Published Friday, September 14, 2012
My husband and I are empty nesters. Since our kids are 31 and 27 now, it’s been ages since we’ve had little ones in the house.
We’ve babysat for the grand young’uns, and we’ve even kept them overnight, but little did I realize we were actually tag teaming.
Ninja Man was safely tucked away at work when I got the call from The Boy asking if we could keep the little darlings for a few days. He had to travel for business and his wife Emily was not feeling well and needed to take medicines that would cause her to sleep a lot. I jumped at the chance and within a couple of hours headed to their house to pick up Asher, age 3 and a half and Briella, 16 months. My plan was to baby proof the house once I got back home.
It was when I drove up the driveway that I realized I had two little ones as well as a trunk full of groceries and kid stuff to unload all by myself. I pondered the situation from the comfort of the car.
My solution was to back in, unload the back of the car and put everything on the porch, then get the kids out of the air-conditioned car. It was a great plan.
While that part was uneventful, things started to unravel as soon as I plucked the kids from their car seats.
I learned – in 103-degree Savannah sweltering heat – that you should get the older kid out of the car first. It makes a lot more sense to say “Go over to the porch” to a child who can grasp that than to prop a baby on the hip while trying to get the oldest out and manipulate straps, buckles, snaps, Velcro, hinges, and whatever else holds kids into those car seats.
I finally got Asher out – with Briella still on my hip – and sent him to wait for me on the porch. I turned the car off then headed inside.
At this point I was feeling rather accomplished. We’d made it all the way home with only a few minor glitches. The car was completely unloaded and the kids were behaving perfectly. And then I set Briella down in the living room.
With one foot in the door and one on the porch I moved bags from outside to in, and turned my back for a millisecond.
In that brief moment Briella walked past the toy box and found two screws, a sharp sliver of wood, the remote to the television and several CDs.
I was grateful for the pacifier that plugged up any possibility of screw consumption.
A quick decision: which was more important - cold food getting hot on the porch or the setting up of the pack-n- play. I abandoned the grocery sacks and struggled with the contraption that resembles a playpen.
Briella walked up and handed me a spatula and the dog bowl and left a trail of sofa pillows in her wake. I couldn’t get the junior prison camp erected fast enough.
Finally I plopped her in, tossed in a few toys for her to play with, and began picking up death-defying things that only hours ago were of no concern at all. I ducked just in time for a rubber ball to fly across the room. The kid has an arm on her and emptied her prison camp of all entertainment in record time.
“Things will get crazy if you miss naptime,” The Boy had warned. I looked at the clock. I looked at the baby. It was fifteen minutes till Crazy. I quickly moved some furniture around in the guest room and took baby and the pack-n-play into the room. I would later discover that my life would have been much easier had I known two things: 1) there were wheels on the bottom of that thing and 2) Briella prefers household goods to toy box toys.
Once she was settled and snoozing I called a friend who has a teenager. Could she come down and hang out with Asher while I finish baby proofing the house? I don’t know when I was ever more happy to see a teenager in my house. After collecting all the hazardous materials I landed in a pile on the sofa. The cheerful teen and Asher were coloring.
It’s been said it takes a village. It’s been said correctly.