Every few weeks, my wonderful husband agrees to take charge and play Mr. Mom so that I can enjoy a night out with friends. A real, grown-up night out where conversations last more than 4.3 seconds and nobody lays on the floor to lick their shoes and the meal does not have to be consumed fast enough to qualify you for the national speed eaters finals.
A night like this is kind of rare and really, really precious during our current life stage. At home, our nights together usually go something like this:
The following is a description of events as relayed to me by both my husband and daughters. Names and places have not been changed.
My hubby offered to take the girls to see Cars 2, something they’ve been begging to do for weeks now that the film has been out. I frankly didn’t care what they did while I was out as long as it didn’t involve illegal activity, sharp objects, or anything that might leave lasting emotional scars.
They drove to the movie theater. This was one happy little crew listening to the soundtrack from the original Cars movie as they bee bopped down the road. He really is a good daddy.
Here’s where I have a little problem. My girls know not to even ask me for popcorn, coke, or other outrageously overpriced snacks while at the movie theater. I make sure we all have eaten before we leave and have been known to accidentally leave a bag of m&m’s in my bag that we might as well eat while we’re just sitting in there. Now if we’re at the dollar theater, the rules change a little bit since it costs us just $3 total to get in, but when we’re paying nearly $30 just to see the movie, we can live without snacks for an hour and a half.
In swoops Mr. Fun, who is easily conquered by the girls’ pretty amazing big brown doe-like eyes and ringlets.
They settle into their seats a few minutes later loaded down by popcorn and 32 oz. Cokes.
Now remember that the baby of the family has a bladder the size of a juice box. That is not very compatible with a full length movie, so inevitably the moment arrives.
“Daddy, I have to go pee pee RIGHT NOW!” You do not wait to be informed twice when you’re dealing with a 3-year-old in a public place. My husband updates the older two on where he’s going and says they’ll be right back and not to move, stands up with Leighanne (and brushes off ¾ of the popcorn she spilled on his lap), and they make their way out of the dark theater.
There are a few things that are so rare in the universe that few have ever witnessed them. I’ll name just a couple:
*hitting all the green street lights just right when you’re running late and making it on time to your destination
*all the children behaving quietly and properly and nicely in the chick-fil-a playground even while unsupervised by their parents
*meeting a mother who not only allows, but encourages her children to experiment with fingernail polish
And the rarest thing of all in the known universe:
A public men’s restroom with a line coming out the door.
And yet, this is exactly the scene upon which my sweet husband and a rather uncomfortable child arrived. It was incredible. It was like a scene out of Mystery Science 3,000 where the little aliens watching the film commentate and make hilarious comments about ridiculous situations. Men and boys as far as the eye could see.
Obviously this was not going to work. My husband glanced around nervously, eyes darting back and forth as he faced his possible options. He could wait in the line (which would be disastrous, not to mention the fact that the 2 little girls waiting in the theater would come out screaming that they were abandoned children if he did not return in five minutes or less). He could take her outside to a private area. No good. He’d look like a predator.
And finally, he came to grasp the only viable solution…the three-year-old would have to be sent into the ladies’ room ALONE. Unattended. Completely on her own and faced with decision making that could prove quite difficult.
And so, that’s exactly what happened. He sent little Leighanne into the restroom with strict instructions to do what she needed to do, wash her hands, and come back out where he would be waiting by the door. Feeling quite grown up and liberated, she flashed him a huge (somewhat unsettling) grin, giggled, and ran in the restroom like it was a candy store instead of a bathroom.
And then came the waiting.
And more waiting.
And still more waiting.
Women were going in and coming back out at regular intervals, yet no three-year-olds appeared. He began to worry. What on earth might she be doing in there? He imagined her getting thirsty from all the popcorn and sticking her head under the sink for a quick drink of refreshing water. And that was the PREFERABLE of the other options he could contemplate her doing. He hoped she was not experimenting with just how much toilet paper could fit at once in the bowl. He waited to hear little cries of surprise as women suddenly noticed a pair of little eyes watching them from under the stall door.
And just when he was about to stop someone before they went in and ask them to check on his little girl, out she came. She looked blissful. Confident. Proud of her achievement. And she even had hands that smelled faintly of soap.
Making their way back to the theater, they found their seats back with the big sisters (who had not even noticed they were gone). Little Bit climbed back into her daddy’s lap and after about 15 minutes, promptly fell asleep.
My husband is a real sucker for snuggle time with his girls. He enjoyed the feel of her little head leaning against his chest and the way she had reached for his hand before she drifted off. They sat there, father and daughter, in a moment he would not soon forget. He wished he could slow down time and savor this a little longer.
He very quickly changed his mind when he suddenly felt a warm sensation across his lap.
This takes us back to my “no snacks” policy and explains my other reason for not allowing them. You give a kid a 32 oz. Coke and they’re going to drink themselves into oblivion, which is exactly what she had done.
The movie ended quite a while later (to him, anyway) and the big sisters got up and began heading out. When they looked back, however, they spotted Dad, sitting there with their sleeping sister, with no intention of getting up. Once he explained the situation, they found it so totally hilarious that they started cackling loudly at his misfortune (they ARE their mother’s daughters, after all). The little crew waited til all the other patrons had left the theater before making a hasty exit.
I found laundry waiting for me at home later that night.
Mr. Mom is pretty awesome…but I’d be willing to bet everyone will either be wearing diapers next time, or they will be fasting during the movie.