For the rest of your life, you are outnumbered. If one of you is having one-on-one time with one of the kids, the other is stuck with a 2-on-1, or worse.
In hockey, when one team has more players than the other, they call it a “power play.” Well, as my wife knocked off a bucket list item to see Oprah live in our city last night, it was my turn to head out on the ice and try to kill off the power play.
The challenge? 1 dad, 2 boys, and swimming lessons.
I know, I know, I know. All you super moms, with multiple kids do this sort of thing all the time. You pile your herd into a mini van for groceries, doctor appointments, and assorted activities. My wife and I have always divided to conquer our boys. Rare is the time we will submit ourselves to their power play. Getting out and going on an adventure is easy when you’re outnumbered, it’s when you have to involve changing, showering, and being soaking wet that makes things a little more complicated.
Getting there was supposed to be easy. The boys are pre-swimsuited, and so the only thing we have to do is take off a layer when we get to the pool. Easy, right? Wrong.
The parking lot was full, again, and I had to park a couple of hundred meters away from the front door. No big deal except I had not put pants on the boys, and had left their warm winter coats at home. The coats are just too bulky to carry in my swim bag with towels and jammies and accessories. So they wore a light fleece.
We run to the door, pop inside and warm up. Zacharie (my 5 year old) loves swimming, and bounces to his class. Charlie (3), is experiencing lessons for the first time and isn’t as thrilled. “I want to see Mama,” he complains. Eventually the tears die down and he grasps his teacher’s hand to the pool.
The next 30 minutes are dead easy. I sit and trade tweets with my wife at the Oprah show while the boys swim. The hard part is still to come.
After lessons, Charlie is crying again. He insisted on wearing a swim shirt, and now he is cold in his wet top. Zacharie runs to the kiddie hot tub, but he can’t go in because then Charlie will want to go in and I can’t go in to watch both of them.
So we shuffle down to the change room, which on a midweek night after dinner, is absolutely jammed. The hooks across from the showers are taken, all the stalls are full, and I just can’t bear to do the dance with two naked babies in a crowd.
So we find a sliver of bench. Zacharie is a hero and does most of his wet change on his own, while Charlie whines into his pjs. Back on with the fleeces instead of a heavy coat for the freezing hike back to a cold car that has both of them shivering.
We finally get home just before bedtime. The boys have a “tiny snack”, and crash within 10 minutes of hitting the sheets.
Okay, it wasn’t “that hard,” and as the boys get older this sort of 2-on-1 gets easier, but I did miss a few key steps in trying to make the process easier.
They didn’t have showers after swimming because of the outnumbered chaos. They didn’t have baths when we got home because we were too late. I didn’t put their swim trunks in the washing machine because I don’t know how it works (truth), and then I got heck this morning for not turning on the dishwasher after dinner because I don’t know how (another embarrassing truth.)
Each and every time I go out for the power play, I gain more and more respect for you parents who chose to have lots of kids, or do it on your own.