Thursday, June 24, 2010

There Has to Be An Easier Way to Do This

Confession Time: When you write a blog devoted to the misadventures of your four-year-old son, you really should examine what you are going to do with said blog when the four-year-old son doesn’t provide you with material for two weeks. This has been a golden summer for us here at Chez Taylor: I have taken some time off from my job, and the kids and I have had an amazing life of leisure for the past month. We sleep late, we swim at the pool for hours on end, we have movie marathons, we eat ice cream. In short, I have had a wonderful time and I probably haven’t been this relaxed in decades, literally. (Not changing diapers for the first time in seven years will do that to a girl.) Anyway, Acts of Davis has taken a hit because Davis has been an angel lately. Katie went to her grandparents’ house for a week and The Boy and I had a ball. It’s good to spend some time with the second child by himself once in a while. Davis would never admit it, but I think he loves his mom sometimes.

HOWEVER, the one thing that is stuck in my proverbial craw this summer is our inability to get anywhere on time and without my having to threaten my children with bodily harm to get them out the door at anything faster than a snail's pace. I think we have become so accustomed to NOT having to do anything that having to be somewhere at a certain time just blows my children's minds. Let me share with you (and it’s my blog, so I can) a typical Taylor afternoon:

2:00 pm: I ask the kids if they want to go to the neighborhood pool for a refreshing afternoon swim. After all, they were obsessed with the pool when it was December and wanted to go swimming every day, so I assume now that the pool is actually available they would have some interest.

2:05 pm: I hear absolutely no response from kids, so I ask again.

2:10 pm: Kids say yes. They are instructed to go to their rooms, put on their bathing suits, and report to their bathroom for sunscreen application.

2:12 pm: No kids. I repeat instructions, in a loving a maternal tone.

2:14 pm: Still no response…

2:15 pm: I tell the kids to haul ass down from the playroom and get their &**%%$#% bathing suits on or I am leaving them and going to the pool myself. I remind myself that this is not actually an option.

2:20 pm: Kids wander down to their rooms. They announce that they cannot find their bathing suits. I find Davis in the hall linen closet playing his video game and Katie in the guest room with a book.

2:23 pm: Suits on kids, thanks to Mom, who apparently has superhuman powers to look in their BATHING SUIT DRAWERS and find their bathing suits. Funny how I should hide them there.

2:25 pm: Sunscreen time. Wait, the sunscreen is still in the trunk of the car. Go downstairs to garage and dig out sunscreen. Back upstairs to kids’ bathroom to find…nobody.

2:27 pm: Locate kids back in third floor playroom, watching cartoons. Haul everyone back downstairs. Send them back upstairs to turn off TV and lights. Get them back into the bathroom. Find sunscreen.

2:29 pm: Sunscreen application begins. I apparently use the kind that smells bad/looks funny/blah blah blah. Screaming ensures, both from me and the children.

2:34 pm: Finish sunscreen application on first child. Look around for the next victim. Next victim has taken advantage of my inattention and is back in the playroom, watching TV.

2:35 pm: Drag next victim down by hair and repeat sunscreen application process. Not so gentle with the sunscreen application. Much more screaming this time.

2:37 pm: First child has disappeared, apparently forgetting that having on a bathing suit and being covered in sunscreen = going to the pool is eminent.

2:40 pm: Downstairs, with everyone ready to leave for the pool. Except Davis has no shoes on. Davis goes back upstairs to find appropriate swim shoes.

2:43 pm: Davis comes down in rain boots. Is sent back upstairs for flip-flops.

2: 47 pm: In the garage. We load up into the car. We forgot water and snacks for the pool. Back into the house for water and snacks. Find that we are out of snacks. Davis announces that we have to go to Kroger for appropriate snacks. I close my eyes and remind myself that I Must. Not. Harm. The. Children.

2: 55 pm: In the car with towels, snacks, water, sunscreen, shoes, and wait… forgot pool toys. Out of the car to retrieve pool toys from garage.

3:00 pm: Out of the driveway!! Down the street to the pool!! We made it!!

3:02 pm: Pool closed for swim meet.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

An Unlikely Moses

Sometimes leaders come in strange forms. Sometimes the people who solve certain problems are not the people we expect to solve them. Sometimes they are the people who usually CAUSE the problems. I am certainly not making any kind of political statement here – I’m talking about Davis.

We left a movie at church last weekend. The first Friday night of each month is date night, extremely prized and sacred nights for those of us without childcare help. For couples without family in town, date night is circled in red on the calendar. The kids go to the church, eat pizza, and watch movies while the parents get what is sometimes their only night out (free of charge!) for the month. Obviously, Scott and I are regular participants. Davis has appointed himself as the Provider of Movies, since he is kind of a movie nerd and he wants assurance that he will enjoy the feature film. (Also, his favorite pizza is pepperoni and black olives, for anyone who wants to know.)

Davis brought A Bug’s Life. Unfortunately, we had eaten our way through Lakeside Tavern and picked up the kids before the movie was finished, so we had to leave the DVD to collect later. This week, our church has experienced a water leak that has caused extensive damage and Vacation Bible School, which might have caused MORE extensive damage to the church property. Somewhere in all of this, A Bug’s Life got lost in the shuffle. Since the DVD wasn’t exactly ours, I was a little panicked about losing it for good.

