It was Father’s Day, and as I stepped out from my shower I hear from across the room the sound of my bedroom door slamming. Then I hear, “1…2…3……10! Here I come big daddy!” Evidently Matt and Kaylee were playing hide and seek and she’d shut herself into my bedroom to count and wait for Matt to hide. She opened the bedroom door and streaked out into the living room and it wasn’t long before I heard her shriek with laughter as she “found” Matt hiding.
Matt is absolutely wonderful with our kids. They adore him and are constantly begging him to play, and he plays with them as often as he’s able to. Most of the time this is a wonderful thing. He knows the things that will get each of them laughing like crazy and he’ll make sure to do each and every one of those things. No one gets left out, everyone gets a turn to be laughingly tortured by their dad.
They all love to play hide and seek with him, though most of the time they don’t even bother counting. Matt will sneak off from whatever game they were playing and hide in plain view. The number of times my husband has hid behind the open pantry door and had the kids walk right on by him without peeking around it to see if he’s standing there. Or had him lying on the couch underneath a blanket and the kids come running to me asking if I know where daddy went when the giant lump of a daddy is lying less than 2 feet behind them. It really doesn’t take much to pull the wool over my children’s eyes, and I really couldn’t ask for a better father to my children.
Unfortunately, parenthood is not always sunshine and lollipops. There are moments when everything that could go wrong with the kids does, and the past week has been just that. It started last weekend when we had some friends out to the house to play games. Things were going well, and we were having a great time, laughing, joking, and occaisionally actually getting some game playing done.
In the midst of all this Brendan began to make some poor choices. I will be honest, now that a few days have passed I can’t even remember what sparked the problem. But whatever it was, it soon became apparent that he was travelling down the path of no return and would be in full blown meltdown mode in no time. Matt and I did some tag team parenting and continually relieved one another so as not to lose our own cool. It was a miserable experience. It’s bad enough when we have to deal with that type of situation privately, but to have to handle a situation like that in front of our friends was mortifying.
They all know Brendan pretty well, so it’s not like they didn’t understand that this type of thing happens a lot for us, but if my memory is serving me correctly this was the first full blown meltdown they had to witness. It brought the game to a screeching halt and put a big damper on my spirits for quite a while.
And if that had been the only incident from the week I would probably have just chalked it up to a bad day and forgotten about it. But the kids seemed determined to do all that they could to make things miserable. Kaylee started out the week really well with her potty training. She went three solid days with zero accidents. After those three days however, she went to the other extreme and I had a hard time keeping up the laundry enough to keep her in clean clothes.
Then in the midst of all that, I was laying in my bed one afternoon trying to get Kaylee to go to sleep since she’d been cranky all morning. Just after I got her to doze off, there was a small knock on my bedroom door. Brendan opened it and said that he’d tried to make it to the bathroom in time and missed. Now Brendan has never been one to have many accidents. He potty trained way later than most kids, but once he did we were pretty much accident free. If he said he needed to go potty NOW that meant you had at least 20 minutes to find him a bathroom.
So when he said this I pictured that he’d leaked a little on the floor accidently. I told him to use some toilet paper to clean it up, and I’d be there in a couple minutes to scrub the floor. In the minute or two it took me to rouse myself off the bed, he was back at my door holding a full roll of toilet paper that was completely soaked. He explained that he’d accidentally dropped it and it had gotten all wet. Now realizing that the accident might be a bit bigger than I initially thought, I followed him back to his bathroom.
The first thing I noticed was that there were wet spots in my carpet leading from my bedroom all the way back to their bathroom. Upon arrival I saw that he hadn’t just missed a little, he’d missed the entire thing. Gritting my teeth I helped him finish cleaning up the mess and got him changed into clean clothes. I bit my tongue and tried not to lecture him because in reality he’s never really had a problem making it to the bathroom and everyone is entitled to make a mistake once in a while. But when he came out and asked me if I was happy with him, I had to admit that I wasn’t exactly thrilled.
Then we had swimming lessons to deal with. That in itself would have been no problem, but the two little ones were determined to make me feel like the world’s worst parent with no control over my children. Tuesday, I misjudged how early we’d have to leave for swimming and we arrived just as class was beginning. I told the boys to take off their shirts, shoes, and glasses and go join their class. Brendan quickly complied and was ready to go in an instant. Cameron, however, decided that rather than take off any of the things I’d instructed him to he would instead shimmy out of his swimming trunks, effectively baring his private areas to the entire swimming lesson.
After surviving the shocked stares of the parents and swim instructors I figured I’d weathered the worst and things could only get better from there. Wednesday, Kaylee decided to prove me wrong. We arrived at swim lessons way early as I continued to figure out what time we needed to leave home to get to lessons on time. We sat on the bench with the boys and waited for their instructor to arrive. Once the boys were on their way to the pool with their teacher I took Kaylee up into the stands. By this time multiple parents were milling about trying to get their little ones settled as well.
One such parent was effectively blocking the entrance to the stairs that lead up into the stands. Though I’ve tried hard to teach my children to say excuse me whenever they pass in front or someone or just want to get by, Kaylee proceeds to look at this mother and say (quite rudely), “Get out of my way!” I blushed horribly as the woman did step out of the way, apologized profusely as I walked by, and promptly reminded Kaylee that we say excuse me. She stopped on the third step up, and said very loudly, “excuse me please.” I guess late is better than never…
But the straw that broke the camels back this week was having to bleach my bathtub two days in a row. We had an unusually un-busy weekend. Matt had to work early in the morning on Sunday, but other than that we had very little in the way of plans. This meant that I was able to take the time to give the kids play baths. Our busy schedule will a lot of times mean that I will complete all three of their baths or showers in under 20 minutes. That doesn’t leave much time for playing.
Each child gets their own separate bath, and gets around 30 minutes to just play with our bathtub toys. The order they get their baths in varies based on what we’re doing at the time and on Friday Kaylee got her bath first. For a long time we had stopped giving her play baths because she would so frequently poop in the bathtub. Recently we’ve started allowing it again because that problem seemed to have stopped. Unfortunately with her potty training these days pooping has become a problem again. She refuses to do it in the toilet and therefore tries to hold it in until we put her into a diaper for overnight. Evidently the night of her bath she wasn’t able to make it until bedtime and pooped in the bath.
This meant we had to pull her out of the tub and bleach both the bathtub and all of the toys. This would have been bad enough on its own, but the next day we were giving the kids another set of play baths and this time Brendan got his bath first. After he’d finished his bath and gotten himself out Matt went into the bathroom to start running the next bath and discovered that Brendan, yes my 9 year old, had pooped in the bathtub. Which meant another batch of scrubbing and bleaching of the tub itself and all of the toys.
It was at that point where I had a minor breakdown. The amount of bodily fluid I’d dealt with throughout the week combined with the utter mortification my children had put me through was enough to send me over the edge. I needed a break. So Matt and I did something that we rarely do for ourselves. We got a sitter for the kids and took ourselves out on a date that very afternoon.
It was nothing spectacular I suppose, all we did was go and see a movie. But for three glorious hours I didn’t have to listen to whining, crying, or worry about who was going to soil what next. It was an opportunity for me rest, relax, and reset so that when we got home from the movie I would be closer to a normal human being than a homocidal maniac.
I’m so thankful that my hubby recognized the urgent need I had to just get out of the house and away from the chaos. We had an extraordinary date together that night, and I look forward to the next time we get the opportunity to do it again. I know it’s a bit late, but I’m thankful every single day to be married to the world’s best husband and father. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to spend my life with.
Thank you, Matt, for all that you do.