We jumped at the chance to help take care of three grandkids while their mom and dad did duties at a church camp retreat! It’s what grandparents do.
We jump in and help, you know? All for one, and one for all! Do it for the team!
Oh, did I mention it was at Lake Tahoe? In a cabin setting? Second story waterfront view? Alright. Well, SURE! Happy, happy, happy to fly from Texas to help!!
Our job was to help entertain the three munchkins, ages 6, 4, and 2, even though they all answer “and a half” when asked their age.
Life is odd like that. By the time you’re my age, you round down. In fact, birthdays are now Pretend To Have Ten Fewer Candles on the Cake Day! Besides, it saves the environment from candle pollution and the smoke detector doesn’t go off!
Anyway, at the retreat center, Janet and I discovered there was no adjoining door between the rooms. In fact, there were three queen size beds in our room….with only one bed in Mommy and Daddy’s room.
Uh, huh! That’s just stinkin’ parental brilliance right there! Why didn’t I think of that as a young parent?!
Friday night, the kids were so good, like three little angels. They went right to sleep. Easy, peasy.
The next morning we got up for a fun-filled Saturday with Mommy, Daddy and the Three Musketeers. At night time, Mommy and Daddy had duties to fulfill, so Janet and I flew solo with the tribe.
It had been a great day! Such fun!!
But the kids were tired. They had the sniffles, and all three were personal crusaders against the injustices of life, “wrongs” that each perceived to be against them personally. It was all major stuff, like it’s not fair that I forgot my Transformer toy in the car, and he got more toothpaste than me!
Then they got silly in the head tired. You know, the laughing, giggling, backup battery on limited reserve kind. Eventually the Three Stooges calmed down. Teeth were brushed, and everyone was using inside voices.
Before lights out, JJ rotated baths while I was a one-man band of entertainment.
Then, we cleaned spilled snacks. Alright, go potty (the kids you understand, the kids.) After they made bubbles, underroos came off, pullups on. Last drink.
Nighty-night prayers. Sing a song. One last drink. Bedtime story. Lights off. Last, last drink.
Janet and I finally collapsed in bed for a long winter nap! Yes!!
No ma’am. No sir. No sleep. No way!
In East Texas they say, “That dog don’t hunt!” It became a Three Dog Night!
9:16 PM — Lights out.
9:17 PM — Emmie cries. Fake cry.
9:18 PM — Caed punches.
9:19 PM — Nate retaliates.
9:21 PM — Emmie, “I thiwsty”. OK, last drink, but that’s the final, final last drink.
9:22 PM — Caed, “I’m thirsty too.” JJ hands him water bottle. “That’s Nate’s!”
9:23 PM — JJ comes back with his water bottle.
9:24 — Nate, “I want water too!
9:26 — Caed blows nose. Was like two snot volcanoes erupting.
9:28 — Emmie sings favorite song, “Away in a manger, (the remaining words were constantly changing and unintelligible) nod rib Ford a dead…”
9:29 — “Time to go to sleep Emmie.”
9:30 — Cries. “I want Mommy!”
9:41 — Nate has to go to bathroom.
9:43 — Announces he “accidentally” flushed a band aid.
9:45 — Caed wants Mommy.
9:46 — Wants to call Mommy on phone, like, right now!
9:47 — That makes Emmie want Mommy again.
9:57 — Small voice, “It’s too dark.” Wants light.
9:58 — Turn on bathroom light with door closed. Room lights up like an airline runway!
10:06 — “Away in a manger, co bib sore b head…”
10:20 — Singing stops! Thank you, Lord! Come on dear Sandman!
10:52 — Caed screams. Even the dead in nearby cemetery are startled!
10:53 — Caed sits up in bed in sleep terrors.
10:54 — Slowly turns head toward me. In deep, raspy voice says, “I want my Mommy!”
10:55 — Spooky! Hair stands on back of my neck. Deep, growling voice says “I want my Daddy!” Linda Blair in the Exorcist wasn’t this creepy!
10:56 — Ask if he wants water. Yes, of course. Hand him water bottle. It’s Nate’s. Look for his.
10:58 — Find it under bed.
10:59 — While handing Caed water bottle, he projectile vomits on my arm, his pajamas and bed spread.
11:07 — Janet has him cleaned up. I’m still gagging in corner.
11: 13 — All is quiet. Janet checks on kids again. Nate’s wide awake and asks, “Why do T-Rexes have such little arms?”
11:55 — Kids all asleep. Janet’s asleep. I start counting sheep. “One sheep jumps over the neighbor’s fence. Two sheep…”
12:01 — 84 sheep jump over the…
12:09 — 176 sheep…
1:09 — Caed crying again. Wants Mommy.
1:10 — Janet texts Mommy. No answer.
1:11 — Psft! Bet Mommy and Daddy are sleeping soundly next door!!
2:00 — A shrill scream wakes us followed by, “MOMMY!”
2:01 — Janet tucks Emmie back in.
2:06 — “Away in a manger, moe wib door a squid…”
2:09 — Janet, “Be quiet Emerson”
2:13 — Me, “Go to sleep Emmie”
2:16 — “Hush, Emerson!”
2:23 — “Away in a manger, low lib core le lead…”
2:24 — In unison, “SHHH!”
2:28 — A scream, “Mommy!!” Dead people wake again.
2:35 — We check on kids. Nate’s wide awake again! “T-Rex arms really are small!”
2:36 — Janet starts whispering about breaking out Oreos and giving kids cookies to help them sleep. I’m thinking Benadryl.
3:10 — Emmie still awake. Talking to self.
3:32 — “Away in a manger, yo fib more day said…” Teaching her new song tomorrow!
4:02 — It’s quiet. Need to go to restroom, but don’t get up. Flush may wake kids.
4:08 — Camels get humps from drinking water. Wondering if they get them from NOT going to restroom?
4:09 — Think I hear Mommy and Daddy snoring next door!
4:10 — Nate’s right! Why are T-Rex arms so little?
4:11 — Question if nights like this are why some species eat their young?
Sometime or another… s.l.e.e.p ….zzzz….
6:04 AM — Caed wakes up.
6:06 AM — Nate and Emmie wake for the day. Janet stumbles out of bed.
6:07 AM — Dreaming hot air blowing in my face. Crack one eye open. Caed’s inches from my face staring intently. I jump and he immediately smiles, “Hi Pawpaw!!”
6:08 AM — Up for good. Coffee, PLEASE! Coffee!!
So fellow grandparents, before you jump on an offer from your adult offspring to keep your grandchildren, get ALL the details up front. Just sayin’!
So, would we go do this all over again?