To my friends without kids – why I’m always late

August 25, 2006 by
Filed under: Uncategorized 

I’ve been meaning to write this for a while:

I hear that tone in your voice. See the look in your eye and a certain set of your shoulders. You’re annoyed.

I’m late again.

Well. Let me tell you why I’m late. Again:

I have a child. Not just a child. A toddler. And here’s how a trip out the door goes:

  1. I have to convince her that we need to go. This might involve a chase scene reminiscent of “The French Connection.” But I’m no Gene Hackman in his prime. I get winded and have to sit down.
  2. Finally get her convinced that we need to go. Now to get her dressed. You see, after I got her out of the dirty diaper and into clean training pants (yay, she’s working on using the potty!) she wanted to keep wearing her pajamas. Now that she’s ready to wear street clothes, she’s taken exception to the orange and green outfit. She wants the outfit with the cool kitty cat. Turns out that’s dirty. After 10 minutes of trying to explain cool kitty cat is dirty and in the laundry, we reach a compromise – flamingo shirt with pink shorts. Check with her to see if she needs to go potty. It’s more important to put the cow and horse in the castle. Obviously, going to potty is not a priority right now. Tear her away from the toys long enough to get her dressed. Shoes. I need shoes. I go get shoes.
  3. I return to the living room to find her stripping out of her shorts and training pants. They are, of course, wet. As is the carpet. Turns out she DID have to go potty. She wants to sit on the potty. So I let her sit on the potty. She decides she needs to go play with the quail and vulture in the zoo. Quail, she informs me, needs a bath. My pleading and begging, by the way, are useless, serving only to spark a near meltdown. Five minutes later, quail is clean, and she’s back on the potty.
  4. No, no she’s not. She’s at her bookshelf, looking for the potty book. Ah! Potty book found. Back on the potty. I got to check the bag to make sure I have everything; a couple of toys, a book, drink, snacks, wipes, spare change of clothes, another change of clothes, a spare pair of training pants. Crap! Almost forgot a spare diaper! I go into the bathroom to get a spare diaper – just as she comes running out with a wipe covered in her own feces.
  5. “Daddy, I cleaning up poop on the floor!” I grab her clean hand, gently turn her back towards the bathroom, and see, arrayed in a nice exclamatory pile, her poop. In an effort to be helpful, she’s tried to put it into the big potty. She missed. In an effort to be helpful, she’s started cleaning up the poop with a baby wipe. Luckily, I removed the rug yesterday, since she spilled peepee on it.
  6. I get her to release the fecal covered wipe into the diaper champ, get her started on washing her hands, and run to the kitchen to get paper towels and sanitary wipes. Run back to the bathroom. Where she’s decided to use the little medicine cup thingee to splash water all over the vanity. I wash my hands, dry her off, dry off the vanity, turn off the water, and send her into the living room to play.
  7. While she watches and suggests that she, too, would like to help get the poop into the potty, and asserts that she got poop on the carpet, and that daddy is cleaning up the poop, I do, in fact, clean up the poop. This, by the way, was a fruit poop, not a cheese poop. If you have kids, you’ll understand. Mess cleaned up, I wash my hands. She runs to the kitchen. “I want candy! I want candy!”
  8. Some how, by some miracle, before she gets candy, I get her into an outfit that is A) Clean and 2) Acceptable. Parrot shirt is good. Another set of pink shorts is good. I go to get shoes and socks, and step right into the patch of wet carpet. She still wants candy. I tried to dissuade her with promises of ice cream after lunch. To a toddler, there is no such thing as delayed gratification; gratification delayed is gratification denied…forever. I go to get the steam vac, near the kitchen. While there, I get her a piece of candy. Peanut M&M. She’s happy. I’m happy. The whole world is happy. But there’s still urine on the carpet. Steam vac into the living room. Five minutes later, I have, supposedly, removed most of the urine from the carpet. I take the steam vac back, and return to the living room. What was I doing?
  9. Oh, right! Shoes! I go back to get the shoes and socks. I return to…
  10. The living room, where she’s decided that swallowing the Peanut M&M just isn’t as much fun as letting it leak down her chin and parrot shirt. I peel off the shirt (white, of course, and fairly new, gift from a relative), and rush it to the bathroom to rinse and do stain triage. Rinse, squirt, rub, soak, I turn around, she’s got cholcolate and peanut running down her chin. Poised on her chin, the drop heaves itself into the empty air, and falls, silently, to the carpet. Great.
  11. I grab the wash rag, wet it, wipe her face. Dab up as much as I can of the spittle infused chocolate on the carpet. Look up, see what I missed, and clean her face a bit more. Good… At this point, I’m only 15 minutes late.

