Everyone agrees that running is dumb, even people who run a lot. Especially people who run a lot.
I run for two very simple reasons: 1. "Exercise is important" or whatever, and 2. I'm a joke at all other sporting activities. Seriously. I've tried them. Running is the only one that I have not completely botched, owing to the fact that it's extremely difficult to screw up putting one foot in front of the other 12,000 times. Well, I guess you could run smack into a water tower, or into an open sewer drain, or the waiting open mouth of an alligator. Real talk, though, I'd take an activity with potential alligator chompery over having to shoot a free throw in public.
There is one major problem with running, though: It takes FOREVER, especially how I do it, which is slowly and sort of like a moose dragging itself to a water hole before it's mauled by vicious scavenger hyenas, and I'm pretty sure I'm transposing all sorts of basic animal geography here, but I like that image so I'm leaving it. You also have to recover, which also takes FOREVER, especially how I do it, which is lying unconscious on a trail hallucinating until I'm escorted into the shade by plantation security.
This has been a problem this month. We're moving out of town shortly, and my wife -- who is generally good enough to watch the children while I engage in a transparent attempt to fight off the ravages of age -- is already gone. So while I'm single-parenting for a few months, I need help watching the kids so I can do what my 2-year-old calls "ex-bur-vise" and my 10-year-old calls ... well, he doesn't call it anything, since that would involve briefly detaching his eyes from a Percy Jackson book, which doesn't happen much, certainly not for any reason involving PAYING ATTENTION TO HIS DAD.
Anyway, as such, I need a baby sitter. And weirdly enough, I've been helped out by a friend named Hadley, who is someone I've known for many years, not one of which has involved me thinking of her as a "kid person." More of a "cat person," really. Well, now she has a dog, I guess, but you don't have to change cat or dog diapers, if you're lucky. So at the risk of inciting pet lovers around the area, no, having cats and dogs isn't the same as having kids. Stop saying that. "I have only been alone with my best friend's kid once for one hour," she said, "And it was terrifying." Hadley had watched my oldest when he was much smaller, and said of the experience, "When I first watched him, I was prepared to stick a roll of paper towels down his pants rather than wipe him." So yeah, I'm pretty good at vetting my baby sitters. ("Are you free on Saturday? Do you have a pulse? Can you turn on 'Frozen?' Perfect, you're hired.")
Anyway, Hadley just finished her fourth and final week of watching the kids while I ex-bur-vise. (It's really pretty low-maintenance work; you just throw on Road Runner cartoons and crack open a box of Wheat Thins and my kids pretty much parent themselves. Not to take anything away from Hadley's baby-sitting skills, but I'm not exactly asking her to teach them sign language and modern impressionism.)
But something different happened this time. Just before I headed out, my youngest came over to me -- he never does this -- and under his breath muttered, "I'm poopy." This never happens. But excited at this potty-training development -- the only one so far, because during the time I should be potty-training I'm out running around alligators and open sewer drains -- I took him in to change his diaper, congratulating him on his announcement. Only he was wrong. Not poopy, not even a little bit. So I left for my run and came back an hour or so later to this text from Hadley: "He saved his business for me. First diaper I've changed since I was like 16." So that's what he meant: "Dad, I'm poopy. Clear out of here, we're going to teach this sitter one last lesson."
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