Saturday, August 16, 2008

Romance v. Parenthood

It had been a tough week on more than one account. The Fries all have the sniffles, so they've been extra crabby, and Medium Fry (whose nose was running the worst) screamed and cried every time I wiped her nose. Adding to all that is that Large Fry is about on the cusp of no longer needing naps, or at least as long a nap as the twin Fries need, so naptime has been a battleground.

I was frazzled by the time Hubby got home last night, and supremely glad he'd canceled the overnight camp-out with our older kids (the youth group). Hubby sent me upstairs while he finished supervising dinner, and started dinner for us.

I took my laptop and my notes for work and retreated to the bedroom. I watched non-child-friendly TV for the next hour, when I came down the hall to help with bedtime. We moved Large Fry's bed permanently into the office, so that she wouldn't wake her sisters while she refused to fall asleep.

I was getting ready to read the requested bedtime story when Hubby asked if I could finish up by myself; he needed to check on dinner. I read the story, tucked them all in (much to Medium Fry's vocal dismay), grabbed my laptop, and headed down to the kitchen.

...And found the table set in the kitchen with nice goblets filled with sparkling punch, cloth napkins in napkin rings, dinner ready to go, and Hubby looking sheepish that he wasn't finished when I came into the room.

"Who's screaming?" he asked.

"Yours," I told him. Medium Fry is his buddy, and she's very much her uncle's girl.

"Then I'm not going to turn on the monitor."

I didn't blame him. Medium Fry has a healthy set of lungs on her, and can be LOUD.

"See?" he said, gesturing to the table where he'd now lit a jar candle. "Romance isn't impossible with kids. It's just hard."

But when the screaming didn't abate as we sat down and started to dish up food, I looked at him. "I think she needs a shot."

Hubby mimicked a punch.

"No, motrin. She's teething again, her bottom eye teeth. That's probably why she's screaming."

Hubby opted to go up and drug his girl, and I decided to keep eating so my food wouldn't get cold.

After five minutes had passed, I said to the kitchen, "I love this romantic dinner we're having."

By the time Hubby came back downstairs, nearly twenty minutes had passed, and I was nearly done, even with seconds on the veggies.

Medium Fry was still crying, but it was now a how-dare-you-leave-me scream, not an I'm-in-pain-fix-it scream.

I mentioned my thoughts about our romantic dinner. He chuckled and said he'd been having the same thoughts upstairs. "Medium Fry would've been more than happy to fall asleep on my shoulder," he commented.

"Do I need to go up and hold her?"

"No, she's fine. She's just mad I left."

"Did Small Fry sleep through that?"

"Oh, no. She was awake. I'd tell her to lay down and be quiet. She'd say, 'Duckie!'"

I chuckled. My mom had bought all three girls little Gund ducks, which are permanent bedtime fixtures.

"'Small Fry, shhhh.'" He paused. "'Duckie!' I'd tell her to lay down and be quiet again. 'Duckie?'"

I'm trying not to laugh at his description of Small Fry's one-word side of the conversation and at the look of consternation on his face.

"'Duckie. Duckie. Duckie.'"

Now I'm laughing, because I know how cute Small Fry can look when she's like that.


And the irony is, it's Medium Fry who is so attached to her duckie that she can't sleep without it.

By the time we finished dinner, Medium Fry had stopped crying and all was quiet upstairs.

Hindsight being 20/20, I should've looked at him when we went to bed, and said, "Duckie!"


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