How to Keep the Kids Alive and the House Relatively Un-destroyed by Rita Templeton
In all fairness, Curtis asked me to write him out "a detailed schedule" to follow while I'm in Mexico. He took a week off work to, essentially, do my job for a week. (Sweet? Very. Brave? Definitely.) And since I'm the one who's here all the time, I have the boys' daily routine down to a science. So when he asked me to give him details, I did. Can I help it if my details are down-to-the-minute?
"I'm not saying you have to do exactly what I do," I said. "I'm just saying that this is what they're used to, and it'll be a whole lot easier on you if you stick to it as much as you can."*
*What I meant: "Do exactly what I do."
I've gotta admit, there's an ulterior motive. Because the more he follows the regular routine, the less I have to do to get them back into it. Y'all know how it is after, say, an extended stay with the grandparents. The kid comes home and all of a sudden he's miraculously forgotten that there are rules and bedtimes and no, you cannot have cake for breakfast.*
*Unless you are me, in which case, have cake whenever you want.
Once your kids are out of the routine, it can take days - weeks - to get them back into it, and you feel like an absolute tyrant trying to steer them back on course.
Curtis is a fabulous dad. An outstanding father. I couldn't have asked for better. But ... he's the fun one. And when the fun one is left in charge, well, the outcome isn't always good.
Like the time I came home to find a hole in our barbecue grill from a science experiment gone wrong.
Like the time I came home to find a then-two-year-old Coby with a loose front tooth. Because he had fallen on the floor. Which was wet due to a water gun fight, with Daddy, in the house. (One of Coby's front teeth has been gray for almost two years now because of this.)
Like the time this happened.
Or like last night, when I came home to find the boys up half an hour past their bedtime, shoveling chocolate chips into their mouths by the handful. (And yes, if you want to know: I was probably more upset about them eating my chocolate chips than anything else.)
Point is, I think the three-page instruction manual I presented Curtis with was warranted. It has helpful tidbits such as, "If you make pancakes or waffles, follow this guide: Colin likes his with honey only, Cameron likes his with syrup only, and Coby likes his with butter only," and, "If you give the baby any cup besides the one that says 'Dr. Brown's,' make sure he's wearing a bib." I mean - these seemingly nitpicky tips will save him a ton of time, I guarantee. Time that he could use to do laundry or plan dinner or clean something up.*
*Or that he could use to do what he'll most likely do, which is eat Doritos and watch shows about fishing.
My fabulous instructions even included a recipe for the dudes' favorite after-school snack: Chocolate Chip Mug-Muffins. What's that you say? You'd like to know more? Well basically, it's a single-serving dessert in a mug. One minute in the microwave and bam! Deliciousness.
In a microwave-safe mug, mix together:
2 Tablespoons of flour
1 Tablespoon of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
A few sprinkles of salt
To that, add:
2 Tablespoons of milk (I guess you could also use water)
1/2 Tablespoon of vegetable oil
A dash of vanilla
About twelve chocolate chips
Microwave for one minute.
It's super-easy and the boys love it. Plus, "mug-muffins" is fun to say.
You just said it to yourself, didn't you? :)
Anyway, I may have composed a three-page manifesto on the care and feeding of the boys, but it's for Daddy's own good. Now I just have to trust him to follow my advice and keep things in line while I'm gone.
What's the worst that could happen?
... Don't answer that.