Life at home with two boys is unpredictable. Just this week, Linus discovered the joys of tossing toys in the toilet, and Oliver learned to climb onto our furniture, although he hasn’t quite grasped how to safely climb off our furniture, opting now for the dangerous headfirst method. Yet however unpredictable any single moment may be, each day follows basically the same pattern, and the worst 10 minutes of each day are the 10 minutes right after Tricia comes home from work.
Don’t get me wrong — I’m thrilled when Tricia gets home from work. First, it’s nice to have another adult in the house to talk to, because sometimes I go long stretches without talking to another human over the age of 2. It’s also nice to have another pair of hands to pick Oliver up after a painful La-Z-Boy dismount, or to fish Thomas the Tank Engine out of the toilet. However, our children go insane the moment Tricia walks in the door each evening, and though I’m happy to see her, it pales in comparison to how happy the boys are to see their momma. Here’s what happens.
Mandatory Gibbs Quiet Time begins at 2 p.m. each afternoon. I used to call this nap time, but sometimes the boys don’t nap, which is fine, however they must stay in their beds, and they cannot scream and shout for at least 90 minutes. At first, I would lay them down for naps at 1 p.m. every day, but realized most days they weren’t ready to lay down then. Linus would start shouting, and Oliver would hear him and start shouting, and soon they’d both work themselves into the sort of frenzy that makes napping impossible. So I began experimenting, and by trial and error learned that the optimal napping window opens at 2 p.m. However I still have not figured out the best way to end naptime.
I let them wake up on their own — because only a fool would wake a sleeping toddler — but when they wake up, they’re angry. I’m talking Incredible Hulk angry. The best I can do is have snacks and milk at the ready, and an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse queued up on the television, but even this doesn’t always cheer them up. If the weather is nice, I take them for a walk, which helps some, but when we come back inside it’s getting close to dinner time, and the boys are hungry, and angry, and just about fed up with their dad. Then Tricia walks in the door.
This wasn’t so bad when we only had Linus. Tricia could drop her bag and pick up her son and all was right in the world. But now there are two kids competing for mommy’s embrace and whichever child isn’t being held is screaming. I mean really screaming. And after a long day at home with two boys, this sends daddy over the edge. Sometimes I leave the room. Sometimes I say, “Hey, we’re out of milk,” and leave the house before Tricia even has a chance to say bye.
“Would you rather I not come home?” Tricia asked once when I complained.
“Oh no,” I said, “we’d rather you not leave in the first place.”
Chad Gibbs resides in Auburn and is the author of “God & Football,” “Love Thy Rival” and “Jesus Without Borders.” To learn more about Gibbs’ projects and to purchase his books, visit chadgibbs.com.