Project Optimism: We All Survived

On Friday night, I babysat four kids under the age of four in order to give my best friend a much-deserved night out. Two of the kiddos were mine, so I was feeling confident that I could manage.

No, I was not drunk. I’m just a good friend.

After a successful dinner, the older kids were running around giggling like maniacs and it was pretty much the cutest thing ever. I fed the baby and he quietly fell into a milk coma: mouth slightly agape, face scrunched up in concentrated slumber, a little hand wrapped around my thumb.

Heaven.

We headed upstairs for a potty break, but when I flipped on the bathroom light, the bulb flickered and went dark. There was still enough residual daylight streaming through the window, so I just made a mental note to remind my friend to replace the bulb and didn’t think another thing about it.

Baby boy was deposited in his bassinet, older kids’ hands washed, and we returned to the living room on the first floor.

When we got there, I noticed it was strangely quiet.

Hadn’t the TV been on?

My laptop was running on the battery, the kitchen light was off, and the radio was silent.

Well, shit.

My first instinct was that we were being stalked by a mass murderer who was waiting for nightfall to kill us. Naturally.

I remembered the dead bulb from upstairs and wondered if we had blown a fuse. I mustered all the courage I had and headed into the basement fully expecting to be taken out at the ankles as I descended the steps. Killers go for the Achilles heel, or so I’ve been told. The fuse box showed no signs of a short, so I sprinted headed back up the stairs.

It wasn’t storming. There weren’t strong winds. WHY oh WHY were the lights out?!

I started to sweat, but wanted to remain calm for the oblivious kids who were playing trains.

PUSSY! my daughter yelled.

Don’t call me names! I’m frightened! I cried.

That’s MY Percy! my son wailed, as he yanked Percy the train away from his sister.

Ooops.

Simmer down, Stephanie. You’re the adult. Maintain control.

I needed flashlights.

Candles.

Prozac.

I noticed a neighbor outside, so I stuck my fat head out the window and a little too desperately called to him, “Do you have power? Do you have any idea when it will come back on? Do you know I’m babysitting four kids all alone? Please don’t rape me.”

He confirmed that he was also in the dark and that he had heard a substation had exploded, and then said a bunch of other things I didn’t hear because the realization that a murderer wasn’t our biggest problem was dawning on me: pretty soon it would be pitch black in the house and what in the HELL was I to do with four kids and no electricity?

I would have been the first to die on the Oregon Trail.

Fortunately, the neighbor’s lovely wife brought a lantern over for us: “You need this more than we do.” Her words were kind, her eyes said, “You crazy.”

The kids and I put on our PJs and awaited the inevitable: the black-out.

I thought it best to be on the same level as the sleeping baby, so we made our way back upstairs, snuggled together and watched Madagascar on my laptop.

You got to move it, move it! 

Everything was going swimmingly!

You got to move it, move—-

Until the DVD froze.

A slew of curse words flew into my mouth, but I swallowed them in the name of innocent ears. I re-started the movie. All was well.

Until the DVD froze. Again.

MOTHERFU—PIECE OF SH—SONOFA—

Again, I censored myself and began a creepy narration à la Caillou of my emotions: Okay kids, I am feeling very frustrated right now. Does everyone know what frustrated means?

Three small faces stared back at me, willing the return of their movie.

SUCCESS!!

The movie was back. All was well.

Until the laptop battery died.

I tend to sing when trying to maintain calm, so I proceeded with I’m gonna lose it, lose it! The children clapped along.

I explained through gritted teeth that I would need to retrieve my friend’s iPad from its spot on the couch downstairs. I positioned the little lantern in the hallway so that the kids wouldn’t be in complete darkness and I wouldn’t break my face falling down the steps. My daughter was not pleased with this set-up; how dare I leave her sight without written consent?!

I grabbed the iPad and immediately heard a BOOM! followed by wails.

It’s not what you think.

The kids were not injured. The lantern was not as lucky.

My soon-to-be-2-year-old daughter had spiked the lantern to the ground like a football in the end zone at the Super Bowl, smashing it into pieces.

Fanfuckingtastic.

My son: I wanna go home!!!!!

My daughter: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

My friend’s daughter: So, is the movie over?

My friend’s son: Zzzzzzz…

The planets must have aligned at that very moment, because this sad excuse for a Girl Scout was able to reassemble the lantern by the waning glow of a flashlight. Feeling pretty fly for a white guy, I popped my collar and found a Mickey Mouse game on the iPad.

What’s up now, electricity?

Finally, the kids’ increased yawns and incessant eye rubbing meant that sweet slumber would soon be ours. Eyelids fluttered, sweet voices quieted, and squirming bodies stilled. So…close…

I wish I could say that the rest of the evening was smooth sailing, but my daughter was a psychopath and when my friend and her husband returned home, as all parents will understand, their toddler interpreted their arrival as a green light to go bat shit crazy. I had done so well keeping everyone alive and stuff, and that’s what my pals came home to. Oh, well. At least they got a night out, right?

Like any good story, there is a moral here: an Apple (device) a day will keep the murderers away. You’re welcome.

