Text received: Warning. Warning. Warning. Rocky only took 20 min car nap.
I exhale. Great. (another deep breath)
I don’t have to work late, right? Maybe I do. It certainly wouldn’t be bad for my career and, at this point, I’m the only source of income. I should really be a go getter. How dead would I be if I decided to work late. Pretty dead, right?
(taps pencil against desk)
Yeah, I shouldn’t work late. That wouldn’t be cool.
Monday, 5:20 pm
Receive picture of broken cork in wine bottle with a sad face.
Hmm, this train will probably arrive at Western in about 10 minutes. Why is this train going so fast? There’s really no hurry.
Alright, no problem. You can do this. You’ve faced worse. Just go in there and head straight to the kitchen and help get the dinner on the table. Move quick and don’t stop and we can get that kid in bed by 7. You can do it, big guy. You’re a winner. You’re a dad.
Monday, 5:35 pm
I enter the house. Lucy is already helping to set the table, not a complaint from her. That’s a good sign. Rocky circles the kitchen. He has a piece of construction paper in his hands that he’s slowly shredding with his chubby little hands. I pause for a moment to watch him. He’s not blinking.
“Hey…buddy,” I say, giving his some clearance as I work my way to the microwave where Leah’s already begun heating up leftovers. By some act of divine provenance, we’d settled on leftovers for dinner and moving up dinner by a half hour was a simple matter. I notice that the broken cork issue was resolved and Leah has a glass of wine working. Rocky continues to circle.
Monday, 5:42 pm
HOW IS THIS MICROWAVE STILL NOT DONE. JESUS CHRIST, AM I A FUCKING PIONEER OVER HERE. I COULD HAVE KILLED AND GUTTED A PIG BY NOW. THIS FOOD NEEDS TO BE ON THE TABLE.
Monday, 5:43 pm
“Rocky, buddy, stop. Stop buddy. You’re going to break that. Alright, alright, give me that. No, you’re breaking it. I’m sorry you’re sad, but you’re breaking it.
Monday, 5:44 pm
I turn to Leah. “Now he’s just throwing markers. He’s just throwing them. When’s the last time he blinked.”
Monday, 5:45 pm
“EVERYBODY GET TO THE TABLE! FOOD’S READY! GO! GO! GO!”
For the next 15 minutes, we basically throw food at the kids. They’re given honey in which to dip their meat, which is a trick that should clearly be in every parenting magazine. Because, as far as anyone knows, honey is good for you. I’m pretty sure it’s a super food and not just a form of yellow sugar.
Monday, 6:00 pm
“Rocky, sit back down. Rocky. Rocky.”
“Rocky, sit down. Stop. Stop throwing that.”
“Daddy,” Lucy says, looking up with a honey-smeared face. “Can I have more chicken?” (it’s pork, but now doesn’t seem the time to clarify).
“Here, yeah, take your brother’s.” At this point, Rocky has abandoned his plate and is under that table.
“But there’s no more honey.”
“Okay, use your brother’s honey.”
Lucy draws Rocky’s plate by her to dip. Rocky senses unauthorized sharing in progress and pokes his head back up, eyes wide, lips pulled thin and white.
“That’s my honey,” he wails, collapsing onto the floor, his body now entirely boneless.
“Here, take her mashed potatoes.” At this point, I scoop up her untouched mashed potatoes with a hand and fling them down onto his plate. He immediately recovers and brings his face back to level with the plate. He grabs the pile of potatoes in his right hand and begins to eat them like an apple. Everyone is happy now, each kid with their favorite food. This is breaking about 15 dinnertime rules, but it’s Lord of the Flies in our dining room. This is survival time.
Monday, 6:05 pm
“Quick, everyone upstairs. It’s bath time. Hurry, hurry, it’s soooooo late. We’re going to do a quick bath and then bed.”
Lucy looks confused. “It’s not late. It’s early.”
“Early,” I say, my eyes wide. “It’s pitch black outside. It’s almost the middle of the night.” Thanks, daylight savings time.
Monday, 6:25 pm
Bath done. I managed to force Rocky into his pajamas. I basically threw toothpaste at the kids teeth. Rocky still has yet to blink.
Two books down.
Kids in bed.
Time for a beer.