Nov 11 2010

Why Househusbands Should Bum More Around The House

Being a househusband has its privileges.

Like being able to tease my kids … a lot!

Now, I realize that teasing your own children is something that all regular, idiot dads do. It’s built into our Dad DNA. We can’t help it. We are compelled to do things that make our kids roll their eyes around in their sockets, make pouting faces, and go “Daa-aad!”

What makes being a househusband and a stay-at-home dad so special for me, however, is that since I am the one who is responsible for getting the kids up and ready for school in the mornings, I get to tease them when they’re most sleepy, vulnerable and prone to irritation. And I get to do it everyday.

Take this morning, for instance.

Corporate Babe was in the shower, getting ready for work. What perfect timing. Knowing she couldn’t hear a thing with all that water splashing down, I crawled out of bed and headed straight for Filosofo’s room.

I entered quietly and looked down at my soporific 11-year old son. The sun was shining brightly through the window, streaming a beam of intense light and heat directly onto his face, yet this did not bother him a bit.

“Come on Fi … time to wake up,” I said gently.

Nothing happened.

“Come on, it’s time to get up,” I spoke a little bit louder. “We’re going to be late for school.”

Filosofo lay there still. Immovable. Unstirring. Sun shining right into his face. How do they do this?

“Oh well … I tried!” I said. I then bent down closer to his ear and burst into song using a special loud, obnoxious and strangulated voice I reserve for moments such as these.

OH BABY, I’M SLEEPING LIKE A LOG,
WHO CARES IF IT’S A SCHOOL DAY MAMA,
DUDE I’M JUST GONNA KEEP ON SLEEPING, RIGHT ON YEAH,
WITH THE SUN SHI-I-I-NING BRIGHTLY ON MY FA-ACE, OH LORD YEAH!

THE SUN SHINING BRI-I-I-I-IGHTLY ON MY FA-ACE …

“Sto-o-op!!” He groans. Groggily annoyed, he turns away from my singing and buries his head under the pillow.

OH BABY, I’M JUST GONNA KEEP SLEEPING LIKE A LOG … YEAH,
COZ NOW MY HEAD IS BURIED IN THE PILLOW AND I’M ALL NICE AND COZY IN THE DARK … OH YEAH,
BUT I REALLY NEED TO PEE, SWEET MAMA … OH HOW I NEED TO PEE,
YEAH I’M BUSTING TO PEE AND I CAN’T HOLD IT IN ANY LONGER … NO SWEET LORD … I GOTTA PEE SO BAD, SO BAD I TELL YA,
PISH, PISH, PISH, OH HOW I WISH I COULD KEEP ON SLEEPING BUT IF I DON’T GET UP RIGHT NOW I’M GONNA WET MY BED … COZ I’M A BUSTIN’ AND I REALLY NEED TO PEE
OH BOY I REALLY NEED TO PEE SO BADLY, PISH, PISH PISH, WHY AM I DREAMING OF WATERFALLS, AND RIVERS, AND OCEAN WAVES, AND GARDEN STATUES PEEING IN FOUNTAINS, AND WHY AM I TURNING ON ALL THE TAPS IN THE HOUSE, AND LOTS OF WATER IS POURING DOWN FROM THE FRONT OF MY PEE-JAMA PANTS, YEAH BABY …

“Oh Daa-aad! You’re so annoying!” Filosofo grunts, finally getting out of bed and heading straight for the toilet to empty his bursting bladder.

One down, two more victims to go.

Corporate Babe is now out of the shower. She didn’t hear me taunting my eldest son, so I switch to a sweet hymn as I walk past her down the corridor towards the room where the two youngest boys are still sleeping, but not for long … he, he!

Oh Boys, How I Adore Thee,
Oh Boys, How I Adore Thee,
You Are The Sweetest Kids Of All,
And We Love Thee

A few minutes later, the kids are all sitting around the kitchen table staring down blankly and silently into their cereal bowls, while Corporate Babe and I are singing and praising their virtues.

