Guest post by Dadda
My wife recently enjoyed a delightful and relaxing women’s trip to the beach. She enjoyed six days and five nights of bliss away from all of the daily rigors of life. When she came home she was rosy cheeked and smiling. For me, well, let’s just say that when she came home my appearance resembled something more akin to an over-the-hill prize fighter that had just lost a boxing match.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad my wife had time to get away, but I’m also thankful that she will not be leaving again anytime soon.
I have kept the kids before. No big deal. They are MY kids too. My wife does this all the time when I am out of town for work. That’s what I was thinking when I kissed my wife goodbye on Tuesday morning.
The first of several “oh dear Lord” moments occurred later the same very night. It was bath time and I was scurrying around trying to pick up toys and put away laundry while the kids were preoccupied with their baths. Then, in rushes my daughter. She was naked, dripping wet and laughing. She gleefully informed me that her younger brother just “made a pooh-pooh” as she points to the bathroom.
Fortunately for me, this dad also has a keen eye for tools. See this photo above? Most people think that is a pretend basket for frying French fries in a play McDonald’s kitchen. No, no, no… it is much more than that. Should you find yourself in similar circumstances, this becomes an excellent bathtub pooper scooper! Then all you need is a cup of bleach, some hot water and the ability to disconnect your mind from the fact that you are actually touching pooh. Crisis averted.
Mama’s vacation also afforded some other luxuries besides just time playing with the kids. I also learned more than I wanted to about their sleeping habits. My oldest two children interpreted mom being away as a license to come and sleep with dad, which they did. We had a ball! We watched cartoons past bedtime. We even ate cookies in the bed; lots of them.
A good time was had by all; that is until it was actually time to get some sleep. By 4 AM of the first night, I awoke for the fifth or sixth time to discover that I was precariously balanced on a narrow six-inch strip at the very edge of the bed. I was being crowded out by two kids that were not even half my size. It wasn’t being at risk of falling out of the bed that had awoken me, it was the judo kick to the ear from a sleeping child that did it. It suffices to say, that if you ever decide to let the little ones sleep in the bed with you, make sure that you do not have an early meeting the next day. As for all of the cookies we had been eating...
This wasn’t staged. This is what it really looked like. Imagine trying to sleep in a bowl of Rice Krispies… yeah, you get the idea.
Pretty much anyone can manage just one night of fitful sleep. Try several nights in row. You see, I’d already set the precedent that sleeping with dad was okay, and I wasn’t prepared to endure the whining that would accompany trying to enforce the normal house rules. The only night the kids stayed in their own beds was the one evening we went over to a friend’s house for a bonfire. You see, his wife was on the same trip which is probably the only reason he was allowed to have an open fire in his yard. Moms, as you may guess, just don’t have much appreciation for the joys of having small children and large fires in close proximity. The kids stayed up late running around the fire and then, mercifully, passed out cold on the drive home.
The week actually went by very quickly, albeit blurry at times from a lack of sleep. My children mean everything in the world to me. That’s why I struggle with some of the emotions and thoughts that I had during my wife’s time away. How does anyone balance the love for your children with the fact that they can easily get on your last nerve? Allow me to give another nighttime example of this dilemma.
One night at about 2AM, the 1-year-old starts crying. I wake up, look at the clock and make a mental note of the time. We always give him five minutes or so to settle himself back down, which he usually does. Five minutes go by… still crying. At this point, I would normally get up and tend to him, but this time I don’t. I’m SOOO tired (in ways that only parents can understand) so I give him another few minutes. Finally after 10 minutes I go in there and, no surprise, he has lost his pacifier. I return it to him, but alas, since I waited so long to find out the source of the problem, he is now fully awake. Worse, he’s decided that it’s time to have a late night party with dad!
I rock. I pat. I hum. He wiggles. He grabs. He talks. Thirty minutes go by and he is no closer to getting back to sleep. I finally surrender and take him back to bed where his brother and sister are still sleeping. Miraculously this works and the little guy nestles in right beside me, our heads touching, and goes to sleep. This lasts for maybe an hour. Sometime later, I notice that he’s starting to move around a bit. I don’t move a muscle lest he goes back into party mode. After a few more minutes of this, I start to pray for God’s mercy.
The Lord may work in mysterious ways, but he most assuredly didn’t have me at the top of his list that night. I can hear that my son has propped himself up on his elbows. He then begins to pat my face. I don’t move. I am still hoping and praying he goes back to sleep. Nope. The next sensation I feel is a tiny finger being shoved at full speed up my nose. My son cackles in amusement and, in the process, wakes up the other two kids. The battle is lost.
Wife, mom and full-time marketing pro. Diet coke addict. Auburn fan (and alumn). Christian - striving to comprehend grace.