It’s been awhile since the trials and tribulations of being a dad have elevated to blog post level, but recently my lovely wife went on a work “vacation” to Denver and my Super Dad powers were put to the test again. As the title states, things didn’t go according to plan.
A 4pm drop-off at the airport…seemingly fine, but the 4½-year-old fell asleep on the way…which translated to a 40min nap at the end of the day. Parents know that’s never a good thing. When we returned home from the airport, Q woke up and declared that we must go to the Mexican restaurant that I was planning to take them to the following day after school. Mexican food did sound good, so I complied. The kids were great at the restaurant, we went home and got ready for bed; in general life was good. Then I got dropkicked in the teeth by Murphy, metaphorically speaking, which set off a chain reaction of follies that were not funny at the time.
After the kids fell asleep, I was enjoying my television watching, snack eating, and the reassuring feeling that I had made it through phase one of our time without Mommy. I got ready for bed and 30secs after I laid down, the little one started coughing. Literally, 30secs. I had the internal dialogue that every parent has had when their child coughs in bed; “Maybe it was just a one time thing.” Then I waited. Four whole seconds passed before she coughed again. Over the course of the next 20 minutes, I got in and out of bed to get her water, wipe her nose, and try to get her back to sleep, but clearly she decided the night Mommy left was the night she couldn’t sleep without being held. Three hours later she fell asleep, which put us at about 2am. At 5am she woke up and never fell back asleep. At 5:30am the big one woke up and never went back to sleep. At 6am I gave up and we were all up for the day.
At the time, I thought that was going to be the worst of it. A hilarious, yet heartwarming story about a dad taking care of his sick baby. Then these things happened later that day:
- I contracted the little one’s sickness and felt like death. To the point where my nose was running like a faucet and I had to walk around with a Kleenex stuffed in there so that I didn’t drip snot all over everything all the time. (Both children were perplexed by that ordeal.)
- After getting one child to sleep, the second one started hollering because he was missing his monkey-shaped, snuggle blanket…which I had sent to school because I couldn’t find his school one…so I tried to offer up a different stuffy, which we couldn’t find in his bed in the darkness… upon turning on the light I found a little boy with blood all over his face, blood all over his pillow and blood on my shirt…perfect time for a bloody nose. While we were getting cleaned up, the little one woke up and started coughing again. After a wardrobe and sheet change, I finally got the big one at least laying down in his bed and not crying or yelling (a big victory after a bloody nose), went to get some cough syrup for the little one, only to discover that we were so low on medicine, the syringe would not reach the bottom, which meant I had to give it to her with a spoon…in her crib…after she’d been awoken from slumber. I’m pretty sure most of the cough syrup ended up in my hand.
Our five-month-old German Shepherd was very perplexed by the whole thing and kept darting in and out of the kids’ rooms, which also did not help the situation. Speaking of the dog, he’d been cooped up all day, so he wanted to constantly go outside…in the rain. This is the same dog who, before the bedtime fiasco, spilled his entire bowl of water in the kitchen and ate Q’s bedtime snack out of his hand when he was standing in the kitchen (which is very traumatizing for a small human).
Eventually, when all parties were in their beds and/or not outside in the rain, it was 9:30pm and I was going to try and eat some dinner. Literally, the second…dare I say the precise moment I sat down to eat, the little one started hollering for “Daddy.” When I walked in her room I could smell what the problem was immediately. “Shit,” I thought to myself. And I was right. A blowout, no less. So…new jammies, a new changing pad cover, a new diaper, another round of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” and we were back in business…at 10:15pm…on three hours of sleep. At this point, I just wanted to eat some fucking pizza rolls, but I thought I better text the events of this horrendous day to K for documentation. I started typing this epic story in text form, knowing she would get a kick out of it, only to have my phone inexplicably restart when I was ¾ of the way through, so I had to type the whole thing twice. As you can see, Murphy was clearly winning this competition I didn’t know I entered.
I woke up the next day feeling refreshed that I got five solid hours of sleep before I had to start checking on the various children that were calling for me in the middle of the night. We were all up by 6:30am. While I was getting the little one dressed and ready for the day, the big one came into her room and informed me the dog was licking something in the living room. I walked out there to discover that there had been some sort of “shit massacre.” Poop all across the room as far as the eye could see and even on a backpack that was on the floor. Seriously, like nine piles of feces. (There were probably 11, but the licking Q had heard was likely a puppy trying to get rid of the evidence. Shithead.) So, I halted everything I was doing, put the dog outside on his rope (in the rain), and started cleaning. One kid was half-dressed in her crib, confused about why she couldn’t join the shit party, and the other wanted me to cook him some bacon for breakfast. Everything was going swimmingly. Somehow, we were only 20mins behind schedule, which is pretty close to actual “Stein Time,” so I called that one a win.
It was around this time that K informed me that there was a blizzard in Denver and she wasn’t going to be home on Wednesday. “No problem,” I thought to myself. There’s nothing else that could possibly go wrong. Plus, we wouldn’t have to go to the airport on swimming lesson day.
Day 4, swimming lesson day, started off like a kick to the head, or, more accurately, a bite to the face. I was in with the little one, getting her changed and ready for the day, when I heard tears from the big one. Legit tears. Q slowly walked into H’s room and through the sobbing said the dog bit him. “Where?” I asked? “My mouth,” Q sobbed. Sure enough, his lip was bleeding and the dog came trotting in behind him, at which point said dog received the full wrath of a sick, sleep-deprived, pissed off me. The yelling and hauling the dog out of the room and to his kennel was enough to make two children silent (so you know it was bad). The bite wasn’t horrible…no stitches required…and we may never know why it happened (though I suspect Q contributed to the problem because he told me he was holding the dog around his neck before it happened)…but that son-of-a-bitch Murphy was still at it. It wasn’t until swimming lessons that night that I realized this motherfucker wasn’t going to stop.
Now, tackling swimming lessons with two kids under five by yourself is never an easy task, but when the two lessons are at different times and you have to get in the water with one of them, it makes for a unique challenge that even an iPad can’t solve. For starters, we were 10mins late to our 30min lesson, but we were going swimming, dammit. The big one did great on the sidelines during the lesson, but didn’t want to stop playing iPad to go swimming (the Thomas game is too much fun). Thwarting off whatever that was going to turn into, I promised to purchase an add-on to the game, which I knew was a bribe and didn’t care.
I got the little one changed and back out to the pool deck, leaving behind a Hansel and Gretel-esque trail of raisins because she wanted to do everything herself, including hold her own snacks upside down. When the big one finally got done with his lesson, she refused to let me help her walk, sit on a bench, or close her snacks. As we were getting our coats out of the locker and getting ready to go back out to the pool deck, the little lady walked right onto a wet spot, did the splits, and smacked her face square on the tile floor. The tears were immediate, as was the blood flow from her mouth. I thought she jammed her front tooth back into her gum, or broke it, but it was just a tooth-cut lip.
At this point I thought about jumping in the pool with all my clothes on, just to see what everyone would do, children included, but I didn’t want to tempt Murphy like that. So we went home, I spent two hours getting everyone to sleep, and I finished off the bag of pizza rolls because fuck healthy eating. Healthy eating is for people who don’t have kids or have enough money to pretend like they don’t have kids.
The next morning, I woke up to K informing me that she wouldn’t be home until basically the following day at midnight due to a shitstorm of weather events in Denver, a full two days after her scheduled return.
It was at this point that I started writing a scientific paper about the validity of Murphy’s Law.