I am making their school lunch. Corporate Babe is in the next room ironing her clothes.

“Aren’t these the most wonderful kids ever?” I shout out, loud and proud. Corporate Babe agrees.

“Can I make you a cheese and mouse whiskers sandwich?” I ask Exacto. I know he doesn’t like cheese in his sandwiches.

“Daa-aad!”

Bingo. We’re on for round 2.

“Oh Babe … how can we keep them sweet and wonderful for ever?” I ask my wife when she walks past me buttoning up her shirt. She head over to the kitchen table and gives all the boys morning hugs and kisses.

“They will always be sweet and wonderful” she replies. Destructo snuggles into his Mom, hoping to steal a few more seconds of sleep.

“Just like me, huh?” I ask her. She rolls her eyes and says nothing.

“Oh well … I guess that’s what happens when kids grow up!” I say.

“How about a cheese and butterfly wings sandwich?” I ask Exacto, who is staring blankly at the back of the Coco Pops cereal box.

Exacto snaps momentarily out of whatever daydream he’s been having and completely ignores my menu suggestion.

“What happens when kids grow up?” He asks.

I didn’t say that’s what happens when kids grow up. I said that’s what happens when kids throw up!”

“Daa-aad … you did not say that!” Destructo protests, pulling his head away from his mother’s bosom.

Three out of Three. Gotch’em!

“Say what?” Corporate Babe chimes in.

“I said … that’s what happens when kids blow up!”

“Daa-aad!”

Ha! Now they’re all enrolled in my little taunting game. It’s still early morning and I have barely gotten started.

Corporate Babe leaves the room with her laptop under one arm, and the rest of her clothes draped over the other arm. I watch her bum disappear through the door.

Time to switch tactics and take it up another notch. I start singing softly …

Little scurrying ant,
Carrying that big crumb,
Little scurrying ant,
Don’t fall on your big … la la la!

“Daa-aad!” Destructo blurts out. “You are not allowed to swear!”
“I didn’t swear.”
“You did! You were going to say BUM!”
“I never said BUM! I don’t say the word BUM! I never, ever use words like BUM! Ever!!”
“Daa-aad .. you just said it!”
“No I didn’t say BUM. You said BUM. I don’t say BUM. I don’t even know the word BUM.”
“Daa-aad!”
“What? I … Don’t … Say … The … Word … BUM! It’s rude to say BUM! Now finish eating your Coco Pops! BUM.”
“Daa-aad! You just said it again!”
“What … what did I say?”
“You said BUM.”
“Hey!” I say reproachfully. “Please don’t use the word BUM in this house again! It’s rude to say words like BUM and you shouldn’t say BUM in front of your older brothers. Don’t say BUM in front of them, don’t say BUM in front of MUM, and never say BUM in front of me, because I never, ever say BUM. BUM BUM BUM It’s DUM DUM DUM. Now hurry up and eat your Coco BUMs – I mean Coco Pops, or we’ll be late for BUM … I mean school!”
“Daa-aad!” He is laughing so hard, it’s hard to keep a straight face.

Little scurrying ant,
Carrying that big crumb,
Little scurrying ant,
Don’t fall on your big … la la la!

“Daa-aad!”

And so it goes all the way from the kitchen to the car.

Now we’re in the car, driving to school. Filosofo and Exacto are absorbed reading a book. Destructo is playing with one of his stuffed toys. Probably “Little Lion”, or “Peed On Pork Chop Piggy”.

This is my last chance to squeeze a little more “irk juice” out of the kids. I reach into my pocket and pull out a single little LEGO brick I picked up off the floor as I was walking down the stairs and heading for the car on our way out. Without taking my eyes off the road, I stretch my arm behind me towards the backseat where my youngest son is sitting and humming, and proffer the little plastic brick.

“Hey … you want to play with some LEGO?”

“Daa-aad! That’s just one piece of LEGO. You can’t do anything with it!”

