3 kids on the phone

Photo by Paul Alexander

Today was day 3 of being a family-less dad and husband. A reality greatly magnified when I work from home as I did today. While in some ways it is a relief to have a quiet house and not worry about the din of  kids hallway squabbles bleeding into my mid-day conference calls, it doesn’t feel quite right. The cat has suddenly adopted me as his constant companion. He follows me from room to room and has insisted upon sleeping most of the day in the middle of my desk, wedged in-between the back of my laptop screen, the phone, cable modem and router. Despite the fact that he’s lying on top of cords and getting an earful of music from the speakers that are 2 inches away, he seems very content. In fact, I’ve tried to move him several times but he simply glares at me and jumps right back. I think he senses that something’s amiss as well.

 oscar2Second, I can’t seem to go to bed. Which is not good, because I am definitely one who needs his sleep. Granted, with an empty house, my grumpiness is not quite as evident as usual, but some of that still comes through over the phone. So it really doesn’t make any sense and there is no good excuse for it. At least if I’m getting up to deal with one of the boys with a bad dream or giving the baby his pacifier back at 4am it is for a good cause. Tonight, I nearly forgot to eat dinner. That can’t be good.

I should point out that my family is only away temporarily, visiting my wife’s parents. It is strange hearing about the exploits of your children from afar while homebound. Usually I’m the one on the road and life carries on at home without me. Instead, I hear about how my son jumped off his first diving board and their Pop Pop took them fishing. Fishing with young boys is one of those experiences that can either warm your heart or make you want to throw them in the water after the bobber. Seems to have gone well but I’m largely glad to have let someone else lead that expedition. Each caught three “very big” fish, and it was easy.

They also apparently did a science experiment together if I am to believe my four year old as he described to me in painfully deliberate detail on the phone. I’m not sure if it is any different with little girls, but there is something strange about speaking to little boys this age on the phone, even if you’re their parent. I think it must be their attention span that gets lost because they have nothing to look at while they’re talking, but it’s rough. “Did you have fun today?” “Yes.” “Are you being a good boy?” “Yes.” Now I realize that I could ask the questions in a more leading way but that can lead down painful paths as well (see science experiment description above). Perhaps when video phones become the standard things will improve. There still may be hope for the baby!

Happily, I’ll see them all soon and things will be somewhat back to normal. If I can keep the cat from pushing buttons on my phone until then we’ll be in good shape. Now I really do have to get to bed.

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