Why parents are always late

It’s the second day of summer vacation and already we are hearing Nana, Papa “What can we do?”We try to limit their screen time so we made several game suggestions. They answer no, they didn’t want to play a game today. We suggested that they read a book but that was also met with scorn so we decided we would take them to the park after lunch. But then, shortly after we made that decision, it started raining. Cortana had told me it was going to be a cloudy all day and she was right, it was cloudy all morning but she didn’t say anything about rain. I guess we aren’t going to go to the park either.   

I have the feeling this is going to be a long, hot summer.  My wife took the rain as an indication that she didn’t have to put sunscreen on the boys. Applying sunscreen to a couple of active youngsters is just about as much fun as it sounds. It’s like trying to put an octopus in a shoe box.

We decided that we would either take them bowling or roller skating instead. Offering them a choice however was a big mistake. One of them wanted to go bowling and the other one wanted to go skating.  After much complaining and whining and because we had some coupons, my wife made an executive decision. We were going to go bowling. The local bowling alleys have a “Kids Bowl Free” program again this summer where registered children all get 2 free games a day and we take advantage of this. All we had to do was rent the shoes.

So we began the long process of getting ready to go somewhere. It took a while but we finally managed to persuade them get their shoes on and walk out the door. My wife had just got both of my grandkids in the van and they were buckled up ready to head out when the sun broke through the clouds. 

Now they wanted to go to the park again. I was now swearing at Mother Nature for the sliver of sun light that showed up just a few seconds after we were all in the van. We had finally gotten two kids out of the door, ready to go and I was not in the mood for the persistence of a couple of young children. We said no because the park would be wet. After a lot of “aws” and “you saids” we told them there were plenty of days to go to the park during the summer. They finally accepted his.

Just as we pulled out of the garage, one of them decided that he had to go to the bathroom. This was in spite of the fact we had asked them if they needed the bathroom just 10 minutes before we left. They have bathrooms at the park but apparently he couldn’t wait. My wife threw the van in park and said she would be right back. I think the boys were playing divide and conquer. After what seemed like 15 minutes, the other grandson decided he too had to go to the bathroom. So I shut the van off and took him inside.

Of course they had to take off their shoes to walk thru the house and we were back once again at ground zero. As I sitting there waiting for them to finish, I thought, this is the reason why parents are never on time. I have been unsympathetic toward people with children, criticizing them for being late all the time. Now here I am, once again, running back into my house for yet one more delay and there are always, always delays.

I looked at the clock as we finally left and realized that the last thirty minutes had been pure chaos. Today was a bit quicker than it has been on many other days. The yelling, the screaming and the hollering, and this was just Donna and I. This was just one day, one attempt to leave, and one of many reasons why it takes parents so long to go anywhere.

We all eventually got out of the house, in the car and buckled up. If it’s not a book that a child thinks can be started and finished in a matter of minutes, or asking for just one more minute to do whatever ‘Lego’ thing has to be built right that second, then someone who suddenly can’t tie their shoes or has to use the bathroom.

It struck me that forty years ago, I was dealing with the same problem with my own children. It seems that nothing changes when dealing with small children. It doesn’t matter how long ahead of time you start out, children always have an innate way of making you late.

But seriously, just what is it about us saying that it’s time to go that makes our children have to go?

Norb is a loving father and grandfather who lives in Lockport and is frequently late. He blames children.

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