“Of course you can! You can build lots and lots of amazing things with just one single LEGO brick. Spaceships, castles with drawbridges and crocodile infested moats, Quantum Drive Transmogrificators …”

“Daa-aad! You can’t do any of those things!”

“Now boys … have I ever told you about how when I was a kid, we were so poor, that all I ever had to play with was just two little small potatoes? I would spend hours and hours playing with those two little small potatoes, making all kinds of the most amazing and incredible things you can’t even imagine. And that was just two little potatoes.  Now … If only I had had a single little LEGO brick like this one to combine with the potatoes …”

“DAA-AAD! S-T-O-O-O-OP!!”

A long time ago, one of the mothers at my kids’ school suggested we carpool and take turns driving our children. Less than two weeks later, all three of my kids complained about the arrangement. They said they really missed not having me drive them to school in the mornings, even if my jokes were really bad and I was so annoying. I was deeply touched.

Being a househusband does have its privileges.

The Lazy Househusband

2 responses so far

Nov 04 2010

The Homeless Househusband Of Cherry Tree Lane

Published by under Househusband

Can a man without a home to care for still be called a househusband?

Not that I have invested a great deal of time or effort caring for the home we presently live in – I haven’t, as I have spent most of my time at home working more than managing it – but the owner of the house we’ve been renting for the past 4 years now wants it back and we’ve got to be out of here before the month’s end.

After spending the past month searching frantically for a new home to move into with no success thus far, the only positive thing I can say about house hunting is that it gives you an opportunity to have some quality family time on the weekends – even if much of it is spent driving in circles around suburbia with the kids in the back annoying each other, and arguing with my wife because she simply refuses to use a simple street directory when directing me to the next home inspection on our list, preferring instead to navigate using her Blackberry GPS phone satellite-based map app that takes so long to download, that by the time she tells me to take the next turn left, I’ve already missed it by 200 meters.

The pressure to find a new home, get a new lease agreement approved and signed, organize the move, pack up all of our stuff and be out of our current address with our rental bond hopefully intact in less than 4 weeks time is growing day by day.

But you wouldn’t know this by looking at us.

We’re as cool as cucumbers.

And the secret reason why, is that I’ve chosen to deal with this situation in the same way as I’ve handled every other major upheaval in our lives since Corporate Babe and I got married over 17 years ago.

I just have to get out of my own way, have faith in the Universe, and trust my wife.

This is the only method I’ve discovered that is guaranteed to work for someone like me.

When Corporate Babe is on the job, going out house hunting on the weekends is a magical road trip for the whole family.

Take us on outings, give us treats
Sing songs, bring sweets …

Armed with her list and phone-based GPS, Corporate Babe, the kids and I head off to inspect homes in sunny, sparkly, faraway places that offer unlimited potential for us to explore new lifestyle options (like sharing a house with owners who can’t afford to pay their mortgage), and we’re all singing Mary Poppins songs and making silly faces at each other as we’re driving along, pointing at rainbows and smiling and waving at people who smile and wave right back at us.

Precision and order
He wants nothing less …

The moment I try to assume control of the situation, however, everything stops being fun. No more smiles and sparkles and rainbows. No more happy show tunes from my merry singalong quartet. My attempt to inject a dose of “reality” into our Disney lives has come off badly for me … again.

Oh, it’s a jolly holiday
With you, Bert

Whilst I remain the sovereign, all we see when we look out the car window is drab, suburban sameness and unsmiling, unfriendly people looking menacingly back at us, like we’re not welcome to rent a home in their neighborhood.

Chim chiminey chim chiminey chim chim cheroo
When I lead the way, our househunting expedition goes from “whoopee” to “wee-poo” …

I don’t “lead” the way, I just “get” in the way.

To everyone else in the car, I probably look like I’m just panicking for no good reason. So what if we haven’t found a new home to move into yet and we’re getting kicked out of the one we’re living in less than four weeks from now?