    The washcloth, is, of course, white. Rinse, squirt, rub, soak.
  12. Find another outfit. At this point, she’s not picky. Though she wants to wear sandals, not shoes. I grab a pair of sandals that match. She doesn’t want to wear those sandals, and insists on choosing her own sandals. They don’t match. I don’t care.
  13. I put on my own shoes. That way, I won’t know if I step on any more wet patches. They can wait until the next time I steam clean the carpet.
  14. I realize I do have her dressed, relatively clean, in some kind of foot wear, but that I have not combed her hair. I do so. Except she doesn’t like getting her hair sprayed. Usually, it’s not an issue. Today, it is. Five minutes later, I’ve got her calmed down, and I begin combing her hair.
  15. I got her headed towards the car, and I pick up a bear for her to play with in the car. Get her strapped in, and realize I forgot a snack and drink. Well, she reminds me. She wants goldfish. I run back in, and get the animal crackers I forgot to put in the bag. I give her animal crackers. She doesn’t want those. I run back into the house…and can’t find the open bag of goldfish. Into the pantry – open a new bag of gold fish – look for a container – screw it. I’ll bring the whole bag. I grab the water I forgot, and run back out to the car. I start the car, realize I don’t have my phone, and run back into the house. I get back to the car, and she informs me she wants her milk. “Water?” I offer, hopefully. And in vain. I run back in to get the milk. I come back to her screaming that she needs her three bears. Crap. The bears became a set while on vacation. I run back to her room to find the other two bears. Which I do find, in fairly short order. Just before stepping out the door, I remember to grab my wallet.
  16. Back in the car, we’re good to go – except I left the bag on top of the car when I was getting her in. Out to get the bag, back in, back out, close garage door, and we’re off.

    Yeah, sure, we’re 45 minutes late but we’re on our way. We’ll be there. I’d call, but turns out I forgot my phone.

    You better be there too. I need this lunch, I need some sanity. What I don’t need is that tone in your voice. That look in your eye. That certain set of your shoulders. Sure you’re annoyed. I’m suffering from PTSD – Parent of Toddler Stress Syndrome. Get over yourself.

First, practically everything in this list has happened. Just…not all at once. Although several of these things have happened just in the last couple of days.


No Comments on To my friends without kids – why I’m always late

  1. Todd on Fri, 25th Aug 2006 4:40 pm
  2. Great. I have much to look forward to. 🙂

    […] Mr. Daddyfu has an amusing post on his blog about being late. […]

  3. Mike Aaron on Sat, 26th Aug 2006 12:14 pm
  4. If it makes any difference, knowing you have Emma, I render no judgement on tardiness. But maybe that’s my Mexican-American background. A meeting time is a target, not a limit. With very few exceptions, being late doesn’t bother me. Are you really reading this crap, or do you just solicit comments to give us something to do so we might not notice that you’re running late?

  5. Vicki on Fri, 15th Sep 2006 12:25 am
  6. This is hilarious. I can so relate. I have only one child, almost 5. This is such a typical day, but it’s getting easier.

  7. Barrie on Thu, 15th Feb 2007 11:51 am
  8. I can so totally relate to this. To get the two and a half year old to pre-school in the mornings requires a thirty minute marathon be run. I have often blessed the mornings when she is still asleep while I change and diaper her, requiring me to only deal with a fifteen minute grumping as I hustle her into the car. And this is somewhere she really wants to go! To get her to go somewhere she does not want to go…like the doctor…oy. Those are the times that try my soul and my patience.

    Oh, and just try to pry a toddler away from a favorite TV show for any reason. I have nightmares about the house being on fire and trying to drag her screaming from “Dragon Tales”. I have to time my exits from the house to coincide with the end of the show so there is less fussing. Not only am I a slave to PBS’ programming schedule, but I find myself humming the theme music as I drive.

    Then there are the stuffed animals. I am more diligent about not losing them then I am about my purse, my keys or my phone. I have a paraniod twitch start up everytime we take them somewhere and I imagine the horrible sobbing that would ensue if we forgot them somewhere.

    And then there is the Juice Cup of Dooooooooooom. Oh the variations in cups that we have gone through, trying to find one that didn’t spill, was easy for to drink through and was also acceptable to the amorphously shifting tastes of a two year old.. The Dora sippy cup that we have now is battered and scratched, yet she will not accept any substitutions. Until I can find one that is identical, we are stuck with it.

    Oh, yes, and my childless girlfriends cannot fathom why I can’t just leave the child with her father for a weekend and go to the spa with them. Is there a big stick that I can beat them with? Hmm…maybe I’ll just wait until they have children and snicker a lot.

    […] Got a great comment to my post on why I’m always late. […]

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