Tipping Pitches: Fatherhood: Mr. Mom Meets ET


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fatherhood: Mr. Mom Meets ET

email to friend edit
My blog's been nonexistent since last Friday. In fact, my social networking presence has completely disappeared. Couldn't stay committed, eh?

No, not the case. Fatherhood, people. Fatherhood.

Starting Friday, I became Mr. Mom when my wife hopped a plane for her 10-year college reunion. It's the way we do in this family. I went by myself for my 10-year, she goes by herself for her own. Really works the best that way. If we both go back, we're stuck worrying about the kids. This way, we know all is well.

So, three days, no big deal. And my in-laws came out to help on Saturday and Sunday since I had a Saturday board meeting to attend, and, well, I could use the help.

Then Lisa got home Sunday night. She was rough. And it wasn't hung-over, talking-too-loud, hanging-out-in-smoky-bars rough. She was sick.

Turns out she has the flu. May even be H1N1. House went into freaking lock-down. It was like on ET when they ripped out all of the plastic curtains and space suits. My wife was sick. But that bug was stopping there.

We felt we had a good shot since it's not like she'd been hanging out with it here. She was in the house for a couple of hours, slept in our room, and went to the doctor. That was it.

So the wife was home, but she wasn't. Sucked for all of us really. She missed the kids, we all had missed her. Then no one got to see one another.

Oh, and it's Fall Break. So let's be honest, I can't really work with three kids running around. The two oldest ones are no big deal. The baby? Please. That's 24-7 maintenance.

I turned my back for a few minutes and everything was pulled from the cabinets and thrown on the kitchen floor. Turned around for a few more minutes and every book in the office is off of the shelves. The kid is trouble. Funny trouble, but still trouble.

His older brothers know this, so they wanted to do their part to help and locked him out of the office. Problem was that I wasn't in the office at the time. No one was. So we were then locked out.

A paperclip and piece of Hubba Bubba later, and I McGyvered my way back in. But it's an example of what I'm up against without a healthy wife.

It's also tough for the older two since they can't play with any of their friends. Even though none of us have any symptoms, we can't risk it. This illness isn't spreading.

So we've become hermits the past couple of days, and I finally had to order Michael and PW to play outside today. But play in the back yard. No friends there.

"Can we play baseball in front?" Only if you play by yourselves. No friends. We can't get them sick.

I trusted them.

Starting to realize that we're getting to that age when trust needs to be reconsidered.

I'm in my office at one point, trying to do some work while JJ is napping when I hear some screaming. Not sure if it's crying or what it is, but it sounds like PW's hourly freak-out.

I open the garage door to emptiness and silence. Call to the boys, Michael wanders over.

"What's going on? Is everyone ok?" I ask.

"Yeah." Michael responds, sheepishly.

"Pee Wee, you ok?"


Garage door shut. Suspicious, but didn't think much of it.

Few minutes later, I head upstairs to get JJ up from his nap. Hear some more screaming. Look out his window, and what do I see? Our yard is a freaking playground of kids. Every kid on the cul de sac.

Think I'm happy? Just wait.

Rush downstairs with JJ on my hip, open the garage door again. Scatter. Silence. No one. Familiar sight.

"Michael! Pee Wee! To your room!"

So, if you couldn't figure it out yet, this is what went down. Michael and PW go out to play baseball. The other kids in the neighborhood also go out. They want to play with Michael and PW. PW tells them they can't, but Michael doesn't argue.

So, they play. But there's a problem. Michael's pops doesn't want this to happen. So, if he opens the garage door, make sure you run away.

So we needed to have a talk. About honesty. And deceit. And respect. And trust.

I made sure to drop the guilt. "I let you play out front because I trusted you." Good old fashioned guilt. It always works.

The scene was pretty similar. I walk in and PW is smiling back at me. Michael is curled up in the corner, knowing that he's in some deep trouble.

The nice surprise was that I didn't need to convince anyone of why this was a problem. The first thing PW said was that moments earlier Michael said it was his fault. Of course, I wasn't going to let PW completely off the hook with his red-headed cuteness.

They needed to write and/or draw about what happened and what they should have done. Take their time. Make it good. And they couldn't come out until I approved their work.

PW is five and in kindergarten, so you have to appreciate whatever effort he puts forth when it comes to writing.  He's at that age when he writes how he hears it.  So, the general translation:

"We should not to hide from you and since Mama is sick even though we're not sick we could still get other friends sick."

The best part?  The picture at the bottom is of two kids playing.  One of them is throwing up.

That's just some good, clean fun right there.  How do you not smile?

Michael's letter, of course, reflected that of an eight-year-old.  A very smart, introspective, and sensitive eight-year-old.

He got off to a bad start with his first sentence:  "It's not nice to deceive you [words scratched out] because it will make you mad."  I think the scratched out words say "Whatever that means."  He at least had a change of heart.

The one lesson I'm trying to teach is that they shouldn't necessarily do what we say for the reason of making us happy.  They should do what we say because they understand that it is best for them.

That may be a losing battle, I know.  It was the first thing I tried to explain to him.  I needed them to stay away from friends so that they wouldn't get sick.  Not to make their lives painful.

But I do understand his frustration (refer to the last sentence):

"I DO want to tell you something -- there is not very much to do when you can't play with friends for over a week."

I sympathize.  I do.  But I'm a parent, and I need to make your life boring and as crappy as possible.


Post a Comment