Monday, June 15, 2009

How do moms do it?


This is Ryan. Just in time for Father's Day.

It’s that time of year again when I realize how hard my wife’s life is and, in turn, all mothers’ lives. I’m officially Mr. Mom for the summer. With me teaching high school, we've always kind of agreed that I’d be the “house spouse” during the summer and Lisha would work. Lisha got a job at The Olive Garden as a waitress (ka-ching!) and started training this week. That means all four kids are my full-time responsibility. Add to the cooking, cleaning, feeding, washing, toddler butt-wiping responsibilities, Clark is still breastfeeding, so Lisha has to pump and I have to fight to give him a bottle. It did not go well at all today.

First, we both work at our gym here so that we don’t have to pay $90 a month for a family membership. We work in the day care which is great because our kids get to go with us and hang out at the gym. So, a lady called today to switch shifts at around 8:30 a.m. This was perfect because Luke’s game was in the middle of my shift on Wednesday and I needed to trade anyway. Her shift was at 10:30 a.m. I thought, “This is my chance to show Lisha that all her whining about getting out the door is a bunch of hooey. I can get out so fast and then gloat about it later.” Funny famous last words. How do women do it?

I got the kids fed, did the girls’ hair and changed and dressed Clark – all simple tasks in my inexperienced mind. Here’s how it really went down: At breakfast, as told by Emma in pouts and pointing, I made the cereal wrong. Apparently her cereal needs to be drowning in milk. When it was time to do hair, I might as well have been skinning cats. The sounds that came out of the girls’ mouths alerted me that I was pulling way too tight. I knew Clark would be easy. I change diapers all of the time. What I didn’t know was that the little wet spots on his back weren’t from the spilled milk on the kitchen floor. He had pooped so much that it had come out of his diaper all the way to the middle of his back as well as past his belly button. I didn’t even try to wipe it all off. I put him in the tub and washed everything off with the faucet.

The other mistake I made was allowing him to crawl around naked because I had about five minutes to jump in the shower and get out the door to make it to the gym in time. Seriously! And I packed my backpack, which I now call my DadPack, to make sure I had all the essentials: two pairs of underwear and pants per kid, the digital camera, the zoo passes, three diapers and a newly stocked (and girly) wipe box, two Onesies, socks, and a missionary planner that I am now using to schedule our days. I was NOT going to carry around a diaper bag.

I am happy to report, however, that I made it on time to the gym. The moms laughed as I told them they were all saints. The kids played well until Emma thought she’d carry Clark to me. She dropped him on the floor right on his face. He started screaming that silent, shaking sob and I did my best to comfort him as a bump on his forehead slowly made its way to an Everest-size peak. I nervously glanced around at the other moms, who gave me a pitying “Ohhhh-is-the-little-man-trying-to play-mommy?” look. I ducked behind a wall and sat on a rocker and tried to comfort Clark. Suddenly, another mom swooped in and snatched Clark away as I sat dejected in the corner. And, to add insult to injury, Clark laid his head on her shoulder and looked at me. I swear there was a little smirk on his face as if to say, “You don’t have breasts so you’re not worthy.”

My shift went to 1:30 p.m. and despite my best efforts to include everything I thought necessary in the DadPack, I did not calculate that the shift would go through lunch. Guess what I didn’t pack? Yup, the kids’ lunch. At about 12:45 p.m., Luke started rolling around on the floor of the day care, clutching his stomach and moaning, “I’m huuuuunnngggrryyy! I’m soooooooo hungry!” I had only brought some Kix and a bottle of breast milk for Clark. So, once again, the moms’ judgmental eyes were upon me.

One particularly sympathetic mom walked by Luke, looked at him rolling on the floor and muttered in my direction, “Jeez, what’s the matter with him?”

“Hungry, I guess,” I said as I laughed a little nervously. “We’ll eat when I get off, heh, heh.”

Then, I glared down at Luke and growled, “Luke, stand up! We’ll eat when we’re done!”

"Awwwwww!" he cried. That didn’t satisfy him, especially when Overhelpful Baby Stealer Mom’s son came in with a Wendy’s bag. Luke saw that and changed his whine from I’m hungry to “I want Weeeeennnndddyy’s!”

Just then, Clark started whining a little and I knew it was time to feed him as well. I grabbed the breast-milk bottle and shoved it in his mouth. He spit it out. I shoved it in again. He spit it out again. I didn’t even need to look up to know the pity looks were back. I finally gave up and replaced the bottle with his pacifier. He took that and stopped whining – much to my relief!

My shift finally got over and I met Lish at home as her shift ended about the same time mine did. Clark practically unbuckled himself and sprinted across the room to get to her. Another pity look came my way. But, there are about three months left to this summer. I have time to win him over.


Jill said...

Nicely written, Ryan. I can't wait to see what the rest of the summer holds for you.

Should I mention Emma didn't have her ballet shoes for ballet? Nah. That would just be mean. (I did come to your defense to Gretchen though...just so you know.)

You are a good writer. Keep 'em coming. made me laugh this morning. :)

Sandi said...

Ryan, I am laughing my head off! What a trooper! There are no great mom secrets: it all comes from experience, from having day after day after day just like the one you had. Then, after a couple of years, we finally can act like we know what we're doing.

Good luck!

P.S. Miss you guys!

Anonymous said...

It's not all bon bons and soap operas, now is it? heeheehe


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