Don’t spread this around. Last month I accepted an invitation to spend an entire day, from rising until bedtime, alone with three unbelievably handsome gentlemen. To keep things anonymous, we’ll call them Alfalfa, Buckwheat, and Spanky.
Alfalfa is six; Buckwheat is three and a half; Spanky is one and a half.
As the appointed day approached, the arguments between Cynical Me and Optimistic Me went something like this:
CM: You’re never going to have the energy to keep up with those rascals all day.
OM: Hey, I already know how to do this. I once had three preschoolers of my own.
CM: Yeah, but you were in your twenties then.
OM: So, I’ll just let them tear around while I sit and watch.
CM: You’ll become exhausted and irritable and then you’ll get mean.
OM: No I won’t. All I need to do is keep them alive for one day until their parents return. How hard could it be?
By the time breakfast was over, I had prayed for help three times, but I felt pretty proud of myself. Everyone was fed, Spanky had a clean diaper, and the kitchen was sort of clean. So what if Alfalfa decided to stay in his pajamas all day? The cold wind prevented us from playing outside, so we spent the morning reading books. Actually, Spanky and I read books while Alfalfa and Buckwheat jumped from bed to dresser to floor until I made them stop lest someone or something get hurt. So they jumped from crib to floor until something did get hurt: an overhead shelf came crashing down. But hey, everybody was still alive.
After lunch, I put Spanky down for a nap and sent Alfalfa and Buckwheat to their rooms for quiet time.
“But I don’t need a quiet time any more, Grandma,” Alfalfa said.
“I know,” I said. “But Grandma does.”
We survived the afternoon and after supper the weather improved enough to go out. With a big farmyard to play in, I turned Alfalfa and Buckwheat loose and focussed my energy on watching Spanky toddle about. Until I heard heart-wrenching screams coming from the other side of the barn. Buckwheat had managed to collapse the rotting top fence rail. His belly still straddled the second rail, his head and hands lost deep in the long, woodtick-infested grass on the other side. Alfalfa looked on with an amused expression.
From the safety of the mown side, I managed to pull Buckwheat off the fence and checked him over for broken bones, cuts, bruises, and ticks. A hug and a kiss and he was good to go. But now where was Spanky? How did that little hooligan disappear so fast? I started calling.
Thankfully, he had only ventured inside the barn. That’s when I spotted the big red wagon. Hey, what a great way to contain all three boys—I’d give them a ride! They happily piled in and I began to pull. But half-way down their long driveway, I gave out.
“Say, Alfalfa,” I said. “Wouldn’t you like to pull your little brothers in the wagon?”
“Well, you’re going to. Hop out.”
So Alfalfa pulled Buckwheat and Spanky to the end of the driveway. On the way back, Buckwheat pulled Spanky until, with one heroic last effort, I pulled all three of them again for the last half. I then left the two older characters outside while I wrangled Spanky into the bathtub.
When I called Alfalfa and Buckwheat inside for their baths, Buckwheat had soaked his shoes and socks in a deep, cold puddle and was howling again. But hey, everybody was still alive and Spanky wore a clean diaper and pajamas.
I got Buckwheat into the tub and went to hunt down Alfalfa. Meanwhile, Spanky wandered into the bathroom where his brother splashed around, soaking the entire room. I had to start all over, wrestling Spanky into a dry diaper and pajamas.
Eventually, everybody was tucked into bed, still alive, and their parents returned home. I drove home to a cup of tea and my own bed, thinking about how dearly I love these three little rascals and how thankful I am that God gives children to the young.
|Alfalfa, Buckwheat, and Spanky|