Have you ever had one of those moments that seem so perfectly timed that you swear your kids planned ahead of time and you are the one looking childish? I had one of those moments tonight at Tae Kwon Do.
So Lindsey went to get a new pair of glasses and said I should take the 3 boys to Zachary's Tae Kwon Do practice. Sure, no problem, what could go wrong, I thought. Of course, forgetting that I had 3 boys under the age of 6 that don't sit still or listen or obey. But besides that, it should be easy. Well, I came prepared with snacks, drinks, and the secret weapon. Zachary went in to practice and the two bleachers full of parents filled up to watch the practice. I sat down with my 2 little angels, we were watching Z, and everything was great... for those 2 minutes. Then Drew wanted the snacks. Out of the 45 minute practice, snacks were supposed to come in play at minute 18 on the "Distractability Timeline." Followed by drinks, play area, short walk, snacks again, drinking fountain, and then bounce up and down if there was still time left. We were way ahead of schedule! Well drinks were immediately asked for at minute 4! I should have known cause snacks were salty pretzels. Always plan your foods with your drinks, never separate. Know that with salty foods, drinks come sooner, but with candy and gum, drinks can be delayed cause they want the sugar taste to remain in their mouth as long as possible. Rookie mistake. Well after this, Nate, who I had been holding, wanted down. I thought he would stay right by us. I thought wrong. He thought, "how many times can I pass by these rows of parents and their well-behaved children until they start judging my daddy?" (The answer is 5, by the way.) So I now began the 'Great Nate Race.' Drew luckily was still following the timeline and had begun playing in the play area they have there. Still ahead of schedule but following it. And I say "play area" loosely. Its a partition behind the row of parents with 3 wall bead activity toys and 2 "map" rugs. Once I caught Nate, I brought him back from the rows of parents to this play area, which entertained him for 10 seconds until the race re-commenced. At this point, I am calling Lindsey to find out how she is doing and to do my job as a dad with all the kids: complain about it. But while I am on the phone, Nate runs into the bathroom and decides to check to check the water temperature in the men's bathroom's toilet. To which I say to Lindsey, "I gotta go." I wash his hands and arms up to the shoulders and find that the blower in the bathroom provides me with a good 2 minutes of distraction for him. Not on the timeline but you have to improvise. At this point, Drew decides he wants to have a race too. So with Nate in my arms, he begins to run around in front of these parents, to prove to them that its not my child who is the problem but it is the father! Oh and I had Lindsey on the phone at the time, and when Drew took off I once again said "I gotta go." I even had to count to Drew to come back: 1.....2.... and luckily he came back because he and I both didn't know what was going to happen at 3. I get them both to the play area to try snacks again and to call Lindsey back but Nate runs away around the corner and returns with some random mom's cell phone in his hand. I grab it and luckily return before she even notices. I see Drew is about to run again so I bring out the secret weapon: the ipod touch. Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, confessed in an interview that the sole reason for the invention of the iphone or ipod was to distract children in public. Thats not true but I am sure it was a welcome side effect for Apple. Well Drew loves it and it works for him. But not for Nate. He continues his class on Parent Humiliation 101, by almost running into the dojo itself and joining Zachary's class.
Luckily the 45 minute class ended (in Parent Time it lasted 8 hours), and Zachary came out. It was at this point, the moment happened. The perfectly timed moment that was so seamless and precise, it had to be pre-meditated by the 3 of them. They were all at my feet, and all at once, they split and ran in 3 different directions! It was in this split second I think 3 things: 1) Oh my gosh, don't freak out, 2) Which one do I go after? and deep down, subconsciously 3) Which one is hardest to replace? So seeing that Nate is headed for the women's bathroom to check the pH levels in that toilet, I go after him first. Luckily Drew who ran toward the door, realized no one was with him. And he knows that doing something bad and disobedient is not worth it unless someone is there to witness it, turns around to get his witness and follows Zachary into the men's bathroom. So with Nate in my arms, Drew by the hand and kneeing Zachary toward the door, I declare, "We are leaving!" But of course, Drew wiggles out of my hand, Zachary takes off through the crowd of parents toward the front door and Nate begins screaming to let him down to run too. I am fed up at this time and just want to grab someone else's well-behaved children and head home. Because at this point, I am thinking "I came with 3 and if I can get at least 2 of my children home, then you know 2 out of 3 ain't bad." Well, I managed to get all 3 before we reached the front door and we all returned home in one piece.
So at the end of the day, we all learned something. Drew learned that Daddy is full of empty threats and he is all talk and no number 3. Nate learned that toilet water is 10 degrees colder than room temperature. Zachary learned that her prefers to have mom take him to class. And I learned that I agree with him.
Hoping you have an only child that can't conspire with their siblings,
The Joyful and Tired Dad