Tuesday, February 20, 2024

The stay-at-home dad: A rowdy Saturday night

by Tyler Wilson
| May 19, 2020 11:59 AM

A rowdy Saturday night

After a long week of working and managing the kids’ still at-home schooling, my wife and I like to relax and celebrate on Saturday night. We take precious time for ourselves - we drink wine, watch R-rated movies and eat the secret candy and ice cream we don’t share with the children.

J-K. Lol. We spend three hours trying to put our kids to bed.

Bedtime is 7:30 in our house. That seems early, sure, but that’s just when we begin the process of bedtime, and the weekend process takes much longer. The kids know we don’t have to work the next day, and so they must think we have more patience for their nighttime nonsense.

We don’t.

Last Saturday night, I took notes of all the interactions we had with our four kids once we said “Goodnight.” After all the bedtime stories, songs and prep, that “Goodnight” occurred at 8:23 p.m.

8:24: The two-year-old hollers: “Where Chase go?” over and over again.

Chase is one of several “Paw Patrol” stuffed animals in his bed. After we switch on the light, we discover Chase literally laying next to him in the bed.

Me: “Chase is right here. Night, night.”

Two-year-old: “Wheels on the bus?”

Me: “We already did all your songs!”

Two-year-old: Wheels on the BUS!

Another round of “Wheels on the Bus” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider-man” and it’s 8:41. Door closed.

8:42: “Where Spider-Man go?”

He pushed his little stuffed Spider-Man toy out of the bed on purpose.

8:45: Six-year-old comes out. “I’m scared.”

Me: “What’s scaring you, son?”

Six-year-old: “I don’t know. My tummy hurts and my heart is racing.”

Me: “Do you have to poop?”

Six-year-old: “No.”

Sidenote: He absolutely has to poop.

8:48: Six-year-old: “I’ve gotta go poop.”

8:54: My five-year-old daughter hollers from her room in the basement: “Dad, I can’t go to sleep.”

Me: “Yes, you can. Just snuggle your piggie and stop talking to your sister.” (She shares a room with her 8-year-old sister).

Five-year-old: “I can’t!”

Me: “Yes you can.”

This continues for several minutes. She comes upstairs for more hugs and it’s 9 p.m.

9:03: Eight-year-old hollers up the stairs: “Dad, don’t get mad, but she told me to tell you that she still can’t go asleep.”

Me: “Yes she can, she just needs to stop talking.”

Eight-year-old: “She’s not stopping.”

Me: “I know.”

Both come up for hugs. It’s 9:10.

9:12: Five-year-old: “My finger hurts.”

Me: “Put some lotion on it and go to bed.”

Five-year-old: “It’s cut.”

It’s not cut. She’s talking about one of her fingernails being too short, which it isn’t.

Me: “You’ve gotta stop chewing on your fingernails.”

Five-year-old: “I don’t chew my fingernails.”

Sidenote: She absolutely chews her fingernails.

Me: “What do you want? Do you want a Band-Aid even though you don’t need one?”

Five-year-old: “Yes please.”

Bandage applied, hugs and back down she goes - 9:24 p.m.

9:25: Five-year-old: “I need more ice water.”

This is a trick. She doesn’t actually like ice water, but she knows she has to come back upstairs to get ice rather than simply refilling the water in her bathroom sink. Water, hugs, the 100th “Goodnight.”

9:27: Eight-year-old: “My leg has a weird bump on it.”

Me: “What does it look like?”

Eight-year-old: “I don’t know. It itches.”

Me: “Lotion.”

Eight-year-old: “Will you look at it?”

She comes upstairs. The five-year-old comes upstairs and we look at the nearly microscopic bump on her calf. She puts lotion on it. 9:47.

9:58: Just enough time goes by for my wife and I to start an “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” episode and pour ourselves a couple small bowls of Mixed Berry Skittles. We hear a door creak open but nobody speaks or appears.

Me: “Who’s up? What do you need?”

No response. A minute goes by, we restart the episode and I glance over at my wife sitting on the couch. Our five-year-old son is standing right behind her. Naturally, I’m terrified by the sudden appearance of this nearly comatose, ghoul-looking figure. My wife screams when she finally notices him over her shoulder.

Me: “What do you need buddy?”

No response.

Me: “Do you need something? Did you have a bad dream?”

No response. He stands there for another minute before dropping into his mom’s lap. He listens to some inappropriate “Always Sunny” banter before I pick him up and plop him back into bed. 10:13 p.m.

10:21: Another door creaks. No voice. No appearance. We call out for our son, who has possibly become possessed by a banshee. We hear the door creak shut.

10:24: My wife hears another creak, so she goes around the corner to our sons’ room. I hear her scream. She’s startled by our son standing in the doorway of his room in the dark. She puts him to bed. I hide the sharp knives in the kitchen and my wife and I consider barricading ourselves into our bedroom.

The terror abates and by 10:43 it appears all four children are finally asleep. Finally some time to ourselves. We finish the Skittles and “Always Sunny.” For a few blissful moments, we remember what it was like to be young and childless on Saturday nights. By 11 p.m. we’d have finished at least four “Always Sunny” episodes and multiple bags of Skittles! But when you have kids, you have to learn to be sensible. Really savor each individual Skittle, because you don’t know which one will be your last.

11:35 p.m. - The five-year-old hollers up the stairs: “Do you have Skittles?”