Something fishy is going on here.
So I went away for a night. Just me. No kids. No Jeff. Just a nice relaxing getaway with a few other people who also haven't had a good night sleep since the Clinton administration. And while we still didn't get much sleep, at least our insomnia was the result of bar-hopping and having to pee in the middle of the night, and not the result of being startled awake by a mini-person appearing at our bedside and insisting that Cookie Monster was scuttling around the house and making ridiculous demands for Oreos at 2 in the morning.
I wasn't really that worried about Jeff being alone with the kids for 24 hours. He's a pretty capable person. Were he dumped onto a deserted tropical island, armed with nothing but a shoelace, a broken lighter and an empty paint can, he would find a way to either sustain himself for the next ten years, or fashion an elaborate escape plan that would land him on another tropical island, this one inhabited by voluptuous Pacific Island women bearing pineapples and pina coladas.
I did, however, think I would be receiving a text every hour or so. A question. A comment. A desperate cry for help. Anything that would lead me to believe that having all three kids by yourself can sometimes be difficult. A question about Finn's feeding habits. Or help locating the entourage of stuffed animals Rollie sleeps with. Or permission to lock Elsa in her room for an hour until she stops shrieking about her chicken nuggets:
What do u do w/ Finn while ur in the shower? (Answer: Strap him in a bouncy chair, ignore him and pretend I don't have children.)
How many bags of fruit snacks can they have in a day? (Answer: Any number is too many, and they've probably already eaten five each when you weren't looking. I never voluntarily dole out fruit snacks, yet the boxes turn up empty every once in a while, and I find wrappers behind various pieces of furniture. Which of course begs the question, why do I even buy them? I think it's one of those purchases I make at the store when I'm in my zombie-like trance in those middle aisles--I don't even realize I'm buying them, yet they end up in my cart as if by some mystical teleportation. Either that or Elsa tosses them in while Rollie distracts me with his very detailed questions about the lobster tank, including whether we can have a pet lobster for our very own.)
Can I take Elsa into the ladies room or will I get beat up by little old ladies? (Answer: No. And Yes.)
How do u get anything done with all 3 kids around? (Answer: I don't. Have you seen the house lately? Or my car? Or my unibrow?)
This was the actual extent of our texting while I was gone:
Me: How's it going? (Translation: You're ready to pull out your hair, aren't you?)
Jeff: Great! Have fun!
Me: On our way to eat. Beautiful here. Miss ya. Everything okay? (Translation: I do miss you. I don't, however, miss having to leap up every five minutes to fetch something, feed someone, change a diaper, clean up after someone, or thwart a potential trip to the ER. Which is what you're probably doing right now. Are you insane yet?)
Jeff: Yep! Miss you, too.
Me: Getting ready to head out. U doing okay? (Translation: If you don't respond to this text in ten minutes I will assume the kids have you hog-tied and stuffed behind a dresser, and are currently raiding the pantry for fruit snacks.)
Jeff: All good here. Don't worry. Have a great time!
See what I mean? He was waaaay too upbeat, chipper, confident and reassuring. I bet he wasn't even drinking, either.
So then I started getting suspicious. I starting thinking that maybe he was just trying to put me at ease about being away for the night. In reality he was actually at his wits' end, up to his armpits in chaos, the house was trashed, the kids were sticky, Finn was screaming, and he was doing his best to put up a good show while I was gone so I wouldn't worry. Or think him inept. Or get all smug and say, See...being home with the kids ain't so easy, is it?
But when I got home the next day, the house was spotless. The kitchen counters were all cleared off. I mean...completely. Cleared. Off. Just so you can appreciate the magnitude of that particular feat, I had piles of stuff on those counters that have been sitting there pretty much since we bought the house. Stuff that had been sitting there so long I no longer noticed it--it had become part of the decor. I was actually thinking about repainting the kitchen to match the lovely shade of junk-mail ecru.
And the laundry was done. I could actually see the bottom of the laundry basket. Not just done--put away. Not left in piles the washer, dryer, children's dressers, the coffee table, our bed, anything that sits still long enough for me to leave a stack of folded clothes on top (yes, this includes our dog). He even rinsed out the little detergent measuring cups. Who does that? Fishy, I tell ya.
|Bonus Question: Which are Rollie's and which are Elsa's?|
And it's not like the kids were parked in front of the television whilst my little house-elf was busily tidying up the place. When I came home I was greeted by an impressive display of artistic creativity the likes of which I haven't seen since my own sick day a year or so ago.
Being the passive-agressive cynic that I am, I sort of waited around for Jeff to leak out details of his not-so-easy day with the kids. I kept expecting him say something like, "Man, Finn was really having a meltdown for a while there. I was worried that I'd have to make a synthetic boob out of ballistics gel and baggies of formula to make him stop." Or, "Those damn kids trash the house so fast. I don't see how you keep anything clean at all. I felt like I was constantly cleaning up after a couple of circus monkeys." And then I could pour him a beer and we could sit together in mutual commiseration, a new sort of understanding between us.
It's been five days, and he hasn't cracked yet. I'm thinking I need to slip some sodium pentathol into his energy drink. Then we'll who's being honest. And who's being immature and unable to accept the fact that her husband can handle the kids for 26-and-a-half hours without her. Yeah.