Thursday, January 21, 2010

"The Babysitter"

With the captain gone, and the first mate at the helm you can be guaranteed that the next five days will be nothing like a Norman Rockwell painting...that is... unless you are really, really, REALLY familiar with Norman Rockwell paintings - and then the next 5 days might very well be exactly like one Norman Rockwell painting in particular - "The Babysitter".

First featured on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post on May 20, 1916, "The Babysitter" says in ZERO words what I will certainly fail to say in 500. But oh well....

Sending my wife on a 5 plus day 'Wocation' - is a recipe for disaster. I variably believe that if you asked 10 women how their husbands would fair for 5 days with the kids, 9 out of 10 would say without batting an eye, "They'll kill him. They will eat him alive."

And so like David, Daniel, and Horton before me I will attempt to slay, tame, and reason with what Norman so aptly depicted 93 years ago as ridiculous. I will man the fort. Well, actually more like co-man the fort... at night, when Grandma is at class, and during the times when all the little wild things are generally sleeping (which really starts to make my previous biblical references and literary innuendo all a bit melodramatic now, doesn't it?)

But wait, isn't that the point? I mean, isn't that what we "men" are suppose to do? No man on the planet gets any credit for encouraging his wife to have a girl's night, day, weekend, or week-out if everything is fine in her absence.

Surely the bath is a bit warmer, the "me time" a bit sweeter, the book just a little better, if and only if there is an "understanding" that we are barely keeping it together on the home front.

So we smile, wave, and send them off for their fun - knowing that all will be fine...but never planning to admit it.

And...then...reality kicks in. The "understanding" starts to feel less and less like a secret handshake and more and more like a secret conspiracy.

It's day one...really this should be nothing, right? Day big deal. But then things start to unravel...Your daughter needs a hair-do and you realize you don't do hair do's well...or at all. Your son needs a birthday gift.--no biggie, but then you realize that you need to wrap it. And so you are forced to think man-numbing words like "gift bag" and "tissue paper". Car pools, meals, homework, and blowouts all start to pile up. You realize how sticky honey really is and that there's a reason that you wait to put the kids in pajamas til' after meal time.

But worst of all, you roll around at night tossing and turning and unable to sleep - not because there is someone bumping you, taking the covers from you, or asking you "did you hear that?", but precisely because there is no one doing that.

Day one may be over for this little sitter, but there are still many ahead. I hope we can keep it together.


Ben and Shara said...

Where did you send Amy?
She never mentioned her location. It must be some place great.

Pete said...

Christina doesn't think it's baby sitting when they're your own kids. ps - she has them in their pajamas every night for dinner

Kerianne said...

Whoever Christina is has a point, but perhaps the fact that he does call it Babysitting only furthers the point of his blog and brings loving tears to the eyes of his wifey from a a foreign computer screen.
Ace Man, hold in there. Keep Pizza Hut on speed dial, and arrange as many play dates... at the other kids house... as possible.

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Erika Joy said...

I just stumbled onto your blog too, and I think it's great :) i'm definitely going to follow you!!!! im excited about the saving the world thing!!!!! maybe if im slightly entertained by your family at the same time, that would be a plus :)