JUST HUMOR ME: Babysitting for vampires – Montgomery Newspapers

Whats going on over there? Are you guys OK? I asked over the din, trying to pick out my dads voice on the other end of the line.

Zack! I got your leg! I got your leg! our son Evan shouted in the background.

Its, uh, its going fine. You know. Its going OK, my dad replied.

Let go! Let go! Zack screamed.

Then a great, clanging, extended crash happened in the background, like a dump truck had dropped a load of coffee tables and cowbells on our living room floor. My iPhone crackled as the earpiece tried its best to faithfully relay the goings-on.

Everythings OK, everythings fine, Dad said, though it was unclear which of us he was trying to convince.

Thank you so much for doing this. Sorry about all the youthful exuberance, I said. Youthful exuberance is a euphemism to describe the behavior of children who would get kicked out of a family of baboons for being too wild. As a parent, its your job to recognize the early stages of youthful exuberance, so that you can stamp it out before its too late.

At that moment, my parents were in the process of second-guessing their decision to volunteer for childcare duty. Theyd offered to help me and my wife Kara bridge the chasm between the end of summer camp and the start of school, a gaping two-week period designed to make working parents question their life decisions, annually.

Wed all thought this would be a great opportunity for my parents to spend some quality time alone with our two boys, aged 5 and 8. We live four hours from my folks, so for them, getting to spend several full days with our kids is a rare treat, like fried Oreos. Wonderful, but also bad for you.

This will be great, we all agreed, without knocking on wood.

After the first day, when Kara and I returned from work and walked into the house, my mom and dad were sunken into the couch, drained of color and barely responsive, apparently the victims of a vampire attack.

Our children, the little creatures of the day, had stolen my parents life force and used it to make themselves stronger.

Mommy! Daddy! My puppy likes Grandpa! Zack yelled, as he repeatedly bounced his stuffed animal on my dads head.

Upstairs, Evan was running laps up and down the hall, screaming something about Pokmon and probably doing one-armed pushups.

We need a nap, my mom mumbled.

Normally, Evan and Zack are sweet, well-behaved kids, but I have a new theory that children cannot handle a change in routine without testing every possible boundary along the way, just to see what will give and what will hold, which is why substitute teachers should get hazard pay. My parents held, but they nearly overdosed on youthful exuberance.

The next day, when Kara and I came home, the kids were quietly reading books with my folks. The day after that, they ran up to tell us how much fun theyd had at the playground. The color had returned to my parents faces. By the end of the week, everyone was in a groove, and all that quality time actually did happen. Its a special thing to see your kids and your parents together, bonding, especially when nobody is trying to grab anyone elses legs.

Maybe we can do it again next year, Mom said as she packed up her suitcase on the last day. Or at least she was probably thinking it. Im almost sure of it.

Next week, Karas parents are taking their turn. On the first day, maybe they should wear scarves. Or riot gear.

You can steal Mike Todds life force at mikectodd@gmail.com.

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JUST HUMOR ME: Babysitting for vampires – Montgomery Newspapers

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