Well, ABW asked me to write a guest blog since she's busy moving and suggested that I tell the story of when I came down from Denver one day to babysit as Gunner was off doing army training or something. At first I felt I wouldn't be able to remember many of the events from that day but then it all started coming back to me like a bad dream. You have to remember that I don't have children and it's experiences like these that make me glad for that.
I will start off the story by saying that it wasn't that bad overall. However, that being said, there was still a text to ABW at some point saying something to the effect of "I'm surprised you don't drink more."
ABW had an early deployment meeting to attend and was going to be gone for about two and a half hours which included travel time and her obsession with being extremely early to everything. Sammy was so hyper with so much energy that day and I remember thinking that what he really needed was a proper walk. I thought a trip to the park would be a great activity and that Abs should be a part of this process since dog walking was originally supposed to be one of her responsibilities when they got him. I explained all of this to Abs and then proceeded to get Junior ready since I also wanted him to go along (I just love that kid--besides the potty training issues, he's the right age and stage for me). It wasn't that difficult to get him ready, though there was some coercion with socks and shoes and I did have to pry him away from the television. Luckily he really likes me and didn't put up a fight. I decided that Em wasn't going with us. I knew she had no interest in going as she isn't my biggest fan and has no interest in outdoor activities. Also, she had homework that needed to be completed and getting her to do her homework had been an issue in the house at that time. So, I informed her that her mother would be checking her homework later and that she'd better be doing her homework and not watching television while we were gone.
Of course, before we even left the garage, I could see it going downhill. First there was an issue getting the leash on Sammy. All he wanted to do was play with it and started going nuts trying to chew/bite it. I was under the impression that they always used the harness and when I asked Abs about it she didn't know where it was or how to put it on. I began to get annoyed and was already jumping to the conclusion that Abs wasn't being entirely truthful. It's just hard to tell with her sometimes and I don't want to be the one that she pulled one over on. Oh well, I just decided that we would go without the harness. Then, Abs TOLD me that she was going to ride Andrew's scooter and that I would walk the dog. Um, no, this wasn't the plan. She was to walk Sammy and I would walk with Junior. Of course, once she brought up the scooter idea, Junior wanted to ride it. Fantastic, now our walk included a scooter. We were only half a block away and I was already ready to turn back. Abs wouldn't just walk Sammy like I asked because she kept waiting for Junior and I. Well, Junior and I were now going super slow as Junior was attempting to ride the scooter. The main reason for the outing was to give Sammy a walk and this wasn't really happening. We made it another half a block before Junior fell and barely scuffed his knee--nothing serious but you know how that goes. We had to discuss his new "ouchy" for awhile before we could get on our way. Luckily we started moving faster at that point as Junior no longer had an interest in riding the scooter and I was there to carry if for him.
Once we were at the park, the kids hit the playground area. I couldn't go into the actual area since dogs aren't allowed in there. Of course, Abs kept trying to tell me that Sammy could come onto the playground. On her third attempt to let me let Sammy onto the playground, I finally pointed out the sign above her head stating the playground rules and the subject was dropped. Of course, Sammy was running and jumping around and wouldn't stop tying to chew/bite his leash and was starting to get really annoying. That dog is so good in the house, so I was amazed at the transition and couldn't help but think he needed more walks or something.
Then Abs decided she was going to climb a tree. I didn't know if this was a good idea, but at least it seemed to calm Sammy down since he could be closer to one of the kids. And, since I'm tall I figured I could help get her down if need be and there was really no stopping her. She spent what seemed like forever climbing around on one low branch. As soon as I mentioned that it was time to go, she announced that she'd "hurt" her ankle and couldn't get down. I finally had to lift her out of the tree. Now, don't think I don't listen to the kids and take them seriously. If one of them says they're hurt, I"m going to check it out. But, I've also heard many Abs stories over the years so I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a lot of doubt. After I lifted her out of the tree she proceeded to limp around. I couldn't actually see her ankle because she was wearing cowboy boots (yes, that's right, cowboy boots). However, it didn't take me long to notice the inconsistencies of her new limp, particularly when she mentioned that she would HAVE to ride the scooter back because of her injury. Now I could see where this was going. After waiting for Junior for what seemed like at least twenty "just one more time" trips down the slide, we proceeded to walk back.
Abs explained that she had probably sprained her ankle but was doing okay with the use of the scooter (ironically she could still use both legs equally well and her occasional limping would switch from one leg to the other). She then wanted to hold my hand and asked me not to tell her mother because she'd think Abs was "sweet"on me. I suggested she keep both hands on the scooter. Junior didn't want to walk anymore so I had him on my shoulders while walking Sammy who was still going nuts and trying to chew/bite the leash. Then it finally happened. Sammy broke the leash and now I had a leashless dog running around. Great. There wasn't a lot of traffic on the road we were next to, but I wasn't going to be the one that killed the dog. So, guess who got to carry Sammy back to the house? He's not a big dog mind you, but bigger than mine and more than anyone really wants to carry for twenty minutes while he's squirming, etc. This did nothing for the sciatic pain I was experiencing (and still am, but that's a different matter).. Of course, Junior still wanted to be carried but understood that I couldn't carry both him and Sammy. So, he decided to hug one of my legs for support and I was now the walking with a limp due to the extra weight. Luckily Abs was miraculously getting better as long as she stayed on the scooter of course.
Anyway, we finally made it home. That's when I sent the text to ABW about drinking. Though nothing monumental happened once we got back, it wasn't a time for boredom either. I had to clean Junior's nearly invisible wound and, more importantly, put a children's band-aid on it. Of course, Abs also needed a band-aid for her ankle and then asked me not to say anything to her mother about what had happened. Oh don't worry Abs, your secret is safe with me. I made individual microwave pizzas for everyone as prescribed by ABW, though Abs was adamant that I didn't need to cut Junior's pizza into smaller pieces. Junior didn't have a problem with it and ate each and every bite. Before and during dinner, Abs was using her microscope on the table and was attempting to dye things red to see them better. Seriously? This only proved to make a huge red mess on ABW's nearly new kitchen table. By that point I pulled a "wait until your mother gets home" which caused her to realize she'd better clean it up or ABW wasn't going to be happy. I asked Em which one of them normally took the first bath and she told me that Junior goes first. I had no intention of doing that right away and suggested she go first to help me get the ball rolling with Abs. Of course, I later found out that Em always goes first. You just can't trust any of them. Anyway, it wasn't long before ABW made it home and I cracked open a bottle of wine.
So, babysitting wasn't that bad. But I know I'd be crazy if they were in my custody all day each and every day--they need a mother's love. The point of this story is that the things ABW blogs about really do happen and if you're ever in the neighborhood you should stop off and babysit--it's an experience you won't soon forget but will wish you could.
ABW here.....I've known Dave since we were 19 and in college. He truly does love my children, but not being an experienced parent, he often finds times with them a little on the overwhelming side. LOL