I am on summer break--eight whopping weeks of unemployed freedom. I've been looking forward to it since Easter, planning my days. I would blog five times a week, revise last year's 3-day novel and outline this year's, accomplish a host of home projects and do all manner of cool daddy activities with the girls.
I do not know what I was thinking.
I should know from two years of experience what staying home with the kids for the summer means. It little resembles a writer's retreat or anything on the DIY channel.
Last summer, childless friends of mine were emailing from all around the globe--Paris, India, Thailand--sharing their romantic adventures. After a day that could only be called normal by a father of multiple preschoolers, I sat down and wrote about my own summer adventures. Here they are, with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy:
You may be a stay-home daddy of three toddlers if…
- Your diet today consisted of half-eaten food including nibbled toast, soggy Cheerios, half a smashed banana, cold mac 'n' cheese, the crusts of PBJ sandwiches soaked in milk, and whatever they didn't gnaw off the broccoli stem.
- You ate all of the above on plastic Dora the Explorer, Barbie Princess, or Care Bears plates.
- You can disassemble, wash, refill, heat and deliver a sippy cup to a screaming child with a screaming child on your shoulders.
- You hummed a kiddie song all morning, accented by curses.
- You actually prayed to God for a word that would replace or clean up the four-letter mantra that kept coming up when the kids were too near…and He gave you three in one ("Fuggetaboutit").
- You have ever reached down to pick up a crumb of stray trash and discovered it was a tiny sphere of excrement.
- You recently cleaned Cheerios from any of the following places: mattress, floor, foot bottom, BOTTOM bottom, carpet, carport, carseat, car engine, under bed, vacuum cleaner (it can only suck so many).
- Your IQ is inversely proportional to the number of offspring awake at the moment.
- You have ever fished reading material from the latrine. (Baptized book titles include Prayers for Peace, and Silent Flowers: A New Collection of Japanese Haiku Poems. And yes, they dried nicely and still grace our john. Haiku submissions inspired by that scene are welcome).
- You joined Netflix and instinctively put Elmo's Potty Time at the top of your queue.
- You watched it the day it arrived—over breakfast.
- You compulsively count to three when in public places.
- You used the word "poopoo" and "peepee" more than twelve times today.
- You cheer and dance when anyone in your home acts these words out.
- You successfully answered the question, "Why?" six times this morning before punting with, "Because God made it that way."
- Your working vocabulary consists 97% of "no, later, time out, be nice, please, eat, wait, I don't know, say you're sorry, time out, swat, not yet, get in the car, stop it, thank you" and "Daddy loves you A LOT."
(August 8, 2007)