The Rule of Three

April 11, 2017

The trip had the makings of a disaster. 500 miles. Two kids. One dad. Vegas didn’t like those odds. Too many variables. Accidents—both automotive and excretory. Carsickness. Arguments. Improper caloric intake at restaurants. Low blood sugar. Fatigue. Speeding tickets. Car trouble. A Trump presidency. VERY BAD!

It looked even worse when the three-year-old decided he would wake up three times the night before. Usually I’m a sucker for numerical parallelism. This time, I may have wept. The first occasion: conscientious urination. Sara and I trained Elliot for this over the course of the last year, so I should have known it would come back to bite us. It’s like we raised Jason Bourne. It didn’t help that I was in a deep sleep when I heard him scream, “I need to go potty!” The ultimatum was unspoken. Help me or I will ruin your life, and the life of your family. I realize I am part of this family and will therefore cause self-inflicted wounds. However, I do not care. I showed off my dad skills by making the two unpardonable midnight potty sins. First, I turned the bathroom light on, which resulted in my son acting like he was the Wicked Witch melting under the oppression of incandescence. The second was zipping his belly in his pajamas after the deed was done. Remarkably, he went back to sleep relatively quickly after having given me the gift of adrenaline. Moving on to round two.

I was in some highly satisfying stage of sleep when I heard his cries again. I stumbled toward his room, only to hear a plaintive pronouncement. “I can’t find my turtle!” My initial mental response was something that was thankfully not followed with spoken word. Let’s just say there would have been a few unnecessary modifiers for “turtle” thrown in there. I calmed down and went to find my phone, deciding not to turn the lights on and summon Elphaba. As I flashlit the room, I was confident that I would find the turtle. While I searched, Elliot wailed away about its demise as if that plush reptile was the only thing holding back the apocalypse. I looked under blankets, under the mattress, inside pillow cases, inside closet doors, and under curly-haired screamboxes. Nothing. Eventually, I wandered the house until I went into Alice’s room and found two turtles. His and hers. One was wearing a dress, and since I didn’t have the energy to be open-minded at 4 a.m., Elliot got the fashion-neutral turtle. He calmed down, only to awake a few hours later around 7, needing help with the potty again.

Alice woke up earlier than expected as well. This was especially surprising when you take into account that I kept her up near 10:00 trying to help her complete her schoolwork. This was the schoolwork that I diligently had her pick up on Friday but completely forgot about until I was packing up her stuff that night. I suddenly had empathy for the parents I tend to judge with incredulity.

So this was the brew bubbling in the cauldron the night before the biggest solo-parent trip of our three little lives.




4 Responses to “The Rule of Three”

  1. Debbie Says:

    Welcome back! I will be waiting to here the ending of this saga. 😊

  2. George Says:

    Way to set the stage for disaster.

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