Occasionally, you get to gloat because you’re proven not to have screwed up. I was just vindicated of wrong doing and got to do a happy dance, because at the same time I got payback.
I was contacted by my middle child, whose name is Center. She’s mother to my granddaughter Prime that was born in an indivisible year. Her age is a year and a half, but most people say she’s 18 months. It’s stupid to compute age that way. I’d be 750 months old, so I’m not a fan of that concept. Anyway, Prime is the apple of my eye.
My daughter Center made the standard daily pilgrimage to collect Grandpa’s little princess from daycare. That should be no big deal, and is routine for most families. We’re not most families. Picking up my grandkids is kind of like sticking your hand into a bear trap. You know it’s going to hurt. You just hope it won’t be too painful. I don’t know why they’re like that, but an abnormally large percentage of them have challenges dealing with things like standards and rules. It must be a genetic anomaly that comes from someone other than me.
So my brave, heroic child arrived at a daycare in bedlam. My first thought was, so? Of course it’s pandemonium. Hello, it’s daycare. Duh, groups of children are synonymous with bedlam. But this day is very different. The warden was in full-on panic mode. Her symptoms of rapid heartbeat, flushed face, sweat, and glassy eyes would have qualified her for a ticket to a cardiac unit anywhere. It’s not unusual for caregivers to need “a little rest” after a session with our family, but this exceeded all expectations. Little Prime escaped. She was able to overcome not one, but two child locks. She opened the door and went on a field trip to the local park. The icing on the cake is that she took four kids with her. The curator of kids stated she only turned her back for a few seconds, and when she looked back, the kids were gone. She found them quickly, but the panic lingered. I hold the daycare not liable. The concept called “what goes around, comes around” is to blame. Call it payback, or karma, or “just desserts.” I’d say the chickens came home to roost.
When this daughter was little, she was an escape artist. I believe that my baldness and general paranoia are the result of being her parent. It was completely impossible to control her. You couldn’t put her to bed and get her to go to sleep. You had to let her play until she dropped in her tracks, and then gingerly carry her to bed. Initially, I expected her to sleep like a normal human, but that never happened. I’d wake up in a few hours to find her gone and the door standing open. After panicked disbelief, I’d find her knocking on the neighbors’ door or playing in the backyard. You’re thinking, “Why didn’t you put a lock on the doors?” I did. I put chain locks and night locks and high security locks from an armored car plus everything I could find in the hardware store. I covered the door with locks and then put locks on the locks. She would use chairs and books and anything she could find to build a ladder and quickly defeated my attempts to keep her in. I ended up screwing the front door closed and sleeping on a pallet blocking the back door so she couldn’t escape.
Our house had what you call casement windows that crank open. She bypassed the door and worked the window. Somehow her toddler fingers removed the screens and she went on her nightly romps. I was afraid to sleep.
If we’d go out to eat, you couldn’t blink. Center would go visit the other diners. One Sunday brunch, I was watching her eat her pancake, but somehow she ran to the center of the dining room and removed her church dress. Her stripping down to Holly Hobby underwear was so quick, she must have broken the sound barrier.
Once I was driving up the ramp in a parking garage and she got the back door open and jumped. I stopped the car and ran back to her while praying the most earnest prayer any father has ever prayed. She was okay and thought it was great fun, but I was not amused.
I was chastised and lectured by several people about watching my kid. I’m not sure a dozen people would’ve been enough to watch Center. Now I’ve been vindicated by her own child, who’s just like her.
Prime is my revenge for dozens of sleepless nights. I’ve always heard that everything balances out in the long run but I doubted it. I see it’s true and the long run is now. My advice to my kid is lots of coffee and maybe nerve pills. As for me, pardon me while I gloat.