Retirement = Babysitting
One of the things that my family looked forward to when I decided to retire was our ability (I have a partner) to help with the grandkids on occasion. Right off the bat, our son-in-law had to have major surgery. Since my daughter and he have two little girls ages 8 and 2, we willingly offered to help in any way we could. For several days things went smoothly, but as things will often go awry, things did. The hospital was short-staffed. My son-in-law developed complications, and my daughter was afraid to leave him. I don’t think she was ready to give him up. (He doesn’t have any life insurance.)
The text message arrived at 10 pm asking if we could pick the girls up from their schools and then, spend the night with them. Sure, I was confident we could do that. After all, we had reared three of our own, and they seemed no worse for the experience. (I’m not so sure the same could be said for us!)
The following day, we arrived at the older girl’s school. I had no idea the pick up procedures, but I did know they had to be complicated. My previous 22 years in education had trained me for various plans to get a volume of kids to the correct parent. (You can watch penguins, and they have no trouble at all finding their little ones in a mass of other penguins. We humans have more trouble for some reason.) I finally decided the easiest way was just to go straight to the office and ask. They are usually somewhat kind to grandparents, but this late in the school day I knew I was taking a chance. It went fine; a lady outside the office directed me to the proper place and of course when Kenlee saw me she came running anyway. Next stop Little Bit.
The little one stayed at a church daycare right next door. Once again, I had no idea how to get her, but this time I had a navigator. Kenlee knew the drill and in no time, we had Little Bit. (She also knew how to buckle all the do-dads on the car seats which was another good thing. By the way, if you don’t know, they have to stay in car seats until their 21 now.)
Finally on the road, we managed the drive thru at a fast food place (I bet you can guess which one.) and off we went to their house.
My partner promptly went to the couch, pulled his cap down and nodded right off with the dog beside him.
I started doing the things I had forgotten about for many years. Let me list them in order as best as I can remember:
1. Ten loads of laundry.
2. Dogs that see you as new blood will try to hump you (or as my grandmother use to say about her dog, “Lucky, stop pumping that pillow.”)
3. Dora is still on TV
4. Kids have no temperature gauge. They always get out of the tub and run around in a towel or naked with no thought of the air temperature.
5. Dressing two-year old semi dry kids is a wrestling match (and probably the reason I have back trouble today)
6. Babies not potty trained (but are old enough that they should be) go and hide to poop.
7. Number 6 always happens immediately after number 5. Dog must go out at this time.
8. By the time you get teeth brushed, pjs on, drinks of water, kisses good night, etc. you have this sweet moment when you pull the cover up on them and get that final hug, kiss, and love you moment.
9. Ten seconds later, “I’m thirsty.” You get them a drink.
10. The end of number 8 again.
11. Ten seconds later, “I need to go potty.”
12. The end of number 8 again.
13. Ten seconds later, “I have a sore toe.” It of course requires a bandaid.
14. The end of number 8 again.
15. Silence. Back to folding clothes. Housework after kids are in bed.
Don’t forget their lunches.
16. “I’m scared.”
17. End of number 8 again.
19. Long silence.
20. Too tired to do anymore. Go to bed.
22. Both girls, “Was that mommy?”
23. End of number 8 again. End of number 8 again.
24. Dog in and to bed.
25. Five hours sleep.
That was the end of my deja vu parenting. Their mom came home and got them up and ready for school, and partner got up and off we went home. I slept most of the day and was very sore and tired, but I got a lot of the end of number 8. It was nice.