This is how it went down last Friday:

[Ring, Ring…]

Me: (picking up my cellphone and seeing it is my wife calling at 3:30 pm) Hello, honey!

Wife: (not bothering to say “hello, I love you my darling husband” but I can tell, with teeth clenched…) Your daughter has locked the dog in the bathroom just because she wanted to!

Me: (chuckling) ugh, which one?

Wife: THE FOUR-YEAR-OLD one!

Me: (I still can’t believe I said this…) Isn’t it naptime now? Shouldn’t she be in bed?

Wife: WHERE IS THE SCREWDRIVER? I NEED TO SPRING THE DOG!

I told you that story so that I could tell you this one:

Last night, I got home from work at about 6:30 pm which is a tad later than normal (by a tad, I mean 3 minutes). My wife had already had a busy an exhausting day; she had done grocery shopping (which means three different stores: Kroger, Costco and ALDI), cleaned the house and managed to homeschool the crew. In the midst of this ball of frenzy, she had locked her keys in the van while at ALDI. (This has happened at least two other times…but it doesn’t help my cause to remember these details).

Anyway, I arrive home and the food is pleasantly set on the table no more than 17 seconds after I remove my coat.

The kids are wiggly and giggly.

Milk is poured, chicken is cut up in manageable, bite-sized pieces, bread is buttered and the children are corraled. (Have you ever seen the commercial about herding cats? There is another favorite of ours where, sitting down to what appears to be a quiet, romantic dinner and lovers stare longingly into one another’s eyes, the man is assaulted by a flying pea…from one of his children.)

Dinner is rather normal (for us, anyway). Our son, who almost always finishes first since he doesn’t bother to chew his food, is sitting in his chair waiting on dad to finish so that we can review our catechisms as a family. He decides to squeeze the barbecue sauce bottle (just because) and a geyser of honey-flavored BBQ erupts some five feet overhead and adheres to the ceiling.

The table erupts in laughter. Mom shoots me “the look” but then, unable to contain herself, joins the cackling.

Do you think we were going to get through eight questions of the Westminster Shorter Catechism that night?

Being the steadfast and diligent leader of the household, Dad pressed on: catechisms must be done! After mini many failed attempts because of some giggle aftershocks, mom called it quits and sent the children upstairs for showers.

Normally, I follow the children blessings upstairs to keep them on task. Normally, I say, because in my wisdom as I surveyed the lay of the land and the context of the situation I realized that the children could stay on task themselves (RIGHT). I was tired, my wife was tired and I just wanted to help her clean up the kitchen so it could be done and we could begin to relax. The wiggly-worms blessings would be self-controlled enough to handle showers themselves tonight.

Normally, even with my oversight, preparing for the bathing process takes five minutes; it shouldn’t, but it does. All they have to do is grab clean underwear, pajamas and their towel; you see, that takes five minutes with four children.

After hearing more wiggling and giggling for over five minutes, I surmised that maybe they had not gotten in the showers yet (the boy showers in the master bathroom while the girls are together in the hall bathroom).

Hearing the pitter-patter of little feet in the hall, I begin up the stairs, when–halfway up I hear a…

“fffffffffffffTHUMP” then all four burst out in raucous howling.

As I arrive to the summit and turn I see a sopping wet glob of toilet paper sliding down the hall closet door. Tigger (guess why we refer to her in that way) is in the perfect big-league pitcher’s follow-thru stance–frozen in time.

Aparently, they were not self-controlled enough to bathe themselves.

Maybe I will learn from this.

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