Today was the last day of VBS (and that’s a WHOLE other blog series, folks!) Somewhere in the few neurons that were still firing after a week of two-year-olds, I remembered that we needed to find the movie. Katie, Davis, Maggie (our neighbor and good friend who braved VBS with me) set out to find the movie. Davis looked at all of us and said, “I know where the movie is. Everyone follow me.”

Let me reiterate that I have been in charge of two-year-olds all week and I hosted a sleepover for some of Katie’s friends last night. My brain was beyond any type of rational thought. I needed someone else to do some thinking, I wanted someone else to be in charge, and Davis was willing to lead. I was so out of it that this actually seemed like a good idea. So imagine the parade of Davis, me, Maggie and Katie, single file, processing through the church. Davis took us down the administrative hall. He took us down the nursery hall. We made a pit stop to say hi to a friend. We stopped at the water fountain. All the time Davis insisted that he knew the way to the movie. He chastised us for walking too slow. He asked us to pay attention if we started questioning him. He led us down the stairs, through the parish hall, through the downstairs classrooms, and down a dark hall. At this point, I was ready to scream, hating myself for allowing us all to be led on a two-mile journey through the bowels of the church by a four-year-old with an active imagination. He turned us into a room that I honestly did not even know was there. And there, on a side table, hidden under some papers and other movies, was our DVD. Davis picked it up with pride on his face and said to his amazed followers, “Here it is. I told you I would find it.”

Sometimes, we all just need to let ourselves be taken for a ride even when we don’t think the journey is worthwhile. The most unlikely of leaders can often show us the way.

Friday, June 4, 2010


I began this website with the encouragement of my friend Amy, who is usually the recipient of all my “Can you believe what my son just did?” calls. Amy has two gorgeous and perfectly-mannered girls, so I like to give her a taste of how the other half lives. We named it “Acts of Davis” since I had another friend question whether my homeowner’s insurance covered Acts of Davis. The name seemed perfect for a blog about how my younger, male child is attempting to slowly drive me bats. I have been very honored and humbled that a couple of people actually read this thing. Lately, some readers have commented that I have mentioned Katie and Scott in my last few entries, but not Davis. I get “When is Davis going to do something worthy of the blog again?” a lot.

Well, folks, Davis has struck again. For five of the worst minutes of my life (besides the time I attempted to watch Crossroads) my son was missing. As in, sound the alarms, lock down the place, we can’t find a kid, who saw him last, honest to goodness missing.

We had training for Vacation Bible School at my church tonight. In an inexplicable fit of absolute weakness, I agreed to help out with the 18 month old class. They’re cute, they’re cuddly, and I can give them back to their parents hopefully before they need a major diaper change. I love that my children are getting older and more independent, but four mornings with some tiny people seemed like a good idea. So I was down in the parish hall, attending a class for adult volunteers when Katie showed up at the back of the class. That’s odd, I thought. She should be upstairs in the nursery with the other kids. Why is Katie down here? My friend Angela turned to me and said, “Davis is missing.” I stared at her with what I can only assume was a stupid look. “Vaiden, DAVIS IS MISSING” she repeated, hoping that I could somehow recover my mastery of the English language.

For anyone who has ever lost a child, even for a minute, you know the feeling. Your legs are churning at the speed of light and your mind is racing even faster. We had been discussing child safety at our meeting and the next portion was concerning—wait for it--- child predators. I was frantic. I passed other people also searching, both inside and outside. If you were one of those people, you have my heartfelt thanks for looking for my son. Even as I was making laps outside and inside the church, I knew that it would all turn out all right. I knew that even Davis would have enough sense not to leave the church. One of us was obviously going to find him soon. Still, the dark thoughts were also there – what if someone had taken him from the playground? What if someone had come into the church? It was Wednesday night, and most of the doors were unlocked. I know as a parent that anything can happen, and nobody gets a warning before it does.

I had done one lap inside the church and was finishing up my outside lap when someone came out yelling that Davis had been found. I can’t begin to explain the relief that washed over me. From what we can piece together from various sources, he had seen Scott pull up outside to pick him up, and he apparently came in from the playground, dodged the nursery, and went downstairs to find me to let me know it was time to go. With no adult to tell him no, he rode the elevator, which is normally taboo for my children. The elevator was so much fun that he decided to make a few trips on it. So while half of my church was branching out looking for him, he was blithely riding the elevator up and down, oblivious to the mayhem he was causing. My church only has two floors, however, so eventually the ride had to stop. He was found wandering a dark hallway after he had taken a wrong turn downstairs. The entire incident took just a few minutes, but for me, it sure seemed a lot longer.

Scott took the kids home and I stayed for the remainder of the meeting. Also, when I sat down I didn’t think my legs were going to hold me any more, and I didn’t want to get behind the wheel of a car just then. When I got home, Davis was safely tucked into bed. I climbed in with him, knowing that he and Scott had enjoyed a LONG discussion on never running off without your parents. EVER. I reiterated this point as his eyes began to close and he drifted off to sleep. His parting comment, just as unconsciousness took over, was

“I knew where I was.”

That’s four-year-old boy logic if I ever heard it.