People without multiple small children at home must think I exaggerate wildly when I complain about the difficulty of accomplishing anything with children underfoot. These people are wrong. I only wildly exaggerate these difficulties part of the time.
Complaining always feels better when you exaggerate the problem. Who wants to be accused of complaining about trifles? But sometimes you don’t have to exaggerate; your carping can flow easily from real life events.
The other afternoon, I took vacation time to care for Buster and Big Man so my wife could pick up a shift at her job. We met at her work and swapped cars. Big Man was napping in his seat, but Buster cried because he wanted to stay with Mommy.
After 10 minutes of trying to reason with Buster and build up Daddy as an acceptable parent, Mommy had to go. Buster cried all the way home. As we pulled into the garage, Big Man woke up. One-year-olds are often still groggy after a nap and need to be held. Crying three-year-olds need hugs. Daddy desperately needed some lunch, but with a child in each arm, that wasn’t likely.
I was able to lower Buster before my arms turned to jelly, but he kept himself comforted by hugging my leg. The floor turned to hot lava when I tried to put Big Man down. He tightened his grip around my neck. I didn’t force the issue, as one crying child is plenty.
I made what lunch I could with one arm and one leg. It was not tasty.
Buster quit sobbing and lay down on the futon in the sun room. Big Man shook off his cob webs and let me put him down. This would allow me to tidy up before running errands.
Two seconds later, Buster was asleep. So much for packing them in the car to run errands.
But wait, the next time I looked that way, Big Man had climbed onto the futon and sat on Buster’s head.
Buster woke up, crying again. (Big Man is not an inconsequential toddler to find sitting atop your head.) But as long as everybody was up, errands were back on.
A cold front was moving through, so everybody needed to be changed into warmer clothes.
An hour later, we got in the car and headed to our first destination. Big Man was asleep again. Fortunately, all I had to do was open the trunk and point out a box. A helpful gentleman took it away. No, it wasn’t a weapons deal; it was recycling.
Then it was across town to make a merchandise return for Mommy. No matter that Big Man was asleep, I’d just carry him into the store.
We parked. I turned around to face two sleeping children. I couldn’t carry both around the store. We backed out of the spot and drove home to finish napping. Daddy could work while they slept, except that Big Man woke up when we got home.
He was still groggy. He needed to be held.