PBJ?” “Lila doo-doo’ed in her diaper….ewwww! Poopie stink.” “Daddy! Cole asked for more juice.” “He hit me. crying ouchie..” “Where is my other baby?” “I want mommy.”
You get the idea? Basically, imagine a HAIL STORM of requests, statements, demands, and questions all landing on your head at the same time.
Wow, and SHE does this every day. 3 times every day. God Bless You lovely…you are truly amazing.
Hello naptime! Nice to see ya….glad you finally arrived. In our household, naptime = 3 hour break from the unrelenting battle.
That night, my father brought over some dinner for all of us…which made things much easier. Thanks Chief! You rock. Pizza for he and I, and McD’s for the kids.
Somewhere, a nutritionist just fainted.
SATURDAY – The PARK, Bribery, and a BATH!
I had decided that Saturday was the day – the day to leave the house with all 3 without my wife. During my battle planning session, I planned a day at the park for Saturday morning. It was a good plan….and it went fairly smoothly.
Woke them all up, fed them all breakfast, lathered them up with sunscreen, and we were off! When we arrived at the park, I noticed that there was not a single parking space.
Wait, I have been to this park before, and there has always been plenty of parking available. Hmmm
After parking slightly beyond Egypt, and walking across 3 football fields, I finally realized why the parking was a bit “scarce.” It seems as though every mom within a 3 county radius takes their kids to the park on Saturday mornings. Uh oh…this was going to be harder than I thought!
The playing went well. Nobody fell. No broken bones. No screaming. However, I do remember having to keep my head “on a swivel” in order to watch all 3 kids at once. For you football fans/ex-players, you know what I am talking about. For those of you who have never heard that phrase, it means to constantly be watching in all directions – left, right, high, low, right, left, front…..I was watching for that linebacker who wanted to de-cleat me, when really I should have been looking for one of those blonde heads running away.
After the park, I decided it was time for my first BRIBE of the weekend. “Hey guys, if you all agree to behave well, I will take you to Chick Fil A and get you some chicken nuggets, fries, and a milkshake! Will you listen and behave?”
Proposal accepted. As we stumble into “the Chick,” I noticed a shortage of required hands…..I only have 2. I am carrying an 18 month old who is punching me in the face, while holding the hand of a 3 year old, and that leaves the 5 year old to fend for herself. I have a whole new appreciation for my wife and her 14 hands! Although the high school girl had to hand-deliver our meal to the table, things went pretty well. They did behave. Did they eat? Well, they did….but it was after…..
….another BRIBE: “If y’all do not eat your chicken, then I guess we will not be able to go get Ice Cream. Do y’all want ice cream?”
To ask a child if they want ice cream is like asking an adult if they would like to win the lottery. In fact, now that I think about it, the reactions are about the same too. Jumping around, screaming like chimpanzees, foaming at the mouth, etc….needless to say, they ATE everything in site, because they wanted that “I SCREAM.”
After we all bathed ourselves in ice cream, I put them down for naptime. Ahhh, finally some daddy time…I get to watch TV like a vegetable for the next 3 hours. It was just what I needed.
Dishes can wait. Cleaning the counters can wait. Picking up the toys can wait. SHE won’t be home for 2 more days so why do today what I can put off until tomorrow?
After everyone awoke, I decided that it was time to begin the BATH process. You know, the process I forgot last time? (along with hair/teeth brushing…but who’s counting?)
I looked at the clock and it read 4:15. Excellent. Plenty of time. Why does Laura always complain about giving baths? It is not so bad – she should just start earlier.
To be fair, our son Cole has sensitive skin, and requires a ton of prep/post work. Lotions, ointments, special wash, etc. make his bath an especially challenging undertaking. Therefore, I decided to tackle his bath first.
About 5:25 pm, I finished the marathon that is Cole’s bath/skin treatment. I was woozy. How did it take over an HOUR to give one bath? Unreal.
Since 6 pm is dinner time, I still had time to bathe the girls. Luckily, their skin is not special, so the standard bath works fine for them. Still, giving them a bath after Cole is sort of like trying to beat up a puppy after taking a right cross from Mike Tyson! It is difficult because you are still dizzy from the first fight.
