I saw a little clip of the British comedian Michael McIntyre where he talks about leaving the house with kids Michael McIntyre. (Might be some swearing.) It was hilarious.
I was thinking about his comedic routine this past weekend while we were at our family reunion. The reunion was great. My brother and his wife and three of his kids were there. We had six of our kids and my parents were there as well. My sister-in-law found an amazing airbnb down near Tellico Plains in Tennessee. It was like having our own little patch of the Smokey Mountain Park to ourselves. There was a good stretch of river where the kids could tube and swim, trails to walk on, a pretty little meadow. It was great.
Our first morning there I said that I would like to go for a walk after breakfast and see all the trails and the river. Pretty soon almost every one had decided they wanted to go too. Great! We cleaned up from breakfast and then I told the kids to go get their shoes on. A couple kids walked past me still in their pajamas.
Hey! You need to get dressed first!
Kids go running off, all trying to get to the upstairs bathroom first to change, since we have one family per bedroom and very little privacy. There is a tussle upstairs, some loud thumps..someone yells.
TAKE TURNS IN THE BATHROOM!! I yell up the staircase, too lazy to actually run up the steps and see what exactly happened.
Meanwhile, my mom, who has no little children, sits in the living room.
Just let me know when you’re ready.
Some barefoot children run past me. SHOES!! You need your shoes!! The ten year old then launches into a complaint about how his water shoes are no good and he has no shoes to wear and of course it’s all my fault because I didn’t buy him the new pair of water shoes that he was wanting. (Because he had a perfectly good pair already.) I tell him to just wear the cheapy tennis shoes that he brought, it won’t matter if they get wet and they will definitely keep out rocks.
No way. Those are tennis shoes. You aren’t supposed to wear tennis shoes in the water.
I don’t care which shoes you wear, just PUT on shoes NOW, or you can just sit on the couch all day.
He goes to find his water shoes and then starts yelling because his older brother is apparently wearing HIS water shoes. Older brother protests. (Unfortunately, at the time of purchase, there was no variety available, I ended up getting the same shoe in two different sizes. Bad idea.) We finally make older brother take off the water shoes so we can verify the size of the shoe. Yes, these water shoes belong to the ten year old. Sorry older brother.
Older brother then collapses onto the couch in a full-on pout.
What’s wrong?? Go get your shoes on!!
I can’t find my shoes.
Have you looked in the car? In the living room? Outside? In the bedroom?
I haven’t looked in the bedroom.
THEN GO LOOK IN THE BEDROOM!!!
My mom sits peacefully, turns a page of her book as I stomp on by.
Then I notice the two year old. He is walking around in his diaper. Good grief. I run up the stairs into the bedroom, grab clothes, diapers, wipes, socks and shoes. (It’s summer, but this poor baby has fat feet that get blisters in every single shoe unless he is wearing socks.) I run downstairs, corner the baby, and start speed-dressing him. Children who are dressed and shoed are now running around outside. I jump up, stick my head out the door..
DON’T LEAVE UNTIL I COME OUT THERE!
AND WHILE YOUR’E AT IT, GO INSIDE AND USE THE BATHROOM AND GET A DRINK!
Children start pouring back into the house to fight for the bathroom.
Older brother is once again sitting on the couch, moping.
WHY DON”T YOU HAVE YOUR SHOES ON???????
My shoes are in the bedroom and the bedroom door is locked and I can’t get in.
What? I was just up there. That’s impossible. Go try the door again.
I stand at the bottom of the steps and watch while he runs up. I hear him struggling with the door. The door is not opening.
ANDY!!! It’s now time to bring in the reinforcements.
My husband comes, inspects the door. He needs a paper clip. We are in someone else’s house. It’s very unlikely there are any paper clips around. We search all the drawers. I find toothpicks. Will that work?
Finally, with a credit card and who knows what other magic, my husband unlocks the bedroom door. (I would very much like to know how it got locked in the first place.). Older brother retrieves his shoes. I announce loudly, to the house at large, that I am now leaving on a walk.
My mom has finished her book by now. She gets up and joins us. (I’d like to add that my brother and his wife are going through the same saga getting their kids out the door.)
We start walking down the path and I suddenly remember that little comedy clip I had seen about parents trying to leave the house. I start laughing. Parenthood definitely requires a sense of humour.