We returned from our RV trip a few days ago.
I had some things to take care of and it was a great time for my husband to take the kid-reins for a spin. He had some mailing to do and I had an appointment. I suggested he take the kids with him to mail his packages at the post office.
I think I knew what he might’ve been in for with a three and a five year old in a long line.
My phone was dead.
I couldn’t be contacted.
It might have been by design.
A few hours after he and the kids departed the RV with those gigantic boxes that he needed to mail, I linked up with him. He hadn’t been able to call me for three hours.
He looked pretty spent, frazzled even.
“How was it?” I asked.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “They were SOOOO bad!”
“No! You’re kidding!” I acted like I was genuinely surprised. “What did they do?”
“Well, first I had to wait in a long line. It was out the door. I had these huge boxes so I couldn’t hold onto them. They were running circles around the islands and the people!”
“No!” I said.
“They were throwing themselves on the floor! They were screaming and squealing! They were hitting each other. THEY DID NOT LISTEN TO ME WHEN I TOLD THEM TO STOP!!!!”
“No!” I said. “You’re kidding, right?”
“NO! Wait, it gets better. THEN, they started screaming, “I EAT POOP! I EAT POOP! ”
I started to laugh inside a lot but tried not to betray my internal glee by keeping up my befuddled poker face.
“THEN, they started walking up to strangers, laughing, and calling them “Poo Poo Heads!” He went on, “I was apologizing to all of them, and I assured all the customers that our children do NOT, in fact, eat feces.”
I let out a smile.
“NO, WAIT! Then, our son started running around again. And he started screaming,
MY NECK IS PEE’IN! MY NECK IS PEE’IN!!!” My husband’s voice inflection was rising to show his exasperation.
“They were UNBEARABLE!!! I couldn’t do anything. I was in line and I had those friggin’ huge packages. It was like they knew I couldn’t do anything. They were little tyrants. I couldn’t believe it.”
I shook my head and started to laugh.
“The only good thing is that a lot of the people in line with me had kids and they told me it was normal. I just don’t know what got into them today.”
That’s when I broke the news to Dad.
That’s not abnormal, Man.
A toddler and a pre-schooler that stand quietly in a post office line without so much as a flick of an over-priced Hallmark card or a jingle of some goofy US Post Office key chain on the merchandise rack is not the teeming norm.
I can’t count the times that people have told me at gymnastics, or the library, or at Starbucks that “…your son behaves so well when he’s with his father. It’s like he’s a totally different kid when he’s with you.”
That’s because my son would be swiping chocolate milks at Starbucks, raising and closing shutters, banging on windows, or jumping on the pleather couch when he’s with me. He’s the one running circles around the gym when other kids are dutifully stretching at Mommy & Me. He’s the one beating the ground and others with maracas like a drum when other kids are gently shaking them to the Alligator Song during story time.
But, apparently, he’s Mr. Compliant when he’s with my hubby, so I hear.
I hear it from my hubby, “He doesn’t do that when he’s with me.”
I hear it from others, “He doesn’t do that with your hubby.”
Hearing these things usually generates an intense desire to inflict some sort of morbid violence on the commenter.
My theory is that, now that I’m a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM) and the kids are with me most of their waking moments, that a special new familiarity exists that has manifested in the form of constant pushing of the behavior envelope.
That may be way off and it doesn’t matter if it is. I just found it very interesting that the kids seem to act up more around dad when dad is around them more on vacation.
All I know is that my manly, testosterone-infused, non-passive-aggressive husband actually uttered the words, “They were so bad, I could have cried.”
Ahhh. The sweet release of vindication through pain-forged experience.
I guess at the end of it all, once the packages were mailed and they were leaving the post office, our daughter asked my husband, “Daddy, were we good?”
And his response was a very loud, “NO!!!!!!!!”
I hear that got a good chuckle from the post office workers and the customers.
At least it wasn’t all bad. Folks got a good laugh out of it.
And being able to laugh about this stuff is about the only thing that can get us back into a post office line with small kids, Mom or Dad.
We’d all do well to remember that our kids are bright.
And it doesn’t matter if it’s mom or dad on duty. It’s about circumstance.
When you’re stuck in a line with packages the size of your body that have to be mailed by a deadline, it is party time, people. It is party time.
You should just start apologizing to folks as you walk through the door.
Image Credit: US Post Office Line http://blog.uspsoig.gov/?p=2622