"She's checking us out." my wife said to me.
I turned and looked over my shoulder, and sure enough, little LP had appeared at her bedroom door, blanket in one hand and soother in the other. She plodded out, looking suspiciously around the room, finally eyeing us with a "what are you doing up at this hour?" look.
I checked my watch and it was, as I guessed, around 11 pm. It is as if she has an internal clock for getting up at 11pm - but only on the evenings when there is sound or movement somewhere in the house.
"Back to bed honey, we're not doing anything you're missing out on" my wife soothed, trying to coax her back to bed without any fuss.
"UnnnnH!" she retorted, spinning around and heading back into her bedroom. After a moment we heard the squeak of her bed as she climbed up into it, followed by a long sigh.
I swear she gets up every night, probably just to check to see if we are doing something fun. I always imagined my parents staying up to do fun things like play my video games, eat copious amounts of ice-cream and watch movies while sitting close to the TV. Emancipation from all things that feel like work? Unfortunatly not. As a parent I now know what us parents actually do when the kids are in bed. For those of you who don't have kids, or have grown ones and want a walk down memory lane, I present to you a short list, representative of the evening tasks:
- Washing and folding laundry, most of it is pink. Between checking every piece of your clothing for diapers you may have wadded up and hidden in a pair of little pants, and Spray 'n Washing almost everything you wear, it takes much longer to do your laundry than ours does. And yes, we have to check everything now because trust me, it takes considerably longer to clean up the mess that a diaper makes if you put it through the wash without knowing about it.
- Cleaning the kitchen floor. Remnants of breakfast, lunch and dinner are still stuck to the underside of the chair, and on parts of the ceiling. How on earth you managed to get your vegetables to that height on the wall, and stick there, defies physics.
- Fixing the computer. You are four years old and already know how to get the computer started and rename all my desktop folders to random, nonsensical names. I swear if you could actually delete the Recycle Box you would try to figure it out. And just how does a two year old actually manage to get the Blue Screen of Death to show up?!?
- Resorting puzzle pieces. No, mixing six different puzzle boxes together does not allow you to make one "really really big puzzle you could see from space". It also makes it harder to do finish the puzzles at a later date when you take random pieces, chew off some of the tabs and hide them under the floor mats. How do I know this? Because after sorting the puzzles I am forced to do them to see if there still is enough pieces left to warrant keeping the puzzle so you won't scream with frustration tomorrow when you can't figure out how to finish a 50 piece puzzle with only 37 1/2 pieces.
If a parent has screams of laughter when no one is there to hear it, are they actually having fun?
Now don't get me wrong, there are the occasional evening when we do have fun, like when we decide to leave the mess for tomorrow and head right to bed. Of course we go right to sleep because we need our rest - we never know if we'll be woken up to have a threesome again.