The Top 10 Events in the Parental Olympics: Part 3
4. The Car Seat Swap
You have three car seats, kids included, in a car. They need to be in a different car. One child is asleep and one is covered in chocolate. Also, it’s raining. This is a time event.
So, so many ways to fail at this, really. If you go over your time, you fail. If you forget in which order to arrange the seats in the station wagon’s second-row bench, you fail (hint: the wingback can’t go in the middle). If you try the high-risk, high-reward “move the seat with the kid in it” technique and drop the kid, you fail and you have to buy them candy. If you get chocolate on your clothes, you fail and will be embarrassed at lunch.
There’s no such thing as a “no-win event” in the Olympics, but this is pretty close.
3. The Red-Eye
It’s time for The Great Summer Vacation trip to the beach and in order to maximize your time in the sun, you decide to leave at the ungodly hour of 4AM. This is the Red-Eye. And, to make it a little more difficult, you can’t even load the luggage until that morning because reasons.
The better the planning, the more likely you are to remember that the terms “planning” and “4AM” have no business being in the same sentence. All you can do is pick a time to wake-up and hope it works. The first challenge is to have the alarm loud enough to make sure you wake up, but not so loud that it wakes up any of the children. Then it’s all silent showers, tip-toeing, whispered commands and questions (Do I need coffee? Only as much as I need oxygen). Loading the car with all those bags, portable cribs, pillows, blankets - and, what the heck? is that a wading pool? - is like the equivalent of assembling a puzzle, upside down, without the box for reference. Oh, and the pieces are from three different puzzles. Good luck.
Finally you ease the kids out of their beds and into their seats, have your spouse grab the all-important snack bag and hit the road. If at least two-out-of-three kids are asleep, your shirt is on right-side out, and it’s no later than 4:15, you’re a winner.
Until you’re two hours down the road and realize your spouse thought you said that YOU were grabbing the snack bag. People have had their medals stripped for lesser offenses.
All parents have topics that need discussion but are not suited for little ears. Of which future trips, *ahem* marital relations *ahem*, and post-kids-bedtime plans are certainly not the least. Hence, parents have invented “code-speaking”, that is, talking about verboten topics without actually using forbidden words or kid-triggers.
What makes this so difficult is the fact that your children conspire against you and sit-in on your sensitive conversations in shifts, forcing you to constantly adapt you code to suit the age of the child sitting in your lap/playing in the floor/wandering around with a pair of underwear on their head. So one minute you’re using euphemisms because that soar over your 3-tear old’s head, but the next you’re creating your own language because your 5-year old walked in and not only does she catch your euphemisms, but she can catch just enough context and spell just well enough to guess what you’re talking about in about 30-seconds.
And don’t get lazy when it’s just the 18-month old, either. He is very cagey and recognizes more words than he pretends to. The little devil….’s food cake.
1. Bedtime Negotiation
This is it, the granddaddy of them all: The Bedtime Negotiation. Old-school parents may scoff and brag about their bedtime-enforcing exploits but let’s be honest here: Before it shut-down Grantland was doing some pretty extensive reporting about the rampant PED-usage that plagued that generation of parent-athletes. This is a real challenge. Perhaps one might even call it, “The realest of struggles” (I wouldn’t, but someone might). It is amazing how much more aware of their body’s basic needs a child becomes once they are told bedtime has arrived. Suddenly they care about pottying and about nutrition and hydration.
The goal, of course, is to get the kid in bed, quiet, and, eventually, asleep. The Olympics have a strict “no doping” policy so the use of Benadryl, melatonin, and Motrin are all forbidden. As is warmed-milk. Not because it’s a drug, but because it’s gross. Parents are also not-allowed to make extravagant promises such as ponies, new toys, trips to Marmie’s house, or trading younger siblings for a puppy. It’s just parent versus child using available wit, will, stuffed animals, pillows, blankets, soft toys, not-so-soft toys, not-at-all-soft-toys, quiet toys, not-too-loud toys, all toys, kind entreaties, one-last-drink, one-last-song, one-last-book, dire warnings, more dire warnings, assurances that there are no monsters, that the monsters are nice, that the monsters work for daddy-and-so-help-me-if-you-don’t-be-quiet, stern voices, and threats against future screen-time.
Points are deducted for time used, for weight added to the crib via books, toys, etc, for severity of threats, harshness of voice, use of monsters as threats, near cursing, actual under-the-breath cursing, and double-teaming instead of tag-teaming.
And there you have it! What games should be added to future Olympiads? Which of these ought to be removed? What medal would you win?