Did You Remember They Had A Dog?

List of things I did today out of love:

1. Wiped a four year old’s butt. (Then washed hands)

2. Touched turkey cold cuts with my bare hands and spread mayonnaise on bread. (Then washed hands)

2. Took a four year old, a nine year old, and a rambunctious King Charles Cavalier out for a walk to the candy store. (Then washed hands)

Seriously. The skin on my hands feels like dried corn husks.

The most uncomfortable thing about this whole ordeal (did I say ordeal? I meant “glorious opportunity to experience the joy of parenting”!) is not having all my stuff with me. Stuff like my rubber gloves. The ones I wear when I do the dishes. The ones that help my skin to retain its natural moisture while I scrub pots and pans.

Burdy didn’t get much work done today. He usually works from home, but now that our home is 20 miles north, in a house full of two kids and a dog (I can’t believe we forgot about the dog), he’s set up at the dining room table and the kids don’t quite get that he’s there to work. They’re used to roughhousing with Uncle Stan when he’s here. It’s hard for them to understand that when he’s obscured by that 27″ screen, and his brow is furrowed, it means he’s looking at the Matrix and coding. And it’s wholly unproductive to interrupt Uncle Stan when he’s looking at the Matrix and coding.

What’s blowing my mind tonight, at the end of Day Two, is how distinct the consequences are when the schedule is not strictly adhered to. Dinner is to be served at six sharp… or plaintive cries from the living room for grapes will ensue. Bathtime is at 7:15, or you run the risk of running into overtime and missing the bedtime deadline… which, in turn, will make for a cranky child in the morning. There really isn’t much else in my life that works like this. If I don’t finish work for a client, I come in at some other time to make it up. No big deal. If I don’t get all the laundry done on Sunday, it doesn’t matter. There are always more clothes to wear and I don’t mind wearing my dirty jeans for one more day. If we run out of frozen blueberries, well, then we’ll just eat frozen strawberries instead.

But holy shit. Try explaining to a four year old that you ran out of blueberries and it ain’t no thang… and you might as well say goodbye to the skin on your face, because his wrath will melt it clean off. (Note: we have not run out of blueberries.) Sticking to the schedule is turning out to be harder than I thought. And giving up my free time to be at the beck and call of two children is even harder than that.

I don’t have that kind of rigidity and responsibility built into my life right now, so this change feels particularly swift and severe. Sure, I have to show up to work when I say I’m going to show up (more or less) and I need to meet deadlines, but everything else is up to me. If I want to skip lunch, I can. If I want to go to the gym in the middle of the day, I can. If I want to not come home till nine pm, I can.

This whole parenting thing has definitely put a cramp in my hobo lifestyle.

The dog, thank goodness, doesn’t seem to care one way or the other about the schedule. He’s just rolling with the punches right now. He seems like the type who wouldn’t mind wearing his jeans for that fourth day in a row.