This thought frightens me. And not in the “man this is going to make me tired” kind of way, but in the “I hope all three of us will survive this” kind of way.
The simple fact is that I’m out-numbered. The two of them can do some serious physical, collateral and mental damage. The crying, the whining, the pouting, the shouting, the fussiness, the gassyness, the getting into things, the mess making, and the toy taking. And that’s all before 10:00 am.
When I was home with Ava, I had a nice little game plan I followed and it worked pretty well. It went as follows: Up no later than 8:00 am, breakfast, get her dressed, let her play/watch TV as I showered and got ready (less than 10 minutes), Out the door around 10:00 am to run errands/go to a story-time/visit the animals in South Park/play-date, Lunch, Milk ready and have Ava fall asleep on the way back home around 12:30 pm, Nap until around 2:00-2:30 pm (3:00-3:30 pm if I was lucky), Snack and some Mickey on TV, Structured playtime, Mommy back in the door around 4:30. Worked like a charm, however, I’m afraid this same schedule just won’t work for her now as it did six months ago.
Also, Vinny is now in the mix and he tends to do things at inopportune times. For example, when I’m trying to check out somewhere or trying to wrangle Ava, he’ll decide then is a good time to start whaling and demand to be held…or he needs a bottle…or have an explosive poop…or spit up all over the place.
The possibility of them both cooperating at the same time and at the exact moments I need them too is slimmer than an anorexic coke addict. So what can I do? I can prepare. I essentially plan on having a dad utility belt, or more accurately, a pair of dad utility shorts made from my cargo shorts.
I of course will always have the Vera Bradley diaper bag with me. No need to try to find a “manlier” bag because, frankly, I don’t give a shit. I came to this conclusion during my first stint of stay-at-home dad life. I quickly realized function comes ahead of caring what idiots thought. “Aren’t you afraid of looking gay,” some dull, dim-whited moron may inquire. “No” I would say, “I have this bag right now because I had sex with a woman and impregnated her. That’s the furthest thing from being gay I can think of. What I would be afraid of is looking like a dim-whited morn like yourself.” At that point I would sling my Vera Bradley over my shoulder, flip my hair back, give him a snap or two, and grab the stroller and walk away as sassy as humanly possible.
Anyway, I will have the Vera Bradley which will be filled with all your standard baby-bag fare. However, there are several items I will always have at the ready in one of the many, and may I add roomy, pockets of my cargo shorts. The include: At least 1 diaper per kid, a baggy of wipes, a sippy cup for Ava, snacks for Ava, a fresh onesie for Vinny, a change of shorts for Ava, a little toy or two for Ava, and a cloth towel. All those things I just named are things I figure I would need at a moments notice to take care of one of the five C’s at any time.
What are the five C’s you are wondering? They are as follows: clean, change, calm, comfort, and content. With those items at the ready in my side pockets, I can draw from them as fast as a gun-fighter to take care of any of the five C’s.
Poopy diaper? Boom!…diapers and wipes. Spit up all over shirt or pee through diaper? Pow!…new onesie or shorts. Ava over tired and cranky? Bam!…here’s a juice and a snack. Not working? Whap!…here’s a toy, enjoy yourself.
Blink of an eye fast. Super dad. Faster than a speeding two-year old. Stronger than a gassy infant. That’s how I roll. “Look over there! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No! It’s a guy sporting a designer bag, a double stroller and cargo shorts that are bursting at the seams.”
I am very aware though that Ava is the wildcard in all this. Vinny can just cry and poop, but he is contained. He’s not mobile yet. As long as I can block out his screams long enough to still function, I can get through. Ava, though, is the pro at chaos. She can do any number of things to make me look stupid and make my day a living hell. She can scratch and hit Vinny in the car. She can throw tantrums. She can run off while I am attending to Vinny or have my hands full. She can destroy stores (boy can she destroy). Plus about four dozen other behaviors that have been known to start wars.
With all that being said, the truth is I’m looking forward to it. Yes it will be tough and aggravating, and I will want to jump off the roof at times. But, some of the more recent great days I have had were ones I spend with just me and Ava. That time together really, truly bonded us. I’m looking to get that with Vinny. Plus, when I was home with Ava, it was during the winter/early spring months and we couldn’t do much outside. This time it will be late summer/fall, and baby, that time of year is right in my wheel-house.
Plus, I will have them just two days of the week by myself. I can survive that. Right? Can’t be that bad. Right? After all, they’re just kids. Right? How bad can they be? Oh, right. Terribly bad.