Posted in Ashleigh, Audrey, carnival, dad, daddy, Ella, Ex Wife, Family, fatherhood, Kids, Marriage, memories, mommyhood, Parenting, Relationships, responsibility, skating, skating rink, stay at home dad, Taralynn, teaching, The Meaning of Life, zoo

Wow. That Really Hurt…


There’s a reason a television show was named “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” They really do. I loved the way Bill Cosby was able to relate to the children on that show, and really got them to open up and say stuff that made us all smile. When I think of television, I know it’s not always real. I was taught a long time ago, that wrestling was fake, Clark Kent didn’t really turn into Superman, and Encyclopedia Brown didn’t really solve too many real mysteries. However, television can be quite entertaining to watch sometimes. “Kids Say the Darndest Things” was a “feel good” television show. But, as real as it was, those funny sayings didn’t quite hit home like some of the stuff our own children say around us…

This past week my ex-wife went on a skiing trip, and my wife went to California to visit a friend. My wife left my youngest with me, and took my two-year old with her. My ex-wife left my two older daughters with me. This wasn’t too big of a deal. After all, they are my kids.

I actually was really looking forward to this weekend, because I was going to be able to spend some good quality time with my oldest two. I had a fun-filled weekend planned out, I took off work, and I was determined to have a good week. I guess I was forgetting I had three kids to throw a curveball into those plans…

EARLY FRIDAY MORNING

“Beep, Beep, Bee—” my alarm clock pierced through my ears. It was 6:15. I jumped up, reached back, and methodically turned the switch to off. I slowly slid off the bed, threw on a t-shirt, and headed to the restroom. Carefully, I snuck past my baby’s door and shuffled my feet into the dark living room. I threw my wife’s snuggie over my legs and closed my eyes sinking back into the recliner. The girls were going to be here around seven, and I was genuinely excited about seeing them. I almost never have them over the weekend, always during the week. My mind wandered off thinking about all the things we were possibly going to do, and I drifted off back to sleep.

“Daddy!” Taralynn exclaimed as she rushed through the door. She had the biggest smile on her face, and I’m sure it was an exact replica of mine. Ashleigh followed right behind and they both threw their arms around me and squeezed me like a boa constrictor. I glanced outside, acknowledged my ex, and closed the door.

We sit in the living room, talk about their week, and discuss the weekend’s plans. Kind of. I don’t usually tell my kids everything we have planned any time they come over. I’ve been a parent long enough to know that plans sometimes change, and that almost always causes an issue with at least one of the kids.

I mentioned we may go bowling. I told them we may take a little trip out to Dave and Busters. I hinted that we may go and see the new Justin Bieber movie “Never Say Never.” All I asked of them was to behave, not argue with me or each other, and help out when asked. It sounded easy enough, right?

By 11:00am, I had managed to bathe Audrey, feed her, and get us all to Fazoli’s for lunch. I don’t usually take them there, but it was pretty close to another place I wanted to surprise them with. Besides, Taralynn had told Ashleigh earlier while they were in the kitchen that she wanted alfredo. Being the nosy dad I am, I took notice, and made sure we went somewhere that had alfredo. By 11:15, I was already scolding said daughter for spilling her drink in her lap. Again. She’s almost eight-years old, and I really hope that she figures out pretty soon how not to make a mess at every meal she sits down to eat. Sigh…

Lunch went fairly well, and we packed back up in the Explorer. I had taken out Ella’s toybox the day before, and cleaned and vacuumed it out, so the bigger girls could actually ride in the regular back seat flanking their baby sister Audrey. Usually, at least one of them has to ride in the third row back seat and they don’t get to play with her. Since Brandey took Ella (and her carseat) with her to California, I made some room for them. We headed down the street and pulled into an older shopping center. I drove pretty slowly through the parking lot and eyed them in the rearview mirror. Smiling to myself, I could hear them whispering to each other as we pulled into the parking spot in front of Orange Leaf.

Orange Leaf is a frozen yogurt establishment that is geared towards fun, family, and kids. A customer of mine last week told me about it about a week ago, and said my kids would really enjoy it. It was painted bright orange, and lime green, and white, with hardwood floors. The decor was really bright, and it makes you feel happy when you walk in there.

Taralynn enjoying herself
We took turns mixing different kinds of yogurt together in our little cups. We were the only ones in there for a while, and I let Audrey roam around and crawl all over the place.
Baby Audrey!
The girls loved how they could choose their own toppings, and took turns making these small little spheres filled with juices pop in their mouths. They danced to the music, they played with Audrey, and I reveled in life for a little bit. I love being a dad 99.9% of the time, but these thirty minutes really did take the cake. They were happy, my wife was in California on vacation, so I knew she was happy. My two-year old, Ella, was with her mommy, so I knew she was happy too. It was actually one of the best feelings I’ve had in a really long time.
Three of 'em

We couldn’t stay there forever, though, and after a small discussion in the car we decided against bowling. Well, they decided against it. I suggested Union Station, and they were not really feeling that, either. Digging through the diaper bag, in the middle of this discussion, is when I realized that I had filled the container for Audrey’s formula, and then promptly left it on the kitchen counter. Sigh…

The discussion continued as we made our way to the store to buy more formula, and I conjured up the idea of the zoo. It was actually really nice outside, considering there was still snow melting on some corners around town, and we decided on that. I’ve been taking my kids to the zoo at least a couple times a year ever since they were babies. I think it’s an excellent opportunity to sit back and reflect on life, and how small we are in this world. Taking your kids to the zoo is an opportune time to talk with your children and also to really listen to your children. You can take this time to teach your kids about the animals, or if you choose to talk about other subjects in life, it’s the perfect chance.

