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Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Later


My wife was out of town for the weekend, and I was on my own with a four-year-old.  Pretty much, all I had to do was get him to school on Friday, and manage to keep him breathing through the weekend.  How tough could it be?  I’ve made his lunch, got him dressed, fixed his hair to order and bathed him before.  I usually pitch in doing any number of the aforementioned tasks, but I’ve never had to do them all at once.  I’ve heard about myth about it being impossible to get out of the house before 10:00 a.m. with kids, but I wasn’t going to fall victim to that wives tale.  I’m a smart, efficient dad who can do everything mommy can do (If that’s not foreshadowing, I don’t know what is).

He starts school at 9:00, but I gave myself another forty-five minutes leeway as I had a 10:00 appointment near his school; I chose to drop him off on the way as opposed to making two trips because it was the green thing to do (yes, I’m sticking to that).

I was on schedule,  breaking for the door at 9:40.  I was holding the door open for Jack when Zoe, our indoor cat, darted out.  Because we’re in coyote country, I had to round her up on the fly.  Cue the Benny Hill music. I bolted out on the damp grass in leather soles, making cuts worthy of a tailback.  The label in my woolen suit reads “athletic cut,” but somehow I don’t think scaling pony walls is what Hart/Schaffner/Marx had in mind.  So after a few minutes of giving chase and foraging through the flower bed, the fugative feline acquiesced.  We were a few minutes behind, but not without hope of timeliness.

I buckled Jack in the 5-point harnace just when I remembered that I did not remember to make his favorite sandwhich.  So, I undid his restraints and left the car running while the two of us hustled in the house to assemble the mayonnaise, mustard and cheese on white bread (we’re not poor… that’s just his favorite).  I added in some loose grapes in a ziplock, a juicebox and an ice pack, and we were off.

Then, I remembered that Fridays are share days.  I asked Jack if he knew what letter of the alphabet he had to share today.  He paused and said “Q”?  Skeptically, I asked “are you sure?”  He replied definitively with a head nod, “yeah.”  I fumbled through the papers on the push-pin board, hoping I could verify he was mistaken.  He wasn’t.  We were falling urgently behind, and I was racking my brain trying to think of something he can bring that starts with “Q.”  I would have made a Quesadilla if that wouldn’t have set us even further behind.  He has Quicksilver shorts, but there was threat of rain, so that wouldn’t work.  I was really in a Quandary.  So in the ultimate “phoning-it-in” play, I went to the bathroom to get… you guessed it… a Q-tip.  I dropped it in another ziplock, then I rehearsed his presentation with my preschooler.  It was one sentence: “A Q-tip is for cleaning your ears.”

So discombobulated, late, and thoroughly embarrassed by the pitiful, or should I say, quotidian Q-share, we drove off.  I had to text my 10:00 a.m. appointment that I would be a little late; that was disconcerting.  I also had to pen Jack “in” at 10:01 a.m. over the penciled “ABSENT” on the sign-in sheet all the while selling one of those awkward, apologetic, half smile, half frown expressions.  That too was cause for shame.

But all was not lost.  I did manage to keep him breathing through Sunday afternoon, and I verified that I can do everything mommy can do.  I just can’t do it by 10:00 a.m.

originally published at

One Comment leave one →
  1. 03/08/2011 11:53 am

    I love that you can admit that it’s often harder than it looks!

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