As I was driving home from work last night, my husband called me. I didn’t answer my phone until I pulled off the highway.
“What are you doing tonight?” he asked. “Are you taking the girls down to Mardi Gras at the school?”
I had no intentions of taking the girls to the Mardi Gras party. During the week, I am pretty much focused on: picking up Michael, picking up the girls, getting everyone home, fed, bathed, and put to bed. Oh, and seeing if Flora has homework. That’s pretty much my routine. It’s not very interesting, but it’s what I do.
And that’s what I told Dan, in a nutshell.
He kept calling me. “Where are you now?” I’m getting Michael. “Where are you now?” I’m pulling into the girls’ daycare to pick them up.
He was kind of driving me crazy.
But then I walked into the girls’ daycare, and there was my husband. It was a surprise, and he wanted us to go over the the school and go to the Mardi Gras party.
It was really sweet.
There were a couple of catches, but it was really sweet. I think it’s hard to do “spontaneous” with a baby, but I decided to go with the flow as much as possible. (I used to be a schedule nazi, especially with Flora. I’ve gotten better.)
However, it’s a fact that Daddy Brain and Mommy Brain differ.
I imagine the Daddy Brain to go something like this:
“I’m going to surprise my wife and kids tonight. We’ll have family time, and we’ll go over to the school for Mardi Gras. It’s a win-win: see my family, have some food, support our kids’ school. It’ll be great! My wife is going to be so surprised! I can’t wait to see her and see my kids. Besides, my wife is hawt. She looks so good. No one can believe she had a baby three months ago. Yeah, maybe this will get me some points, and we can have special mommy and daddy time together later. Awesome!”
Mommy Brain, on the other hand, goes like this:
“Where’s the diaper bag? I don’t have anything for the baby: no diapers, no wipes, and no bottles. That’s a little crazy. We’re going to have to remedy that situation. Wow, look how crowded it is. This is so not in the kids’ schedules. I hope the baby doesn’t freak out. Oh, look how cute my husband is; he’s so excited. I should give him a big hug and tell him how sweet he is that he wanted to surprise me. I think that would be very positive reinforcement for him. Okay, now, the kids are cranky because they are hungry. What can I do about that? I’m going to have to run home and get a diaper bag. I’ll grab snacks for the kids because it’s going to be awhile before they eat. I’ll get vegetarian tenders, too, because I bet they aren’t going to have much for vegetarians. That’s okay. I’ll get a bottle and pajamas for the baby, too. I hope my husband won’t stress out too much while I go pick these things up. I wish he had thought of this, or thought to find a way to ask me — no, it’s all right. Damn, my feet are killing me. I wonder if I have time to change. Probably not. That’s okay. This’ll be fun! As long as no one freaks out. Okay, here we go.”
For the record, no one freaked out. We only live about 5 minutes away from the school, so it didn’t take long to run home, throw some things in the diaper bag, and get back. They had fun stuff for the kids to do (face painting, Mardi Gras mask-making, a “parade”). Michael fussed a bit, but he also took a 20 minute power nap on his godmother while I ran around with the girls. The rest of the evening he was alert and pleasant. And the girls had a blast!
And it was sweet of Dan to think of doing it. Maybe next time, he’ll remember we need a diaper bag. But even if he doesn’t, it’s okay with me.