Just a quick update. Tonight my lovely wife is taking the evening to spend some time with other moms in our area in the monthly Mom’s night out. They get together and discuss issues of homeschooling, motherhood, and a whole range of other topics.
This means that I am home with the kids. But I am not the baby sitter. Honestly, this is one of my favorite things to do, spend time with my kids at home. As much as I like getting out and doing things, I am away from home a fair amount and I like being home. And getting a chance to just be dad with the kids is a ball.
I am not trying to brag here, just letting you know that as a dad I don’t slack off. My wife left the house within 20 minutes of me getting home. She had not made dinner although we do have a weekly meal plan, since she had been out of the house most of the day and ended up with one sick kid she had done nothing to prepare for it. (I knew what was on the list and didn’t expect her to either.) So I made dinner while playing with the kids and supervising pre dinner clean up. By making dinner I mean I looked at the meal plan and made hearty Italian soup (from scratch) and rolls to go with it. Ok I cheated a little and used a can of rolls, but still.
After dinner we prayed a decade of the rosary, something we have been failing to do most of this week, I assigned after dinner chores, I put the grumpy 2 year old and the sick child to bed. I loaded the dish washer (because I had only managed to match my two older boys in our pushup competition so that meant I had to help (more on that later)) started a load of diapers, read to all the kids who wanted stories and then only ten minutes late sent them all off to bed. Normally when it is just dad they get to stay up a little bit later, but they had had a big day today so they all needed their sleep.
After I got all the older kids to bed, I gave the baby a snack. (she didn’t eat much dinner.) started the diapers on their second cycle, and then settled down to get the baby to sleep for the evening. She is still nursing so this normally involves mommy milk, so with dad it requires a little bit of convincing that she can sleep without mom. But She likes me so she feel asleep and now is in her crib.
It has been a great evening. I really love spending time with my kids. For the most part they are all happy kids. Yes, even the teenager and the almost teenager are happy most of the time. They are pretty good, and again for the most part play well together. The biggest fight this evening was over who got to hold the baby while dad dished up the hot soup. All and all a successful evening. The house is not in a shambles, the rugs have been cleaned (after dinner chores.) The kitchen is mostly clean, and the kids are all happy and in bed. (No promises that the older ones are asleep yet, but they are at least being quiet.)
These are the times when the kids get to see what a father is supposed to be like. Yes, I played with them, maybe a little rougher than I would have had my wife been home, but I also made dinner, and helped with clean up. I worked on the laundry and I read stories. A father is not a baby sitter, he is the head of the household and that mean that he needs to be able to hold the house together without pre-planed / pre-preped meals, or runs to the local fast food joint. I am not saying these things don’t have their place. Sometimes a night alone with dad can be special and you can do something like that, but it is not a necessity. Being a dad isn’t always fun, but my nights alone with the kids are some of the best times I have with them, and I hope they are the times that the kids look back to and remember when they are out on their own with their kids.
** On the push up thing. Every spring / summer we all try to get in shape. This year the older kids are taking Karate, and have started doing push ups. Something I do pretty well when I am in shape. The deal to this point has been; the older two get one minute each to do push ups. They add their total together if Dad can do more push ups than that, they each get an extra chore. Something I would normally do, if they beat me I do the after dinner clean up, and if we tie I do part of the clean up, tonight we tied at 62 pushups. There was an extra wrinkle in tonights competition. The younger ones wanted to be involved. Let’s be honest here, there are 9 kids, 5 or so of them can manage to do pushups, if they all got the add them up, I would be doing dinner clean up every night. So tonight we said that the child who did the most in 1 minute didn’t have to do chores. My eldest daughter (the youngest of the 5 that did it) won with 47 pushups in one minute. The boys were not happy with her, but she did beat them fair and square and they were real pushups. Way to go Lizardbreath!