3/25/09

Dad, Beware of Children

Warning: This material might not be suitable for all readers. If you’re thinking of having kids, trying to have kids or one day want to have kids; please stop reading here. The material in this post may deter you from wanting offspring. If you are already a parent of young children, I’m sorry…

When I think of what Hell would be like, I think of the time period of my life from August 2005 until about December 2007. Those two-plus years seem like a lifetime away to me now, yet at the time they felt like an eternity to live though.

Now, before I go any further I’m going to tell you that I love my children to death. BUT when they become teenagers and they argue with me about why I’m not allowing them to do a certain something, I’m telling them it’s payback for what they put me through during this time period.

Let’s set the stage for you: In August 2003 Cookie Bear was born and Junior Bear and Peanut Bear were just turning 2 years old (they are twins). I was playing Daytime Daddy, working mostly nights (usually until about 1 am) and then getting up at the crack of dawn to take care of the trio (so that’s about five hours of sleep per night). The twins were napping just once a day by this point and I was trying to find any moment I could to catch cat naps.

I’m sure you could imagine what it is like to watch after two very active 2-year-olds. Then, throw a newborn into the mix and it had this dad begging for mercy (or for at least multiple shots of whatever whiskey was in the house, unfortunately there wasn’t any).

Needless to say, this time period was by far the toughest of my life.

Anyway, it wasn’t too long after Mama Bear went back to work, I decided to try and take the three kids out to run some errands. However, I quickly learned that stores like Target, Wal-Mart, CVS and the local supermarket weren’t meant for people to shop at when outnumbered 3-to-1 by the younger species.

At first, I tried. I really did. But on my first trip I learned that the stroller wasn’t going to work, because I couldn’t push a stroller and a shopping cart at the same time. And the stroller could fit only so much into it. So, that idea failed (not the first time one of my great fatherly ideas failed, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last either).

So, my next option was trying to find a shopping cart with the two seats at the top to put the twins side-by-side and Cookie Bear in the basket in the baby carrier. However, half way through my first trip like that, I realized there were only so many canned goods you could put on a newborn before someone would call the cops.

I joke, nobody called the cops. I’m a little smarter than that.

Then, I tried keeping Cookie Bear in the carrier and putting her at the top of the cart and allowing Junior Bear and Peanut Bear to “help” me shop. Before I even get into how quickly I realized that didn’t work, let me tell you it’s not easy chasing two 2-year-olds through a busy parking lot.

So, after all of this I came to the realization that I was going to be held up in the house for a good long time.
I did find some creative ways for a juvenile father to entertain himself with three kids, but that’s a blog for another day. Right now I’m sharing with you the “creative fun” three kids had with a juvenile father.

Don’t get me wrong, there were times when I would get out of the house during the day, but that was just three times per week when I would drop Junior and Peanut Bear off at a local daycare school.

See, Mama Bear thought it would be good for them to interact with other young kids their age for a couple hours. Easy for Mama Bear to say, it might have been a good time for the kids, but not so much for Papa Bear.

When I went to pick the kids up it was total chaos. I mean total and complete chaos. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. It was the blind leading the blind.

I would walk in carrying Cookie Bear in the baby carrier, and once I got into the classroom door I would get bombarded by a bunch of runny-nosed 2-year-olds. And when I say a bunch, I mean 10-15 easy. Every kid in the classroom came at me. I felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop.

There were a few times I managed to keep Cookie Bear snot free, but there was always, and I mean ALWAYS, another obstacle to overcome. It was never an easy time getting them to and from school.

When I went to pick them up, as soon as I opened the door to let them out, all heck broke loose. Peanut Bear would run down one hallway and Junior Bear would shoot the other way. I would then have to, quickly put Cookie Bear back inside the classroom and chase after the other two.

After I caught up with them and got Cookie Bear back (now full of boogies I should add), it would take some creative thinking to get each jacket on without another track meet breaking out.

Honest to God, I don’t know how I did it. Whatever trick worked one day, wouldn’t work the next. I felt like some magician playing to the same audience every day, having to always find a different way to pull the same rabbit out of a hat everyday just to keep their attention.

Trust me when I say, that if you asked me when I was 25 what I’s be doing when I was 30, it would not be playing “playing peek-a-boo in a public place with three kids.”

Anyway, IF I got the jackets on the kids (sometimes I would have to pick and choose my battles and give up on the jackets), they would both want to be picked up and carried to the car. Of course just five minutes earlier they wanted to run; now they want to be picked up.

Why?

I have no idea. It’s just the way it was.

But I couldn’t carry both; I was already carrying Cookie Bear in the baby carrier. So I’d have to pick one (usually the one making the biggest fuss) and the other would then either decide to sit down in protest, leaving me there, sweating (literally sweating bullets like some idiot) while I struggled to carry a 2-year-old in one hand and a baby carrier in the other. Or -- get this -- the other one would run, and I mean shot-out-of-the-cannon run, straight for the front door, again making me sweat to catch up.

Let me tell you that this can wear on a grown man. I can’t count how many times I just wanted to start cursing at the top of my lungs.

This was my routine every other day of my life for about six months (that’s when we realized the twins weren’t getting anything special out of the daycare and it was just driving us – I should say me -- nuts).

It only got better when the Peanut Bear and Junior Bear hit preschool the next school year.

Picture this: Cookie Bear’s a year old and too big for the baby carrier; Junior Bear is a tank and Peanut Bear is the boss. (Did I mention I have multiple bosses in my life?)

Anyway, I go to pick up the twins from preschool and Junior Bear takes off down the hall screaming Daddy, yet running away from me (go figure), Cookie Bear is struggling to get out of my arms to play with the same toy Junior Bear just left behind, and Peanut Bear is crying at the top of her lungs that she has to leave.

That, my friends, was my life four days a week for nearly a year. An entire school year!

I bring up this absolute chaos because the other day after I dropped Cookie Bear off at preschool, I saw a mom going through the same thing. Her arms full with a newborn, an older child sprinting ahead of her, and a middle child begging her to pick him up. Not more than 3 ½ years separating the three children.

As she was sweating and holding back what I’m sure were the same curse words I was holding back, I, who am like a pro with one kid, said to her, “Boy, I don’t miss those days!” She shot me a smile, but I knew she was crying inside.

I left that place skipping, knowing those days are over for me!

Look, I understand that there will be plenty of other challenges that lay ahead of me in parenting, but as long as I don’t have to chase after anymore toddlers, I’ll be a happy camper!

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4 comments:

Crystal said...

I am so happy to be out of the toddler years. The boys are only 17 months apart. I remember when one was in a pull-up and the other a diaper and when one on the sippy cup and the other a bottle. I would not do it again for anything.

carma said...

Stopping by from UBP to say "hi" - party on :-)
carma

please stop by my site if you get a chance
http://carmasez.blogspot.com/2009/03/carma-sez-primer.html

Gail said...

Oh, you should have also warned those of us with 2.9 year olds plus a baby on the way not to read!! Is it too late to turn back? I'm very scared of the next couple of years, but maybe I should see your story as one of survival!

Papa Bear said...

Yes. Let's look at the glass as half full. I like it!