I think my wife is still mad about my handling of Mother’s Day two years ago. She exacted some amount of physical revenge last year by tricking me into a dangerous kids’ craft project, but I get the feeling she’s still not over it. Mostly because this year she said, “I’m going to Las Vegas for Mother’s Day. You’re in charge of the kids for three days.”
Hmm. Either she’s still upset, or she has absolutely no faith in my ability to provide a satisfactory and appropriate Mother’s Day celebration. Either way, I can’t blame her. But if she was going to leave me alone with all three boys, I would definitely be taking the opportunity to lock in my status as the cool parent. Unfortunately for them, I am far too lazy to actually take them anyplace awesome like the waterslides or the wild animal park by myself, so I did the next best thing to win their eternal love. I let them eat whatever they wanted.
My wife left for Sin City on Saturday morning. As soon as she was out the door I toasted Eggo waffles and doused them with whipped cream, syrup and chocolate chips. Yum! A few hours later we were off to the little league fields for Son Number One’s baseball game, so we ate lunch at the snack bar. Icees, nachos, hot dogs, and Drumstick ice cream cones for everybody! What’s for dinner? Pizza and donuts, of course. The next morning we had more Eggos, this time with extra chocolate chips, and Hershey’s chocolate syrup, just for good measure. Our lunch consisted of bacon. Just bacon. Sunday’s dinner was a little weird. Son Number Two had a can of black olives and half a gallon of chocolate milk. Son Number Three had two bananas and the other half-gallon of chocolate milk, and Number One had leftover pizza and a non-alcoholic beer.
I’m pretty sure I locked in my position as the cool dad with the older two, but I must say, their behavior, and their pooping schedule has been a little off. Probably just a coincidence.
To really seal the deal with One and Two, I announced on Monday morning that they would be getting hot lunch at school that day. That is a rare treat at our house, and I played it off like I was doing it out of the kindness of my heart. Truth be told, I was just far too lazy to pack their lunches in the morning.
Now, although I did a great job of winning the love of his older brothers, my efforts had the opposite effect on Son Number Three. He was upset with me for the entire weekend. Now, it wasn’t because of the menu, but because I wasn’t paying the usual amount of attention to him. My wife has always accused me of coddling him, even going so far as to say, “You’ve never told that boy ‘No’ in his whole life.” That is of course patently false, but she sees it differently than I do. That’s because I have never been totally honest with her about my handling of Number Three. It’s not that I am looking to give him special treatment, it’s just that I’m lazy. I think we’ve established that.
When you have the third child, you suddenly go from man-to-man defense to the zone. Zone defense, from a parenting standpoint, is a lot more work. Because of my inherent laziness, I have been “graciously” looking after the youngest since he was born.
It’s because he’s the lightest.
Invariably, my children want to be held in some fashion or another whenever we go somewhere. Hip, piggyback, up on the shoulders, you name it. I don’t really want to carry any of them, because they’re all pretty heavy, but if I cut my losses and volunteer to carry the littlest one, I’m instantly back to man-to-man defense, and relieved of looking after the other two. “I’ve got Number Three, babe. You’re welcome!” Like I said, I’m lazy.
My wife apparently never saw through my laziness, and assumed I was coddling our youngest. I guess Number Three never saw through my charade either, because apparently he was used to quite a high level of attention.
As soon as my wife left, I was playing zone defense big time. I was fielding eight to ten questions, requests for help, and emergency spill response calls every minute of every waking hour. By the end of the first day, I was ready to sell all three kids to the first person who offered me more than two dollars. I don’t know how my wife does it!
Anyway, when I kept telling Son Number Three that I couldn’t hold him right now, or that he would have to wait a minute until I was done helping his brother, he took it very personally. He kept getting progressively more and more upset with me, ultimately ending each evening in fits of crying and wailing at the slightest transgression by his mean old dad.
Either that, or his strange diet and lack of naps was affecting his mood. Who can say?
On Sunday night he had had enough. Shortly after lights out, he protested my rule of law and declared his never-ending love for his mother by peeing all over the bathroom floor, not six inches away from the toilet. Sure, he cried and claimed to be just as upset about it as I was (the man who was in charge of cleaning it up), but I know he was just putting on a show to avoid any trouble.
I saw through his sob story about how he “just couldn’t make it in time.” He was showing me just how he felt about my handling of the weekend.
I hear ya, buddy. Loud and clear. Mommy will be back tomorrow.
See you soon,
Copyright © 2012 Marc Schmatjen
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