“No Problem” = Recipe for Disaster

“No problem.” It’s such an easy thing to say.

So when my daughter-in-law asked if I could pick up BOTH grandkids at day care – the six-year-old and her two-year-old brother – that’s exactly what I said.

After all, I’d had many lovely solo outings with the dramatic older, aka “The Fashionista” on Fridays. At the other grandparents’ suggestion, we’d just begun to alternate solo Friday visits with her younger brother, aka “Mr. A” (a robust, good-natured version of “Mr T”), to give their mom a break. One at a time was no problem. How could two be?

After all, I’d raised three kids of my own, including the “wild child” father of Mr. A. And although he’d never had his son’s strength or inclination to snap a sandstone coaster in half just because he could, I thought raising him was pretty fair training for whatever lay ahead.

Besides, the other grandparents had recently had both children overnight and reported, “We thought they would be a handful, but really it went great.”

Thinking back, I believe they may have winked at each other when they said it, but at the time I felt the adrenaline surge of a half-marathon runner out to prove she can do a full. Solo.

“What time do I get them?” I asked, as nonchalantly as possible.

“Are you sure?” asked their mom, which only increased my resolve.

Admittedly, there were a few minor snags at first – the car seat buckle that for 10 minutes would not budge, the diapers and wipes that I hadn’t noticed were missing from Mr. A’s day care bag until it mattered, and the (also missing) bottle of water The Fashionista had hoped I had brought “because I am dying of thirst.”

But the buckle finally worked, a convenience store stop remedied the rest, and despite his penchant for slamming car doors shut, Mr. A did not even graze a finger.

The next stop – an indoor play area – went swimmingly even though The Fashionista, who did not have the required socks, was repulsed by the purple and green polka dot substitutes available at $2 a pair. Still, she soldiered on, helping me steady Mr. A while he scaled climbing walls six times his height, and ran to catch him, after his 50 MPH descents down the slides.

Emboldened by my success so far, I decided to finish the outing with dinner out, where their mom’s only instruction had been to order green beans as a first course. This was to ensure some smidgeon of nutrition before the inevitable descent into pancakes and syrup.

While I was oohing and aahing over The Fashionista’s bracelet, the briefly unsupervised Mr. A. started flinging green beans, which I then felt compelled to crawl around and retrieve. Fascinated by the spectacle, The Fashionista knocked over an entire pitcher of warm pancake syrup into her lap, froze, and then shrieked.

“My dress!” she screamed, as I lifted the hemline in an effort to spare the carpet. This was followed by several piles of quickly delivered paper napkins, two wet rags and finally a trip to the ladies room accompanied by myself, Mr. A, and the hostess, who helped clean her up while Mr. A flushed the toilets and tried to lock himself in the stalls.

“I am SO sorry,” I told the hostess and left a tip as big as the mess.

“No problem,” she said. I smiled.

“Be careful what you say.”

Copyright 2015 Pat Snyder


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