When you have kids, there are certain guarantees that will happen no matter how high-or-low-strung you are as a parent. Among these are:
–Your kids WILL fight with each other
–Your kids WILL wake you up in the middle of the night just to tell you the have to go potty.
–You WILL wonder if it’s too late to anonymously leave your kids at the local fire station. This thought WILL occur to you when your kids are anywhere between one day old and when you take them to college, which with any luck will be at least a full-day’s drive from your home.
Another thing that WILL happen is that your kids WILL leave their crap everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. I work in San Francisco, but I work East Coast hours. As such, I leave home in the morning before my wife heads out the door, with kids in hand, to go to work and drop the little maniacs off at pre-school. Because of my schedule, I get home at least an hour before anyone else does. And when I do, I am both amazed and impressed at what our daughters are able to drag out and leave strewn about in such a short time in the morning.
Clothes in the kitchen. A trail of Barbie dolls leading out of the bathroom. And always, ALWAYS randomly dropped Honey Nut Cheerios and small, dried up pools of milk on and around the coffee table. I usually spend a good half hour of time cleaning up the kids’ detritus–30 minutes that I could use at the gym, or just on the elliptical machine in our garage, or even sitting on my butt catching up on some of the 15 hours of TV on the DVR that I don’t get to watch when the girls are at home. And picking up all that stuff occurs before I even begin to approach the unloading and loading of the dishwasher.
Weekends are even crazier, with enough stuff thrown about to fill the county dump. This past Sunday, I found myself stuffing the pockets of my shorts with various random things as the day went on and not really thinking about any them until I was getting ready for bed. And then I emptied my pockets. And what did I find? The photo and the descriptions follow:
–A heart-shaped lollipop.
One of our kids brought this home from their Valentine’s Day pre-school fun. Now, I know Valentine’s Day and candy go hand in hand. But I’m not so sure that candy should go into the hand of a three-year-old. Because if you give it to her, she’s going to get hopped up on the sugar, drop the lollipop on the floor or on the sofa, and then rub her sticky fingers all over the sofa, or worse, you. And if you don’t let her have it, she’s going to scream and cry her face off. You can’t win either way.
–A Hello Kitty “face”.
This came from a bracelet that I am sure our daughters brawled over six months ago and then disappeared into the mess of toys in their bedroom. I think I took this out of Little Sis’ mouth right around lunch time.
–A purple earring.
Maddo had this in her hand, and a piece of it in her mouth. They won’t eat cheeseburgers, but they try to gorge on Made In China plastic crap. I just don’t get it.
–A dragonfly necklace.
I had to take this away from Maddo after I found it on the living room, almost buried under a pile of Barbies. Of course, Maddo suddenly decreed the necklace to be the Most Important Thing In The World and turned into a blubbering mess as soon as she knew I wasn’t going to give it back to her. I lectured her on the need to respect and care for her things while Internally, I chuckled at her Oscar-worthy crying jag.
–A black hairband.
We have two daughters, so we have a million of these littering our house. No one will miss this one when it ends up in the trash.
–A super-long shoelace.
Our kids like to play “horsey”. Sometimes, they do this while riding on my back and with me on all fours. Sometimes, they do this with the super-long shoelace wrapped twice around Maddo’s neck and Little Sis at the reins, driving her sister like they were wagontraining it across the prairies in 1873. The girls loved it. My wife and I only saw a trip to the emergency room and a lot of questions from Social Services in our future.
So, my pockets are once again empty. But the day is still young and I haven’t gotten home yet. There’s plenty of room for whatever awaits me when I walk through the door.