The Most Exhausting Race of All
Lately I’ve been pondering something. How is it that I can swim a mile without stopping, or run 10 miles at a time, but an hour spent interacting with my 4-year-old child can leave me totally exhausted? Something about the endless Toy Story 3 reenactments (Why do I always have to be Mrs. Potato Head, anyway?), monster hunts, and pretend-camping in a tent in the living room are leaving me a little burned out these days.
If you don’t have kids, you’re probably thinking, how hard is it to play a little make-believe? Fosters creative thinking, right? Well, my creative thinking is about tapped out now. (Explains why it’s been so long since my last blog post…) For example, I’ve been informed no less than 40 times this past week that “a monster’s coming!” and of course, “we have to stop him!” This means it’s time for me to propose a solution, which promptly gets shot down by my son:
“Make your scariest face!”
“No, that won’t work,”
“Well, chase him away!”
“He keeps coming back.”
“Suck him up with a giant vacuum!”
“Well, you could try reasoning with him.”
“No, he still wants to eat me.”
“Okay, then you think of an idea now.”
“NO!!! YOU HAVE TO PLAY WITH ME!!! NOW!!!!!!!”
After a few hours of this and other types of pretend play, I am utterly worn out, and hoping desperately for it to be bedtime for my son.
I don’t think you can train for the challenges of being a parent without actually being one, but it would be kind of fun to see a competition among non-parents assigned to preschool-age kids. The triathlon version might look something like this:
1st leg: 2 hours of fully interactive, pretend play (Simultaneously checking Facebook, reading a magazine, or knitting a sweater are rule violations which will disqualify you.) Bonus points for dress-up, silly voices, or pretending to be something truly ridiculous (like Mrs. Potato Head.)
T1: Get your preschooler to take a potty break when he really needs to, and really doesn’t want to.
2nd leg: Get the aforementioned preschooler to eat a healthy dinner (vegetables, anyone?) Bonus points if he doesn’t whine “but I don’t like (fill in the blank.) Points deducted if you disguise all the veggies in ranch sauce, cheese, or ketchup.
T2: Quickly clean up after dinner while maintaining your role in the first leg’s pretend-play.
3rd leg: Bedtime!!! Into PJs, teeth brushed, potty (“But I don’t have to go!!!”), storytime. Bonus points if the whole thing doesn’t disintegrate into a screaming tantrum. (But no deductions if it does…That’s just reality, folks.) Tuck the kiddo into bed, then collapse in exhaustion at the finish line…er, couch.
There would be no winners in this race…No finishers medals, either. But with the daily training I put in, I’m sure I could give a few Ironmen a run for their money if I could persuade them to compete with me! It would probably be the only time we’d share the same field.
Excuse me, now. Mrs. Potato Head is needed over by the campfire to help scare away a team of ferocious child-eating monsters. Wish me luck!