Feeding the White-Tail Deer

Part of the zoo was closed off that day because they’re putting in an aerial exhibit (hopefully like the one at the Omaha Zoo). This was actually good news to me, because they reduced the price of the tickets. We were still able to see just about everything that was open, get some fresh air, some daddy-daughters time, and enjoy the nice weather.

In front of the Polar Bear exhibit

Walking to the car, the kids were already asking what we got to do next. “Home,” is all I replied. The ride back home was pretty quiet and Audrey fell asleep. The kids informed me that although they did not have school that day, that they did, in fact, have a school carnival that starts at 5:00. Sigh.

We go home for awhile to recuperate and recharge our batteries, and then load back up into the car. I had dressed up that night (if wearing a sweater vest is dressing up, that is). Taralynn told me I looked “hot.” Ash told her she can’t call me “hot,” because I’m her dad. She then warned me that if any women tried to talk to her dad, that she was going to tell Brandey on me. Man! That carnival was crowded.

Waiting in line to throw darts
There were so many kids I had to shield Audrey from. Meanwhile, the bigger girls were frantically trying to find where they could buy tickets, where they could get their hair painted,
Tara getting her hair sprayed

Ash getting her hair sprayed
and where they could bounce on the bouncy things. I was able to spot out their teachers and say a quick hello. All in all, the carnival was fun, but I was definitely happy when we got the heck up out of there.

Being the health-conscious guy that I am we headed to McDonalds for dinner. Eating swiftly was the name of the game, and the kids were more than happy to oblige. I think they could sense another surprise was on their way. Anyways, we got back up in the car, and drove on down the road to the skating rink. Yeah, the skating rink.

Suiting up for action
On a Friday night, no less. What was I thinking taking a ten-year-old and a seven-year-old and a baby to the skating rink on a Friday night? Who knows?
Lacing them up
Those teenage kids have some pretty colorful language though…

Taralynn was the smallest one out there, and I was a little scared for her seeing all those kids whiz past her. She held her own out there though, and in fact was one of the last five people or so left skating during the limbo contest before she fell. It was kind of a proud moment. The proud moment was forgot about quickly, however, as I noticed a wet spot forming on my arm and sweater vest. Thank you for that Audrey.

Bedtime was pretty easy, since we had such a long day. The next morning I had to watch my two nephews, so needless to say, we relaxed at home. There was a lot of Wii action, some pop tart action, and even a little Ramen Noodle action going on that day. I even did my kid’s nails that afternoon (Ash even got french tips)! I’m not going to sit here and tell you I’m a professional or nothing—but they did look pretty good. We did have dinner out, but relaxed at home after that. All in all, it was a pretty good day. The next day, however, was a totally different story.

It started out pretty decent. The kids were upstairs in their room playing a game (quietly). I was watching a little sportscenter, while Audrey was wandering throughout the house playing with everything that got in her path. Tara comes downstairs and sits down on the love seat and starts watching television with me. I asked what happened (a dad always knows when something is wrong—we’re just not that good at deciphering what exactly it is). I guess I’ll never know what caused that argument because she just kind of ignored me right then.

Ashleigh hurries down the stairs and says “I’m going to be upstairs in my room cleaning it up. I’m not going to clean any of Tara’s stuff. If she wants to live like a pig, then fine.” She turned back and headed right back up the steps. Sounds good to me.

I look over at Taralynn who is sitting with her arms crossed. I tell her to wait until Ashleigh is done cleaning upstairs before she goes up there. Tara, being the impatient little girl that she is, went up before she was finished. I hear screaming almost automatically and rush upstairs. Apparently, Ashleigh decided to clean up Taralynn’s stuff after all, and had made her bed. This infuriated Tara to the point of tears and fisticuffs apparently, because that is Tara’s property—and Ashleigh is not allowed to touch it. Hmmmm…

I try not to physically remove them from each other, but it was quite necessary for all three of our sanities. I now held the awkward position of playing “bouncer,” trying to keep Tara from attacking her older sister. After the third time of jumping up from my seat and carrying Tara back to hers, I confront her about her anger issue.

I remind her of all the fun we had these past few days, and recall all the events of Friday. She screams at me “SO?!”

Incredulously, I respond “Don’t you even care about all the stuff I did for you guys this week?”

“MY MOM does even more stuff than that ALL the time! It’s not that big of a deal! You’re the one making a big deal about it. Not me! So what?”

Uhhhh…

“Taralynn, I am not and have never been in a competition with your mother to see which one of us is the better parent…”

“GOOD. CUZ IF YOU WERE IN A COMPETITION WITH MOM, YOU WOULD LOSE EVERY SINGLE TIME!!!”

Pause…

Wow. That really hurt…

I don’t question my methods this weekend. I wanted to do all that stuff with my kids. I had fun. I know they did too. I hope they appreciate one day, all the stuff we do for them. For now though, I guess kids sometimes really do say the darndest things…

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Author:

Hello. I'm a 37 year old installation specialist, former bartender, husband and proud father of five children (all of which are girls).

3 thoughts on “Wow. That Really Hurt…

  1. I’ve been there. The one that never got to do the fun stuff. Let it blow over. It’s not about how much you get to do for them as it is you being there for them. Keep up the good work.

  2. Great story here again. I especially like the part where your were painting the fingernails. I’m just trying to imagine that scene in my head.Lol, too cute.

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