Saturday, May 1, 2010

My First Ever Blog Post Meme

I was tagged by Teachermommy with a meme asking me to repost my very first blog entry. My very first blog entry appeared on the blog Arby's Archives in September of 2007. Here's a trip down memory lane for some readers and a fresh glimpse of how long the insanity has reigned for others.  Grab a cup of your favorite beverage.  It's long, but worth the read.

Here goes...

The kindly white-haired lady approached me in the lobby of the Leavenworth County Special Education Cooperative and handed me a flier titled “Operation Dad.”

“There’s a program for fathers,” she informed me. “It’s run by a local group. It’s designed to help fathers become more involved with their children.”

I looked at the flier in my hand, and then around the lobby of the Co-op. My ten-year-old son, General Mayhem, was crouched behind a Little Tykes kitchenette, a rubber chicken leg held in one hand like a gun, shooting imaginary space aliens. His three-year-old sister, Captain Chaos, was running in circles, trying her hardest to get past me in order to explore the maze of cubicles in the back of the building. We were there while the middle child, Major Havoc, was attending his first speech therapy session of this young school year.

Underneath the title the flier continued: “An interactive group focused on building healthier relationships between fathers or other male role models and the children in their lives.”

The white-haired lady had not stopped talking, although mentally I had changed stations. Her voice returned to my ears. “You can keep the flier or leave it. It’s up to you.”

“I received one of these in the mail,” I told her. “I’m familiar with the program.”

“It’s a good program to help fathers become more involved with their children,” she continued, as if I had not spoken. “Go ahead and take the flier.”

“I am a full-time, stay-at-home, home schooling father of three children,” I politely told her. “I don’t think I need any help building a relationship with my children. Besides, I have a very busy schedule.”

"Oh, most of their activities are in the evening...blah, blah, blah...” I started tuning her out again. I’ve run into this before. No matter what I offered her in way of an answer, anything short of “I’ll sign right up!” would be ignored. I needed help with my children, and this geriatric savior of male parenting knew it. She had the answer.

“You can take your children to the zoo, to museums, to professional baseball games,” she continued.

Yeah. That’d be a good one. My mind wandered back precisely one year, when we began our second year of weekly visits to the Co-op.

It was 8:30 in the morning. I walked into the Leavenworth County Co-op with three children in tow. Major Havoc was there for his second round of speech evaluations. Immediately, all three children scrambled for the kitchenette play set in the lobby of the cooperative. Before I could find a seat, Captain Chaos was licking a rubber hot dog, Major Havoc was ironing a pretend shirt, and General Mayhem, my nine-year-old, was pretending to eat a rubber chicken leg. I took the chicken leg from his hands and told him to sit down and begin his math lesson, which was tucked inside of his backpack.

Our therapist came out of her office and called for Major Havoc. He responded by flopping on the floor, crying, “No, I playing!” Captain Chaos took the opportunity of that distraction to bolt for the offices behind the secretary’s desk. One of her main goals in life is to explore the vast array of cubicles that make up the bulk of the Cooperative’s main floor.

“Hey, a three word sentence!” I threw over my shoulder, chasing after the captain.

As I ran after her, General Mayhem pulled a plastic hamburger out of nowhere and pretended to eat it.

I grabbed the girl and herded her back to the lobby. Several other families arrived for their 8:30 classes, so I weaved a path through the adults and children and plopped her on the floor, picked up Major Havoc, who at the time was doing his best impersonation of a rag doll, and sent him off with the therapist.

The girl toddled off to the refrigerator, so I turned my attention to the general.

“Please give me the hamburger,” I asked.

He handed over the hamburger. I opened his backpack and pulled out his math book, pencils, worksheets, and clipboard. He pulled a plastic asparagus out of nowhere and pretended to eat it. I took it from him and handed him his 100 problem warm-up sheet, a ten minute timed exercise.

Captain Chaos noticed that I was distracted and bolted for the back offices. I dove after her, caught her by the ankles, and reeled her in. She immediately grabbed a play phone and started licking it. We played lick-the-phone for five minutes before I noticed that the general had four problems completed and was pretending to eat a plastic rutabaga.

The major emerged smiling after forty-five minutes of testing. The bones in his legs had re-grown during his absence. He ran to the plastic iron and his imaginary dry cleaners. I don’t know where he gets it from as I never iron and his mother certainly doesn’t. Captain Chaos finished licking all of the toys and bolted for the back offices. The general announced that he was finished with the warm-up problems and promptly began eating a slice of plastic quiche.

As I tackled the captain our therapist asked, “Same time next week?”

“No!” I cried.

I could only imagine a trip to the ballpark with these three.

I nodded my head as the lady continued talking, and folded the flier to put it in my pocket.

“Now, don’t feel like you have to take that,” she offered.

“I do have one at home,” I reminded her, handing over the flier.

She made no move to accept it. “But feel free to keep that,” she continued. “I have more.”

Didn’t she get it? By the time the evening roles around I’m finished being a parent. I want the kids in bed and a cold beer. By the time the evening roles around I have chased a half-naked potty-training three-year-old around the house, asking, “Do you have to go potty?” hoping all the while that the wet spot on the kitchen floor that I just slipped on is just spilled water. By the time the evening roles around I have listened to a detailed description of the schematics of every robot Sonic the Hedgehog fights in an episode of Sonic X. I can feel the brain cells jumping off a cliff with every detail. By the end of the day I’m finished with school work, with two episodes of Blue’s Clues and one episode of The Mickey Mouse Club House and the inane banter of a turtle, and hamster, and a duck on Wonder Pets! By the time evening roles around I’m turning them over to mommy, after she gets home from work. It’s mommy time! Dad’s done!

Captain Chaos successfully escaped to the back of the Co-op, disappearing into an office, momentarily baffling her older brother and me until a teacher emerged with a smiling girl held between her out-stretched hands, asking, “Did someone lose this?”

Major Havoc emerged from therapy smiling, happy to have returned to visit his favorite therapist. General Mayhem stopped shooting his rubber chicken. I loaded the three into the van for the short trip home.

I signed-up for this, I remind myself.

I am stay-at-home dad.

Let's see the very first blog from Pirate Mom and Big Doofus.


Brownie said...

I think I remember reading that :)

Pamela said...

I can relate to this on so many levels. The licking, the chasing, the licking, the trips out of the house, the licking...

Also? I think that woman who wanted you to go to Dad Class should be slapped. Hard. That is all.

GingerB said...

Does this licking seem to be behavior she is modeling after, oh, say, Daddy?

Teacher Mommy said...

TOO funny. So much better than mine was. Thank you for playing!!

Linda said...

I feel your pain. Except the speech class.. my children come forth from the womb talking. Unfortunately.

Michelle said...

Ah, parenting. The chasing, the jumping, the climbing, the hiding, the crying, the screaming-and the last few things are what I'm usually doing!!
I'm with ya!! At the end of a long day, I'm done. I want a cold beer and kids in their rooms sound asleep!
Have a great weekend!`

Big Doofus (Roger) said...

Took me a while, but I finally got around to this. I just don't blog as much these days.