30 April 2015

Bed, Bath, and Out of My Mind

So, last night, there was a 15 to 20 minute period so comically absurd and bizarre that I wish I could describe it as extraordinary and unique. Which I would, if it weren’t absolutely par for the course and the type of event that pretty much defines my entire life.

The wife went out to an event. So I was on my own for dinner, baths, and bedtime. The amount of praise and respect that I demand for this period of time—which is usually no more than 2.5 hours total—may seem fairly unreasonable, but I think I deserve it. Especially after this.

(Of course, there are other opinions. Recently, when I casually suggested that I was “Super Dad” in a week that I took one kid to preschool, hung out with the other one while he was sick, and attended a field trip to a farm where I had to handle multiple goats, my wife’s response was that “Super Dad” was basically just “Regular Mom.” I’m not sure I see her point.)

Anyway, this scenario should explain absolutely everything about my life. So, my kids and I come inside from playing tag (I didn’t want to play tag, but again, Super Dad) and we’re about to get ready for a bath. “I need to poop!” the 3-year-old tells me urgently. He has been very particular lately about things like locations and times and tasks, so I must ask him (presuming will only get me into trouble) which bathroom he’d like to use. “Upstairs!” he says.

So we head upstairs. I help the little one get situated and start to locate clean pajamas for post-bath. (Seriously, Super Dad.) The older one starts shifting his body strangely and gets a weird look on his face.

Me: You have to go too, don’t you?
6YO: I can wait.
(He is not convincing.)
Me: Don’t hold it in. It’s not good to hold it in.

There is only one bathroom available to him at the moment. Downstairs. He is wary of being left alone down there. The little one is also not keen on the idea. There’s a stereo in their room, adjacent to the bathroom. I offer to play music for the little one while we’re gone.

“How about Holly Jolly Christmas?” he asks, excitedly.

Yes, it is April. Practically May. And my 3-year-old is only interested in the Burl Ives Christmas classic. What about last week when you were obsessed with Song 2 by Blur and I was so proud of you? No dice. Okay, A Holly Jolly Christmas, it is.

Set on repeat.

I race downstairs with the older one. “If he gets music, I want music, too,” he tells me. Yes. This is absurd. Ridiculous. But arguing will only extend this entire process. I concede. I tell him I’ll get the laptop and ask what he wants to hear.

But he is fickle. He changes his mind. “Can you just turn the volume up on the monitor?”

I do. So now, Burl Ives is singing about “the best time of the year” throughout my entire house, at full volume, to accompany both my children’s time in the bathroom.

This is actually happening.

The next 15 to 20 minutes (I’m really not exaggerating this figure, as much as it seems like I might be) are spent running up and down the stairs, checking in, fielding completely random questions.

3YO: Dada? I’m done!
Race upstairs.
Me: You’re done?
3YO: No.

Back downstairs.
Me: How’s it going?
6YO: Fine. Dad. You know what Lego set I really want?
3YO: Dada!
Me: Scooby-Doo.
6YO: No. Well, yeah, I want the Scooby-Doo sets. But do you know what other set I really want?
3YO: Dada!
Me: I’ll be right back.

Race upstairs.
Me: Are you done?
3YO: No. I dropped my sock.

Back downstairs.
6YO: You know what puppet I want to make next?
Me: What puppet do you want me to make next?
3YO: Dada!
Me: Sorry. I’ll be back.

3YO: Can I see the poop?
Me: No.
3YO: Mama shows me the poop.
Me: No, she doesn’t.

Back downstairs.
6YO: Is he still going?
3YO: Have a Holly! Jolly! Christmas!

Me: Are you done yet?
3YO: Five more minutes.
Me: Nobody needs this much time.

6YO: I’m done.
Me: Finally. You’re so weird. Who poops at exactly the same time?

His response is completely nonchalant and pointed as if I’ve asked the dumbest question in the history of the world. “We’re brothers.”

Not a reasonable explanation.

This is why I don’t answer emails or Facebook messages or call people on their birthdays. It’s why I can’t tell you which one is Ariana Grande and which one is Iggy Azaelea. It’s why I don’t spend more time writing or planning or thinking or being productive in any way. Because this kind of thing is going on all the time.

Over and over and over again. And so now, if you’ll excuse me, I just want to take a nap. Until July.

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