November 29, 2010

I Used The Television As a Babysitter

And now Uber-dad, the one and only Jack B. confesses that today he used the television as a babysitter. Ok, it wasn't just the television it included the Wii, an iPod Touch and time on a spare computer playing Webkinz.

Today was the kind of Monday that makes you tremble in fear, anger and frustration. It was the sort of day where you knew well in advance that life was about to sucker punch you in ways that you couldn't begin to imagine. And what really added insult to injury was the anticipation that came as part of the package.

Being a man who loves imagery I saw myself as a sailor on a trip around the world and not an inexperienced one either. No, I am an old salt who has fought off pirates and sailed through the craziest storms that the seven seas can throw at a man. I have taken on rogue waves and overcome the sweet song of the sirens. I fear no creature, no shark, whale or sea monster.

The kraken could rise out of the sea accompanied by Poseidon and I would laugh. Yes, I'd toss my head back and let out gales of laughter. No sea king or overgrown squid is going to take me down.

But as they say pride goeth before a fall and I saw this one coming. Saw it coming, planned for it and barely managed to come out alive. Perhaps that is a victory in itself.

You see I had a number of projects dumped in my lap with over lapping deadlines. They were a combination of simple and complex but nothing I hadn't encountered before. And until last night I was confident that there wasn't anything that would prevent me from hitting the mark. I had taken time to strategize and prepared a clever plan of attack.

What I didn't account for was a four tall whirling dervish. What I didn't account for was that this dark haired beauty I call my daughter was going to decide to develop a case of pink eye. It came upon her like a sudden storm yesterday evening and it soon became clear that there was no way she was going to school. And so she stayed home from school.

Stayed home from school with eyes that bothered her just slightly and more energy than 42 nuclear power plants. We sat down and talked about what the ground rules would be for the day. I told her that dad had to work and that it was important that she give me some quiet time. Promised that I would find some time to spend with her too, but that in order to do that I would need some space.

So I hooked her up on the computer and let her play with her Webkinz. She did that for a while and then told me that she didn't have breakfast. Super dad offered to make her scrambled eggs but she said no and asked for cereal. Bam, got it together and she decided that she didn't like it.  Told me that I didn't cut up her fruit properly and that I should have mommy teach me etc.

But we got through that and I hit the computer. A short time later when I was midway through a conference call I heard shrieking and barely hit mute before the stampede hit. The puppy had one of her dolls and was running full speed towards me followed by a very angry girl who wanted me to help get her doll.

Let me tell you, if you have never tried to negotiate terms under these circumstances than you haven't lived.

Time passed, the call ended and I jumped on top of writing assignments- got midway through them and was told that it was time to make dad beautiful. I must have made a face because she glared at me, put a hand on her hip and told me that a promise is a promise.

I am not a pushover. I am not the father that lets his children speak to him in a tone that is less than respectful, but I am not stupid either. I had promised to spend some time with her and knew that if I didn't I was going to be hammered for it.

So I convinced her to read some books to me instead and agreed that there would be a different time to make dad beautiful. It was a lot of fun and I was glad to take the time to be with her. Gradually I started feeling pressure again and resumed working.

I told her that today was her lucky day and that she would be allowed to watch more television than normal. We set up James and the Giant Peach. She loved the book so I figured that the movie would be good, thank you Netflix. What I didn't know was that she would turn that off and flip around the channels. Just my luck, she chanced upon some soap opera.

And because I am lucky she wants to know why people close their eyes when they kiss and a host of other questions.

Got about an hour left alone with her. One more hour to try and keep her busy. Right now she is playing with her dolls. I have to give her credit for her ability to entertain herself because she is good at it. But damn if I am not tired and thankful for my basketball game tonight.

It has been great to have her here with me, really I have for the most part enjoyed it. But I would be lying if I didn't say that I am ready for some quiet time...alone...by myself. Whew.

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