“Just relax, Dad!” I can hear them all thinking. “You were only s’posed to take a spoonful a sugar, Dad, not guzzle the whole jar down!”

Chim chiminey chim chiminey chim chim cheroo
I does not likes all these things what I do …

Has not the universe always delivered everything we need, every day, on time, and in a perfect way?

Then why should it not deliver to us now, a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom home, with a double lock up garage, ample storage space, good internet coverage, room in the yard for a 14 foot trampoline (swimming pool optional), a kitchen with a dishwasher, a couple of additional living areas – hopefully one of these being a study/office space with a window looking out on something pleasant, 20-25 minutes maximum driving distance from the kids school and Corporate Babe’s work … and all within our specified budget?

I just need to get out of my own way, let the Universe do its thing, have more faith and trust my wife.

Now, my wife, she’s practically perfect in every way …

The week after our real estate agent mailed us our eviction notice, Corporate Babe announced she was going to hold a weekend long garage sale.

I freaked. I tried reminding her that, with so little time to find a new home, this was a major detour from everything that had to be prioritized and done so we could oblige the real estate’s wishes, and that sitting around for a whole weekend waiting for people to come and buy our junk was an absolute waste of precious time, but it just seemed to come off as shouting.

Corporate Babe remained unmoved and just sat there twirling an umbrella. I couldn’t even turn to Filosofo, my oldest son for support, as he was already fully enrolled in the project and was busy sketching out “Moving Sale” posters to nail on all the telephone poles around Cherry Tree Lane.

This was unbelievable. We were not strolling through a cartoon sequence of animated brooks and meadows and cute furry forest creatures. We were standing ankle deep in a room littered with toys, stuffed animals and childhood debris.

So, I told my family I was not going to get involved in or be any part of the garage sale.

“Fine” said my wife. She stopped twirling the broken child umbrella she had picked up, threw it into a corner of the room and started sorting through individual Lego pieces, looking for stuff to sell in her upcoming garage sale.

“Fine” I said back, and marched upstairs wishing I could just float out the window and away from this mess. We had less than six weeks to move house and my wife was engaged in something akin to sorting through shells in a beach, looking for pretty ones to either keep or toss back into the ocean.

Needless to say, they had a terrific garage sale and made a lot of money. This happened despite the fact that Corporate Babe didn’t get around to putting up signs until two days before the garage sale and then immediately afterwards, a storm hit our area and the wind and rain blew most of the signs away. Yet, people somehow managed to find the garage sale throughout the weekend and flocked to it in droves waving cash in their fists.

As Corporate Babe and Filosofo counted the money afterwards and gloated at their success, I admit I felt a tinge of guilt, shame and remorse. I felt guilty for not having participated in the event, was ashamed for having had such little faith in what my family can accomplish under chaotic circumstances, and was remorseful that I didn’t put out my collection of Black Sabbath records for sale with all the other junk that got sold.

Right now, as I write this, I have been given yet another opportunity to learn not only how to get out of my own way and have faith that the universe will always deliver exactly what is needed, but also to trust my wife more in her way of going about things.

Exacto, our middle child, has gone away for three days on a school trip, and Corporate Babe has decided to accompany his class. So, yesterday morning, my wife and eight year old son took off with a tent and a guitar in the back of her car.

They’re on a magical road trip once again to faraway, sparkly places, singing Mary Poppins songs together and making silly faces at each other as they’re driving along, pointing at rainbows and smiling and waving at people who smile and wave right back at them.

And I’m sitting at home trying not to panic … trying not to keep staring at the red mark on the kitchen wall calendar that circles an ominous date that is going to arrive a little over three weeks from today.

I just have to remember that things always work out. The Universe always has and always will deliver to us everything we need, every day, on time, and in a perfect way.

All I have to do is get out of my own way, have faith, trust my wife and let it all happen.

Chim chiminey chim chiminey chim chim cheroo
She does what she likes and I likes what she do …

The Lazy Househusband

2 responses so far