There are two truisms I’ve come to know as a parent. First, you will spend a great amount of time hoping and praying that your kids learn to self-entertain, thus allowing you at least a modicum of time to accomplish the ever-growing list of parental responsibilities and duties. Second, those very rare moments where your kids indeed do find a way to occupy themselves are the moments to be most feared.
Case in point: this past weekend was my weekend to tend the kids on my own. (Beth works two twelve-hour shifts at the hospital every other Saturday and Sunday.) Saturday was a particularly productive day—with children in tow, I had done some banking, some shopping, and some cleaning around the house. We’d even managed to attend a pool party with friends—a particularly brave move on my part, considering that neither of my kids can swim, yet both are drawn to water like moths to a flame.
We returned home, and I began to prepare dinner. Caleb, still amped up from the swimming excursion, was constantly underfoot, demanding attention and making food preparation difficult. Grace, however, was strangely quiet, seemingly content to be playing at her craft table in the family room.
In retrospect, I should have taken this as a warning. Grace’s general modus operandi is to announce every little thing she does, usually with the request, “Daddy, come see!” But with Caleb’s clinginess and mom’s impending arrival, I decided to trust that she was entertaining herself in a proper fashion.