PowerisOut

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Comments

  1. Oh Stephanie, you are my favorite person in the whole wide world. I am dying laughing at this! Just remember, I’m not laughing at you, I’m laughing near you.
    The Sadder But Wiser Girl recently posted…Look Out World, She’s Five Years OldMy Profile

  2. Holy Shit! that was freaking hilarious. first of all I give you props for going into a basement alone in the dark. We don’t have basements in FL. But if it were me, I would have dragged a kid down with me by his/hair. I would be that scared.. and then after seeing no fuse was blown,i would have ran up those stairs so fast forgetting the poor child down below. Only thing I know about basements is whatever happens in scary movies!! EEEKKK..
    “I tend to sing when losing control of a situation, so I proceeded with I’m gonna lose it, lose it! The children clapped along.” That really made me laugh out loud! Great post.
    Bad Word Mama recently posted…Sunday Silliness..My Profile

    • I thought about throwing the cat down the steps to test the waters, so to speak, but the damn cat would have clawed my eyes out if I tried to pick her up. Fortunately for everyone, especially ASPCA, no one was harmed during this debacle.

  3. Lol Steph. Good for you. I probably would’ve called their mom back to say “come home, this is not what I signed up for.”
    Jill Pinnella Corso recently posted…Ms. PC: Your Life AdviserMy Profile

  4. What you won’t do for your friends!! I absolutely LOVE technology…but only when the sh*t works!! Substation…shmubstation. I would have totally demanded that Hubs come rescue me. I mean us.
    Mom Rants and Comfy Pants recently posted…Never Trust the Pet Store Guy (aka Those Are Not Scooby Snacks)My Profile

  5. This is hilarious! I’m a scardy cat myself that whenever I leave something downstairs and all the lights are off, I would always ask my 8yo son to come with me AND I let him go down first to turn the lights on hahaha

  6. I wanted to list my favorite funny things you said, but I lost count. Don’t call me names! The Caillou-esque emotional processing… the fanfuckingtastic broken lantern…you are one of my favorite storytellers. Glad you didn’t die on your metaphorical Oregon Trail. ;)
    Stephanie @ Mommy, for real. recently posted…Helping Our Kids Cope with DisappointmentMy Profile

    • I knew I had lost it when I started narrating my meltdown.
      Thank you for your compliment about my writing–I heart those kinds of comments! ;)

  7. As I’ve said before, you are braver than me! You are one kickass friend and mommy! Plus that totally cracked me up.
    momseye recently posted…Project Optimism: The Ponytail!My Profile

  8. Hilarious!!! Love the creepy Cailliou stuff…..I HATE that always-patient family!!!!
    Michelle recently posted…Things I Hear When My Boys Bust In On Me Taking A Shower:My Profile

  9. This is the funniest post I’ve read in a while. SO well done. Love.
    Bad Parenting Moments recently posted…Sa-tur-day NIGHT!My Profile

  10. OMG, I am DYING over here. This is one of the funniest things I’ve EVER read! You are hysterical! And amazing. Any time you want to head on over here and take care of my child while I have a night out, we’ll be waiting for you. :)
    Dani Ryan recently posted…50 things I loved about summer as a kidMy Profile

  11. You know the lesson learned, right? Don’t ever help anyone out again. just kidding. This was hysterical!! You kill me. By the way, your button is the prettiest thing on my blog page;)
    Vicky
    Vicky recently posted…Ending the day with the same amount of people as we began with… Check!My Profile

    • Hahaha!!! Glad you enjoyed it–and thanks for the button love :) I’m sweeping through blogs this week to add more to My Peoples page!

  12. Best line EVER in the BLOGOSPHERE: ” I would have been the first to die on the Oregon Trail.”
    SOOOOOO FREAKING FUNNY!!! You and I would crawl into a hurdle and rock and cry together until we just simply starved to death and/or froze to death or had a heart attack. Hilarious story!!
    Chris Carter recently posted…Savoring The Seasons of Motherhood…My Profile

  13. Steph, this one killed me! I’m going to read and re-read it over again. It was like a scene from a comedy horror flick. I laughed so hard when your baby girl meant to say “Percy,” but unknowingly said the OTHER word.

    Oh me oh my mama, you had your hands full! Hope you’ve somewhat recovered from this ordeal :)
    Anka recently posted…10 Reasons To Take OFF Your Wedding RingMy Profile

  14. Two things. One, this right here is why I don’t do nice things for people. Too many variables. And two, you can watch my kids anytime.
    Amy recently posted…10 Things I’ve Learned From My Mother-In-LawMy Profile

  15. I am dying laughing at this scenario! This is perfection Steph!! I voted too!!
    motherhoodisanart recently posted…I’m So Busy I Can’t See StraightMy Profile

  16. Too funny: I began a creepy narration à la Caillou of my emotions. Hey, I think your friends owe you.
    One Funny Motha recently posted…I Love the 80′s Prom Dress EditionMy Profile

  17. At least you would have been on your way to Oregon at the time of your death? (Couldn’t resist.) I wish I could have heard you read this. It reads wonderfully, and I tried to add your voice and expressions, now that I have them. It will have to do…for now.

  18. Your story is hilarious. I cannot decide which line is my fave “Oregon Trail” or “Don’t call me names…” doesn’t really matter because the whole thing made me laugh. So glad I got to read this one today!
    Stephanie recently posted…Wordless Wednesday, FriendsMy Profile

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  1. [...] post was written as part of Project Optimism. Other great blogs who take part are WhenCrazyMeetsExhaustion and The Best [...]

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