Finished all baths at…..6:28 pm. It took over 2 hours to give three baths. Oh, I brushed their hair and teeth too! But still, 2 hours. I am INCOMPETENT. How does she do this?
Dinner was fine, and afterwards it was movie time! Everyone was dead tired including me, so we all hit the sack and slept like babies.
SUNDAY – the day THE ONE comes home!
Laura was due to be home at 7:40 am, so I was excited because my job was finished! They all were clean, had all of their limbs, did not miss any meals, and even had their teeth brushed!
Then the MEATHEAD thought about something: “hmmm, it says on the calendar ‘Laura home 7:40’ but could that mean PM? Surely not. Well, if the flight were to land in Charlotte at 7:40 am, that would mean it would have to leave NYC at 5:40 am. If the departure time was 5:40 am, she would need to arrive at the airport essentially in the middle of the night. Oh no! It means 8 o’clock TONIGHT!”
I wish that I didn’t have to use logic like a middle-schooler to realize what any other adult would conclude immediately…but sadly, I do. I did. Whatever. Makes for a better story.
General Patton had not planned for this extra day. This came out of the blue. Time to improvise! What do armies do when they need to improvise? They build a fort…and that is exactly what I did!
I took every blanket and pillow in the house, and built an elaborate, multi-winged fortress. There was a West Wing and an East Wing. The only way in and out was to crawl. It was a good fort, if I say so myself. Here are some pics.
I was planning on riding the fortress-train for the entire day, until naptime arrived and I realized that the blankets and pillows would be needed for the naps. Also, the entire hallway and 2 bedrooms were covered…it had to be torn down. Noooooooo!
I took it all down, and they all slept fine.
Lunch went smoothly. Dinner was fun. Fast-forward….
I decided to let Ava and Cole stay up until mommy got home…which I had guessed would be about 8:30 pm. Their normal bedtime is 8 pm, so an extra 30 minutes wouldn’t hurt.
At about 8 pm, I put “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” on TV to buy me 30 minutes to clean up the kitchen. I wanted Laura to come home to a clean, orderly house. I knew I could not clean the house in 30 minutes, but I could hide the dirt under the furniture in 30. That way, the next day when the kids pull the dirt out, Laura will think it is a new mess and she can clean it up.
Ladies….please don’t hate me, but that is what I did. I hid the dirt, and I hid it well!
For those females that are scoffing right now, this is what men do. We survive. Please do not think that your kids are receiving the same level of service that you give when you are not around.
I remember in school, when I was a little kid, I would sit patiently and wait for my grade on the most recent test. That is exactly what I did in this case.
Kids were clean. A
Kids were in-tact. A
Dishes were clean. A
Hair/teeth were brushed. A
All medicines/skin treatments were administered. A
House was clean. A Dirt was hidden. C
I had a pretty nice report card, and if she couldn’t find the dirt under the couch, then it would be all A’s!!
In she walks….<kids screaming and hugging and kissing mommy>
“Hi Lovely, welcome home!”
“Wow.” She said wow!!
“I know, the house is clean, the kids are clean, everything is great, right?”
Then she said “no, I mean wow….look at your beard! When did you last shave? Also, you need a shower…I can smell you from here…when did you last shower?”
disclaimer My wife is not a demanding lady, and she does not speak to me in this manner, but for the sake of creative license, I exaggerate. A good story teller always exaggerates. If we told the detail by detail account, everyone would be asleep. This is my blog, so I tell the story the way I want to. That is all. disclaimer finished
I walked over to a mirror and glanced….I flinched. I looked like Tom Hanks in “Castaway” – long, messy, scraggly beard. Bags under my eyes and dirt on my forehead.
Then, I made the single largest mistake I can remember…I sniffed my underarms.
To borrow a line from Dennis Miller….it smelled like a “lady giving a permanent while eating gorgonzola cheese inside the septic tank of a slaughterhouse.”
My nose hairs were offended: “NOOO! How could you do that to us? What did we do?”
This time, instead of forgetting to groom the children, I forgot to groom myself.
WELCOME HOME HONEY….you are married to THIS!