Sunday, August 01, 2010

The grandparent trap

I awoke at 9:15 last Sunday morning to the jarring sound of absolutely nothing. My wife Kara was already awake, staring at the cottage cheese hotel ceiling.

“This is strange,” she said.

“I know. I’d forgotten what it feels like to have this,” I said.

“The freedom?” she asked.

“The hangover,” I replied.

For the first time since our son Evan was born last summer, Kara and I spent a weekend away from him. We figured he’d be fine on his own, since we left plenty of Gerber jars on the floor, and we filled his water bowl right up to the tippy-top. Our biggest fear was that he might get mad at us for leaving him behind and pee on our bed or shred the drapes.

Actually, we left him with Kara’s parents, who graciously volunteered to look after Evan so that we could attend the wedding of our friends Julie and Sergey, who had finally decided to seal the deal after an eight-year test drive.

The last time we left Evan with Kara’s folks, which was several months ago, they watched him for twenty-four hours. When we left, they were healthy, vibrant people who could fairly be described as having a human hue.

Upon our return the next day, we opened the door to find her parents slumped on the couch, drained of all color except for maybe pale green. Evan sat in the center of the room, happily banging blocks together. There would have been no discernable difference to the scene if we’d left them locked up for a day with a vampire baby.

And I don’t really have a good way to prove that Evan isn’t a vampire baby, since every time he goes in the sunlight, Kara puts enough sunblock on him to earn a memorial wing at the Coppertone factory.

“We were much younger the last time we did this,” her mom laughed on the way out the door, the color starting to return.

So it was with our great appreciation that her folks were willing to sign up for an entire weekend with our little Edward Cullen (note to dudes: that’s the vampire from Twilight. Don’t ask me how I know.), which allowed me to earn my first hangover of the new decade.

Lest you conclude that drinking to excess is not the most responsible way to spend one’s limited time away from one’s child, let me just point out that my hangover was acquired in the performance of my husbandly duties, namely forcing my brain to shut down so it wouldn’t notice that my feet were joining my wife’s on the dance floor.

Fate is not always so kind to those poor souls who neglect to either muster or imbibe similar courage.

“What’s wrong?” I asked my friend (we’ll call him Fred) as he moped in a corner, his date (we’ll call her Ginger) sitting in a chair far away, phone in hand, her body language clearly reading, “I’m texting ‘I H8 FRED’ to all my friends right now.”

“Ginger wouldn’t stop asking me to dance. I just don’t feel like dancing.” Fred said. Of course he didn’t feel like dancing. Women already know that you don’t feel like dancing before they try to drag you out there. That’s why they’re so happy when you join them, because they love getting you to do things you don’t want to do.

I’ve heard you can score bonus points if you bring up the idea of dancing before she does, but my research suggests that this notion remains untested in the real world.

In any event, the wedding was beautiful, and we ended the weekend with many more nice memories than we’d started with. And Kara’s folks weathered the weekend without a scratch, even offering, insanely, to do it again soon.

Still, that Sunday morning, Kara said, “It doesn’t feel right. No baby crying. No dog thumping her tail against the bed.”

I agreed that something sure didn’t feel right, but the ibuprofen helped.

You can start a conga line with Mike Todd at


  1. I would like to request a poster size print of the vampire baby illustration. Excellent fan. These drawings are a great idea. I like em' - keep em' coming.

  2. Kara's parents surely are heroes! Plus, I second Perlson on the drawings....please get rid of the hangover and keep drawing.

  3. Yes, I concur with the Jew... great illustrations!

  4. Dudes! Just got back from vacation -- these comments were nice to come back to, and the encouragement is much appreciated. We'll see how much longer I can coast by on my complete lack of artistic skill - should be good for at least another week or two.

  5. Excuse me but time for ye who abandoned Lil' Dude and Memphis to return to the drawing board...there is no "post vacation euphoria" allowed, now that you both reside in Parent-Land. Geesh. (please don't make your readers send you a "harrummmph!")