As you know, I’ll be out of town for a little while, so we’re glad that you’re coming to hang out while I’m gone. I know Michelle and the kids will appreciate spending time with you. I hope you don’t mind filling in a little for me, so here’s a little list you may want to keep close by:
* Please make Michelle breakfast every morning. 2 eggs (scrambled these days) and hot tea (usually decaf vanilla nut, but you can pick any decaf if you’re feeling creative). Don’t forget the milk in the tea (after it steeps) and the 2 pieces of cheese on top of the eggs.
* Make sure to give her time to pray alone in the mornings while she eats.
* When Caleb gets up (7:30) direct him toward the potty, help him take off his jammies and find some clothes for the day. He can do his pants and underwear but not his shirt or socks very well yet. Also give him his vitamins (C and gummy – both orange, as I’m sure he’ll tell you) and his morning cereal. He’ll make various demands/requests about including grapes, raisins and milk, which I usually accommodate. He’ll want to watch cartoons, but I usually half-heartedly try to dissuade him.
* Oh don’t forget to let the dog out too please. When she comes back in she’ll demand a treat (in the cabinet above the microwave) which I like to have her jump up for (she’s a rather athletic pup).
* During the day I’ll leave things up to you, since usually I’m here at work. By all accounts Michelle does a good job taking care of things during the day but I’m sure she’d be glad for some help then too.
* Around dinner time, see if there’s anything that needs doing to help dinner along. If Michelle is deep into a project or something you may need to start things yourself, or offer to, which tends to kick things into gear.
* Alice will inevitably demand milk around dinner time even though she surely knows by now that she can only have it during dinner. She will invariably throw some sort of fit when told to wait, but stand firm. Or give in. Depends on the day.
* Please sit in the “hot seat” during dinner, which is the chair between the 2 kids. Michelle has certainly had her share of kid management by this time of day. Caleb will probably knock over his drink at some point, and may need some encouragement to eat especially if it’s a casserole kinda thing. Michelle’s good at tricking the kids into eating, so follow her lead. Alice will quickly drain her “mookie-mookie” and demand more. Various demands will come raining down as they finish the first course, so be prepared to jump into the kitchen at a moment’s notice. Or make them wait until you’ve had at least one bite to eat.
* Caleb will demand Bible story time when he thinks he’s done eating (you’ll probably be on your 2nd bite at this time). Feel free to summarize a little bit, especially since Alice tends not to make it the whole way through.
* After dinner the kids will demand that you play with them, but you must resolve to clean up after dinner first. Michelle made it, you clean it up (that’s the deal we have worked out at least). Sometimes the kids like to help too. So please clear and wipe down the table, and get everything in the dishwasher, which sometimes requires emptying yesterday’s load (the kids like this one especially). They both like putting their cups and such on the counter for me. And Alice is pretty good at putting away the silverware, but please relieve her of the sharp stuff.
* Then comes play time. I give in to about 90% of the demands for “daddy come play with me” (except during clean-up time) but I’ll leave it to your discretion. Sometimes they’re fine with me playing music (as long as its not too loud) while they play.
* About 7:30 get them headed toward bed. They’ll probably protest, but hear none of it. Or say “OK a couple minutes more” depending on how you’re feeling. Tell Caleb to go to the potty. He’ll use it as a delay tactic (sitting on the potty forever) so feel free to start earlier. Round up their lovies (tag, animal-of-the-week (currently the new penguin) for Caleb, night-night, dolly for Alice). Get their teeth brushed and jammies on.
* The night time routine is as follows: ask “What was your favorite thing today?” and have a discussion about that. Sing a song (usually Bye-Lo). Pray together. The order of these steps doesn’t usually matter. Alice likes to kiss, hug and nosey-nosey too. Then they’ll ask for the dog to say goodnight, and then for mama.
* When the kids are down, go hang out with Michelle. Sometimes have a nice talk, sometimes just hang out doing your own things in the same room. It’s been a while since we played games, so she’d probably like that. Offer her wine (you brought wine, right?) and a snack if you remember.
* Don’t forget random hugs during the day and evening, which usually turn into small back rubs. She likes those.
* At bedtime please get her ice pack from the freezer and put it in the bed for her back (in an old t-shirt, just below the pillow) and put yesterday’s icepack in the freezer.
Overall, please take good care of everyone for me, as I’ll miss them dearly. I’m sure I’m leaving some things out, and I’m sure most of it can be improved upon. Thanks and enjoy!