When I went into labor a few weeks ago, I immediately called my neighbor to see if we could throw three kids her way. I didn’t know if labor would take off at a fast clip at any second, and I needed to know where to put the kids so we could get ourselves to the hospital. My neighbor was game and hosted them all for the morning and afternoon. I called my dad second, so he could be on alert to come down and take over for the long haul, should this really be “it”.
(Pause to consider that- yes- I was in some state of denial that I was in actual labor. Even though I was 99% sure my water had just broke. I still had the tiniest glimmer that maybe the hospital would send me back home?)
Dad came down that afternoon and managed the kids for the next three days. I wrote an extensive Google doc from the hospital bed, outlining school locations and rides and bedtime routines and anything else I could think of. He rolled with all of it extremely well, especially considering he was totally on his own.
I just want the world wide web to enjoy this account of dinner together, on his first night in town. I have changed my kids’ names (as I tend to do) to their internet nicknames because one day when they google their own names I want to preserve some shred of anonymity. Identities are as follows:
Chicken (girl, 6)
Monkey (boy, 4)
Turkey (boy, 2)
Here is my dad’s email:
I thought I was being a real hero tonight when I asked the kids where they wanted to go for dinner. They said CiCi’s pizza. I envisioned a highchair for the little one, crayons and a cold beer. My vision was shattered as soon as I walked in the door. A self-serve buffet with kids all over the place.
I put Turkey down long enough to pay for our entrance fee and looked up in time to see him in an uncleared booth drinking out of a glass which someone had left. I got him before he put any of the food in his mouth.
We laid claim to an empty booth and then I set about to help the kids get their food while holding Turkey. I don’t know how you do it, Katherine.
About 15 minutes into the meal Monkey advised that he had to go to the bathroom. I put Chicken in charge of Turkey and dutifully followed Monkey who then announced it was a number two, and that I could stand outside the stall, thank you very much. What followed was an extended period of contemplative musing including a dialogue on the merits of having two rolls of toilet paper in the holder and a complaint that his mother sometimes takes him into the women’s bathroom.
After a while I was little concerned about Turkey and went out to find Chicken attempting to contain him as he gotten out of his booster seat. I returned with Turkey in arms to assume the guard position just outside the stall door. At this point I gently asked Monkey if he could finish the rest of this job at home, as to which he was nonresponsive.
We did make it through the evening, the kids enjoyed the brownies and were wonderfully behaved.
I am a thankful and proud grandfather.