You Better Stay Busy, Dad

For a few good years, I was fortunate enough to be a work-at-home dad. That’s when I was able to really get my hands dirty with the axle grease of child rearing, from morning routines, to cooking and feeding, to potty training, to the night time wind-down. Now that I have a “real job,” my weekday interaction with Marcus has been severely curtailed to not much more than a groggy kiss as I leave the house, and 10 minutes playtime, 2 books and a goodnight hug and kiss after I return in the evening. Luckily, I still have weekends to live out the adventures that blogs are made of. But Marcus isn’t one to be short-changed. He has instituted a very strict Quality Control policy to our precious daily 10 minutes. Here are some typical exchanges:

* * * *

Me: Ok, I’m starting the timer right n...
Marcus: NO WAIT! I need to put this claw piece on my Bionicle first. Can you do this?
Me: Let me just start the tim...
Marcus: But without the claw, I can’t play. That’s not playtime, is it?
Me: *sigh* gimme that...

* * * *

Me: Ok, ten minutes starts... now!
[I dig through the bin]
Marcus: You’re not playing with me. Play with me!
Me: Wha? Yes I am! I’m trying to decide which Bionicle I’m gonna be!
Marcus: You weren’t ready. I want a do-over!

* * * *

Me: There’s not enough light in here.
[Walk over to lamp, turn on lamp, return to playing]
Beep
Me: Fury did you just stop the timer?
Marcus: Yeah. That didn’t count as playing.

* * * *

Me: Neeeeeer! Kablow! Gotcha! Blue leader confirms the kill.
Marcus: Roger roger blue leader!
[Start picking something out of my teeth]
Marcus: Your not playing--
Me: Brue Leawer wocked on carget. Hwire Wissiles! Girect Hit!

* * * *

[Cell phone rings – it’s the wife. We have a house rule not to yell from another room. This is the parental work-around.]
Me: Hey... no, not yet. Ok, yeah. I’ll look for it later... I’m...
Marcus: Awwwwooouu!! That’s not playinnng!
Me: Ok... yeah, I think I know where it is. Hey, gotta go, I’m cutting into our ten minutes. Bye.
Me: Sorry Fury, mom needed to ask me something. I’ll credit you one minute.
Marcus: That was four minutes!
Me: Nice try. I have a timer on my phone too, boy.

* * * *

Beeep Beeep Beeep...
Marcus: Huh? That was too short!
Me: That was ten minutes, son. I can’t alter time.
Marcus: That doesn’t count! I spent 1 minute finding the piece that I dropped.
Me: That took ten seconds! No. Bed. Now.
Marcus: Thanks for my nine minutes playtime, Dad.

* * * *

[Stories have been read, water administered, goodnights exchanged. Marcus is in bed.]
Me: Ahhh. All done!
Wife: It’s 9:20! He’s supposed to be in bed by 9:00! I thought you started getting him ready at 8:30?
Me: ... but he dropped his toy... and the lamp... I had to bonus him... and then...
Wife: *sigh*
Me: I gotta check my email.

nightshift.jpg

My nightshift manager and co-workers