A few examples should suffice:
Pearl's RideWhile I finished up the dishes, Pearl went for a little trike ride "around the cul-de-sacs." There are two cul-de-sacs on the other side of the street, and she knows to just ride around those and come home.
I wasn't ten minutes finishing the dishes until I went outside to find Pearl. As you've already figured out: she wasn't there. I checked both cul-de-sacs, no Pearl. I jumped in my car and blazed the island: no Pearl.
I was forced to call in reinforcements—so I got Maleen on the phone. She'd only been gone a few of hours at this point.
Any parents who have lost a little one know the feeling. While that feeling is bad enough, it's much worse knowing that your mother now knows that you've lost a child and will bring it up in every conversation for months and perhaps years to come.
Pearl's ride ended happily when she rolled around the corner from the other side of the neighborhood—where we never ride. She had become lost and was retracing her steps. Smart for a 3 year old! Total "lost" time: 34 minutes.
I still beat her, of course. Ok, I didn't really but we had a talk about not going outside without a buddy.
Daisy is my snuggler. She likes to come up in the night or early morning and snuggle with Dad. No problem. I kind of like it. I'm sure she'll grow out of it soon enough, but I relish it while I can.
That said, Daisy came up this morning about 5:00. I wasn't getting up yet, so I told her she could snuggle with me for a while.
I should mention that shamelessly stole Maleen's side of the bed last night. It's closer, has better pillows, etc. And hey, it was novel.
So Daisy came up and ended up sleeping on my side. No problem. Well, no problem until I realize that the reason Daisy was awake at 5:00 was because her micro bladder had informed her it was time to hit the potty. Hmm, I forgot to remind her to visit the potty before snuggling...
6:00 came soon enough, and with it came recognition of the above facts. My side of the bed was...well it needed some scrubbing.
We'll Change the Oil For Mom
It was getting about time to change the oil in Maleen's car, so I figured I'd take advantage of her absence to get the service done. We popped over to Honda. They are AWESOME.
While we were waiting, we watched some of ICE AGE 2, sipping hot chocolate and munching popcorn. Fun, I'm a good dad.
Well, it was fun, right up until Pearl dumped hot chocolate all over herself.
So now I have a child swimming in luke-warm hot chocolate punctuated with soggy popcorn. I'm frunning (which is short for frantically running) back and forth snatching paper towels to mop up the mess. There were two moms there, just enjoying the show. It felt a little like a, "oh we'll just sit back and watch this guy pretend to be a parent" conference meets a "oh now he'll understand how hard our job is" meeting.
Child screaming and crying.
Movie interrupted for all.
Hot chocolate dripping on everything.
Now a mostly-naked diaper-clad, giggling toddler is cruising around Honda while her father stands by with a fistful of sopping clothing, while the Honda techs explain some of the finer points of brake inspection.
And the moral of the story is...
For all you power moms out there, let me be perfectly honest: we men are woefully bad in this area—at least this dad is. It took me a few kids to learn the humility to admit that, but I can admit it. So I want to publicly give credit where credit is due: Maleen is awesome and I'd be lost without her. She's is the anchor of my life, does an amazing job at raising our kids, and I can never shower enough praise on her. She deserves every bit of it.
Second moral of the story: never let Meleen leave.
Children crying...gotta go.