It’s official. I’m finally a parent.
Yeah I had a kid before, Frank, but that wasn’t parenting. He was easy.
He ate everything in sight. He would reach over the bag of chips to grab broccoli. He’s eaten more vegetables by the age of 5 than I have my entire life. He’s polite to adults and most other kids. He says please and thank you. He sings to his sister when she whines or cries. Oh and he sleeps. He sleeps like a crazy bastard.
He no longer naps but when he did they would go from 2:30 to 6pm-ish. Yeah, almost 4hrs. He would get up for dinner and go back to bed around 8:00pm and sleep through till 8:30 or 9am. That’s not even the crazy part. When he started walking, he would take himself upstairs and put himself to nap. Not kidding. At first I would stop him to change his diaper and then send him on his way. After a while I just got used to the sight of him dragging ass up the stairs with Lenny/Lambie and listening for his door to shut.
For his first haircut at an actual haircut joint, he sat there and took it. He even followed Miss Courtney’s instructions. When we dropped him for his first day of pre-school, at the ripe old age of two, he never made a peep and never looked back. Been that way ever since.
That’s not parenting. That’s observing.
Frank was on auto-pilot
Frank’s sister is not on auto-pilot. She is always on a collision course with a mountain top somewhere. In the likely event of a cabin depressurization, complimentary oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling. Please affix your own oxygen mask before helping the person seated next to you.
Now I’m a parent. This kid is running my ass off. I have no ass. Although it may have rotated around to my gut. Regardless, I’m running morning, noon, and night with this one. And my complimentary oxygen mask has not dropped from the ceiling yet. Case in point below.
A River Runs Through It
Last week during the normal course of events it became apparent this child will require much more monitoring. Not necessarily in the helicopter dad mode, more of the NSA – Big Brother tracking her every move, mode.
Whilst folding the morning laundry in my room watching Return to Fat Camp: The Thinning, young Anne Marie played on her own in the bonus room. For whatever reason it felt a little too quiet. I shook that off, thinking I can at least fold these socks before I walk down there.
Always go with your first instinct.
This is what I found when I finally got those damn socks folded.
Didn’t van Gogh start out this way?
Yeah, so permeant marker, Sharpie brand to be exact. However, amongst the myriad of things I learned that day was this little gem. Nothing is permanent for moms. They know ways around stuff dudes haven’t even thought about yet. I’m not ashamed to admit my first thought was to call my sister-in-law Rachel. Well, my first thought really was oh sh*t! Tracy’s gonna kill me, I gotta get this off before she gets home!
My second thought was Rachel. No matter the strides made by stay at home dads, the natural instinct to call a mom you know will have an answer for you, proves that we SAHD’s have a long way to go. I knew Rachel would know what to do. And as usual she did. Alcohol wipes and soak in the bath if wipes don’t work. No go on the wipes, a bath it is. This is perfect, AM loves the bath so this should be easy.
So I do a quick mental check of the ole to do list. Lunch first and then bath looks to be the most efficient use of already wasted time. AM says she wants to wash her hands. Perfect. You can’t see it in the picture but her hands were covered as well. This will be like a little pre-soak before the bath and give me a few minutes to get lunch going before she starts busting my balls about being hungry.
Downstairs I go. AM appears and wants to eat. I listen closely for the sound of water running upstairs. I hear nothing and AM says she turned off the water. OK.
Anyone feeling a little twinge right now. Hold on to that.
We eat lunch and kibitz around a bit downstairs, change a big time dirty diaper, etc… After about 40 minutes I can now hear water running. But I can only hear it if I stand in the hall way near the door to the garage. No sinks are running downstairs. Standing at the bottom of the stairs I still can’t hear water running upstairs. But I’ll be damned if I can’t hear water running by the garage door. I pop it open and take a peek. If Frank was there at that moment he would have said something like, “Daddy, why is there a waterfall in the garage?” Indeed Frank, indeed.
Yep, a full blown Niagara class waterfall coming from the garage ceiling. I’m no plumber but I figure that has to be coming from a sink or tub upstairs. Up the stairs I go, taking four steps at a time. When I turned the corner from the top of the stairs my feet were under water. I’m still not sure how this happened but when I went into the hall bathroom the water was up to my ankles.
The culprit… well we all know who the culprit is, but the cause of the river running through my house was a plastic medicine cup placed perfectly over the drain in the sink. The reason I could not hear the water running was because a wash cloth had been stuffed or “gotten stuck” in the little overflow slit in the front of the sink and the faucet was under water.
Believe it or not the Sharpie covered face was now on the back burner. I’m in crisis management mode. This is one area where me being the stay at home parent is an advantage.
Once I got the water stopped, I’m hauling the mail to the garage to get my industrial shop vac. But I know the Vac can only get the surface water. It’s not strong enough to get the water out of the carpet. For that I’ll need my carpet shampooer. I’m not saying there aren’t moms who could get both of those big appliances up the stairs in one trip, but I gotta believe that’s a few trips for most moms. Engaging my big shoulders enhanced by baby muscles and I’m rolling up the stairs with a Sears & Roebuck vintage Craftsman, 5 gallon, 3hp, variable speed, shop vac, and a Hoover Deep Clean carpet shampoo type machine.
It took a while but I got the water all cleaned up. Even managed to re-org the cabinets and drawers under the sink, as they were all filled to the top with water. I’ve been meaning to do that anyway. The water in the garage poured through an already existing hole, so not much to do there but let it air dry. The Vac/shampooer combo worked to perfection on the hall carpet. Aside from the throw rugs in the bathroom needing to be washed and the hallway carpet being slightly damp, everything was back in order. Almost everything.
While all this was going on my Sharpie covered daughter was laying on her back in the dry part of the hall way with her feet on the stair banisters, singing about wanting to take a bath. Not kidding. So I still have to get her in the tub to de-sharpie-ize her and meet Tracy for an appointment in about an hour. Thankfully Rachel was right and after about 10 minutes it came off. Grammy showed up right after that and I was able to shower and make the appointment.
I figured it was OK to tell Tracy all of this when I met up with her since the water and the child were cleaned up. Wrong. The moral of that story is, don’t tell your spouse anything about the kids or house they wouldn’t have seen on their own.
As for the kid, well she strolled to her room to plot her next conquest. As you can see below, contrary to popular belief Emperor Palpatine is alive and well. Not a Star Wars fans – google it.
So this is what parenting is like.