Monday, September 19, 2011

TAPOUT: Tackling the day with a toddler

I believe in forcing encouraging Big V to spend one-on-one alone time with his son as a form of punishment an opportunity for bonding. I mean, why should I experience all the bonding? I like to share.

Saturday was a day that fried the ends of each and every one of my nerves. The fact that the toddler did not take a nap was of no help whatsoever. And let me tell you, I tried. For the love of all that is holy, I tried to get that kid to take a nap.

Big V worked all day. Which we needed and I'm totally not complaining about. But, I mean, it is kind of his fault that he's not Chief of Surgery at a well known hospital. Perhaps if he hadn't spent all that time in high school playing football... but I digress.

Anyway, the point is I spent a whole lot of hours with a kid that never stopped moving. I don't know about you, but in my old age, I need to stop. A lot. The whole day kind of sucked. I mean, the kid is cute and all - but it kind of went like this:

We do not take food out of the garbage - that's yucky. No, put that down - yuck! C'mon, give it to Mama. You can't eat that, it's yucky. Plus little boys aren't supposed to eat coffee grounds. Seriously - no! Get back here! Give that to Mama! Get back here! Stop! Not on the carpet! NOOOO!!!! That's white carpet! Look what you did? Great, now I have to clean the carpet. 

The entire day was like that. You can imagine how giddy I was when it became bed time. But that giddiness was short lived because Big V came home six minutes after I turn the toddler's light out and he looked around the (messy) house and dared to question, "What did you do all day?"

Every mother of a toddler knows those six words are fighting words.

Except I had no energy to even begin explaining the course of my day. Instead, I faked like I was going to go cuddle up in bed reading a book... when in truth I was plotting my revenge.

Sunday is church day. Except no one likes going. Even I have to admit getting up in the morning is a challenge. I knew for a fact that given the choice Big V would rather stay home. Especially since the Packers played at noon. He wouldn't dare risk missing the kick off for the word of God. And so I came up with this simple proposition: Come to church with us, or stay home with the toddler and pick up a few much needed groceries.

He jumped at the Toddler Accompanied Public Outing Unaided Task. Also known as TAPOUT for a reason, sucker.

I smiled sweetly as I handed him the list of needed items. And the in-store flyer with certain items circled. And the coupons. And then I fell into a deep sleep.

In the morning I sang in the shower. This is going to be so good! I told myself. Let's see how well he does trying to get things done with a toddler.

And then I skipped to church.

I took my time socializing at coffee hour after the sermon. After that, I attended a little presentation about what our church missionaries are doing. In Canada. Really? Canada? Was I the only one a tad bit disappointed? I was expecting something like the Amazon Rainforest. And then I slowly meandered to my car. Which was one of six left in the parking lot. 

I could not wait to see Big V's frazzled nerves and haggard appearance. I could not wait to ask, "What did you do all day?" Oh, sweet, sweet revenge....

I was absolutely 100% unprepared for what I saw when I walked through the door:

Groceries already put away.
Toddler eating lunch nicely at the toddler table.
Big V stirring up some chili, smiling sweetly, "You're just in time for kick off... I got some lunch ready."

There was no mess.
There was no fire.
There was no flooding.

The toddler was dressed.
And his hair combed.

Big V was dressed.
And his hair was combed.

"Oh," Big V turns towards me. "Good call on the coupons. The cart was huge and it came to only $85. I think that's less than when you get groceries, isn't it?"

What was happening?! How is that possible?! 

"Well, did you get everything on the list?"

"Yep. I even double checked. Well, actually..."

Here it was. Here comes the failure. I stifled my smile; held off my not so easy, is it buddy?

"You had a coupon for these Jimmy Dean Breakfast sandwiches and I remember you said to check the price and see for myself if they were worth it, but I thought they were kind of high, even with the coupon, so I decided not to get them."

What?! Am I in some kind of opposite universe?

"Well, how was Cletus? All over the place, right? I bet he didn't even sit down in the cart."

"No. Actually he was really good. He stayed seated the whole time. He didn't act up for me."

Aggghhhhhh!!! This is not how I pictured this. How on earth did this happen? He was supposed to see firsthand how difficult things were. He was supposed to collapse into my arms telling me he never understood how hard it is to get things accomplished until he had to do it himself. He was suppossed to sob, maybe. Just a little bit, because I'm actually a bit weirded out by sobbing men. This has backfired. This is not good. I needed to save this somehow. 

"Well, congratulations," I smiled up at him. "You just bought yourself grocery duty until the end of time."


Becca said...


Nicely played. But it's good to have a capable man around, no?

Johi said...

OMG. WHATEVER. I know that I shouldn't write this, but it TICKS ME OFF when the children act like the third clone of the Tasmanian devil for me but are perfect for daddy. Gag. I want retribution! I mean..... good for Big V? I'm glad he had such a productive and peaceful day with his son?

Muddy Road said...

I think there's some fundamental approach to shopping with a toddler that makes it easier for dads. I take my daughter to the market with me and I generally have a much better time than if I had gone alone. On the occasions when my wife does it, she complains about how much longer it took and the less-than-refined behavior of our toddler.

Then I point out that I enjoy it and get accused of slipping the kid Benadryl.