The other night, I came home and was greeted to a visibly frustrated wife who looked like she just had “one of those days.” She works part time as a registered nurse which has allowed her to stay home three days a week to spend more time with the girls. Awesome, right? For the most part, yes. The only downfall is that on her days off, sometimes she’s more run down than after a full 10-hour shift. And on this particular Monday, I knew it was better to wait and ask what happened.
Then I found the source of frustration at the end of hall. As I closed the distance to my oldest daughter’s room and intense wave of destruction began to show itself. I peeked into the room and honestly thought it was a deleted scene from the 1996 film “Twister.” I sat back to asses the damage and tried to come up with the appropriate Fujita scale rating — this was a solid F4. She’s normally pretty good at creating messes and they’re manageable to clean up, but this one took the cake. This one was going to require special attention and some reinforcements like myself or my wife. I decided the best course of action was to let things calm down, go make supper, and we’d come back to this natural disaster later.
The time was now. Supper was done, girls were bathed and it was time to conquer the Mt. Everest of messes in our home. Since this was a teachable moment for our daughter, I asked her to go clean up the mess she made in her room. With a blank stare she looked up at me and gave me, “But daddy, my legs are broken!” I didn’t know whether to be frustrated or laugh at her ingenuity. I decided on reasoning with her and asked, “How are you still standing if your legs are broken?” Quick thinking set in, and she fell to the ground, taking all her weight off the badly injured lower extremities — she always has been a little dramatic. “See,” she said. Well that escalated quickly. This wasn’t a war I was going to win easily. Time to pull our the big guns. “How are you going to go swimming at the pool or go down the slides at the park?” Dazed and confused at my seemingly impossible question, she did all she could to muster up a response. But her little three-year-old brain couldn’t turn fast enough. She caved and came back at me with a counter offer, “Okay, but you have to help, okay?” How could I say no to that?
The room was eventually cleaned and I think she spent more time correcting me on where she wanted things than she did actually cleaning. On the plus side, we only had to stop three times for Baby Alive outfit changes.