Kids In the House
Kids will believe almost anything you tell them, which is the foremost reason why they are more fun than dogs.
That and kids eventually learn and retain the fact that expensive loafers should never sub for a midnight snack in a pinch. On Monday night, Constance and I babysat for Kyle and Holly’s children, Helena and Avery. Adding little ones to the fray of dogs, cats, and childless adults was a blast, but an equation that, had it not been perfectly balanced, would have left us with a bunch of incompatible figures.
Two new interns started at work that morning, so I was forced to deviate from my normal routine, going home to walk the puppies and eat lunch, to take the youngins out for Thai food. When we got home, Holly and the kids already were waiting for us and I knew pandemonium, concussions, and tears would ensue if my energetic hounds were allowed free before exercising.
So while Constance fed Helena her requested dinner of strawberries, carrots, and a scrambled egg, and rocked Avery in his car seat, I took the dogs, one by one, for 30 minute runs in the rain. Well, it was rain when I ran Hazel, but by the time I was 15 minutes into Marcy’s run, it began to thunder, lightning, and drop buckets upon my bald head. Both dogs have metal collars and with each strike of lightning I ratcheted up the pace to avoid being that idiot on the news that everyone says, “Well it serves him right for running during a thunderstorm warning.”
Once I got dried, showered, and clothed, Helena wanted to spend some time “cleaning” our bedroom. Her first act was to move the always pesky TIVO from the dresser onto the floor.
“You’re doing such a good job cleaning,” I said. “But the TIVO has to go up here.”
“Why?” she asked. Helena is entrenched in the “why” stage, and I have found the best way to make the whys go away is, to be honest, and practical. I would have to speak to her sensibilities to make her understand my own.
“Because the TIVO finds it more comfortable up on the dresser,” I said. “That’s TIVO’s bed and he thinks it’s too cold on the hardwood floors to sleep.”
“Because if you put it down there TIVO has to sleep on the floor tonight. Do you like sleeping on the floor where it’s cold?” I asked.
“No,” she said as she stared thoughtfully at the TIVO. “Put it up,” she commanded five seconds later.
One night with a proper excuse to jump up and down on the bed and to dispense candy for going to the bathroom mostly in the toilet was a blast. Watching Helena crouch inside Constance’s skirt to escape the interested puppies, sitting with Avery to watch football: We packed a lot of “what if” scenarios into 4 short hours. Helena even proved a stellar playmate for the dogs, chasing them in circles around the living room. Avery pretty much was a lump to which we had to deliver a bottle from time to time. As a challenge to myself, I also did the laundry, picked up the condo, and made dinner. I even kissed Constance and held an adult conversation about the book I’m currently reading.
I wanted to know if we could handle it, all of it, and while it’s impossible to gauge what daily life with a kid is truly like until you’re a parent, it was reassuring to know we could manage at least 4 hours. And it even was almost business as usual.
When we went to bed, however, we realized that in “cleaning” our room, Helena had moved all of the contents of my bedside table onto Constance’s table and vice-versa. As I returned the book of crosswords to my side table and the alarm clock and Sudoku to Constance’s I got a little sad they were gone. When I woke up at 7:30 AM the next morning following a night of uninterrupted rest, however, I was thankful for the memories, but mostly for my sleep.
But I’m more than ready to be sleep-deprived when the time comes. There’s always more anti-aging eye serum to be had …