Keeping track of my four kids is near the top of my “Must Do” list as a Stay at Home Dad (SAHD). If my wife Emily came home and I only had three out of four kids, that would be bad. (Doh!) Sure, I could say, “But, 75% is still pretty good right?!” Probably would not go down well. And while 75% was good enough for my college grades, it is not acceptable as a parent. As a SAHD, I proudly hold myself to higher standards, no child left behind, etc. So, I have devised a cunning Three (3) Point Plan for keeping track of the kids, as follows:
(1) Relax or Attempt To Do Some Work
If the house is really quiet and the kids are out of sight (where? #dontknow #maynotcare), this may be your opportunity to spend a few precious moments doing something for yourself like email, pay bills, or scroll thru your social media feed. This “disarming” strategy will inevitably draw the kids out and the house will quickly morph from quiet to chaos. And, you will be able to account for the all children when they come out of the woodwork like termites with an iPad! CAUTION: When they appear, it’s usually with screaming, fighting, and/or tears:
Sit down, relax, open Facebook on my phone. Wait 2 minutes.
“DAD! Marley just used my hairbrush!!!!”, screams Fiona.
“Really?! Why can’t she use one of the nine hairbrushes that we have in that old Tupperware bucket?”, I respond naively while still reading Facebook posts.
“DAD!! THOSE DO NOT work for my hair!!!!!! How many times do I have to tell you that my hair is too thick for any of those nine brushes!!!!!“, yells Marley.
“DAD!!! DO NOT let Marley or Fiona touch my brushes!!!”, screams Maisie from some remote corner of the house where she is nonstop SnapChatting.
“DAD!!!! Can you tell the sisters to stop YELLING!”, yells Callan from the laundry room where he has been squirreled away watching Netflix.
See, all four present! Albeit screaming, yelling, and hair crisis unfolding. But, mission accomplished.
(2) Use The Bathroom
If the first “disarming” technique does not work, then you can proceed to the second strategy which works 99.9% of the time. When the house is quiet and you think you have enough time to “take care of some business”, proceed quietly to the bathroom. DO NOT say in a really loud voice, “I’m going to the bathroom!!!” This will immediately trigger a teenage girl reflex where one of your daughters will leap out of nowhere, cut in front of you, jump into the bathroom, slam the door and then yell, “DAD!!!! MY CURLING IRON is on and I have to use it while it’s HOT!!!!” No, that is a rookie mistake. Instead you must stealthily creep into a bathroom (preferably one that is not used very often like the dusty guest bathroom). Then, once you’ve “settled in” and are on the second paragraph of whatever reading material you’ve brought with you, you will immediately be able to account for all your children:
“WHERE ARE YOU!!!!???“
“I AM ON THE POTTY!!!!”, what do you want? Is something on fire!?!?
“NOT YET!!! But, Fiona is making toaster waffles on the stove again and Marley and Callan are using your reading glasses to burn ants on the back porch!!!”, screams Maisie.
See, all four present! Albeit with some (manageable) levels of danger. Finish taking care of your business!!!
(3) Pull The Plug on the Cable Box & Wifi
If the first two strategies do not work and you’re at risk of your wife (or husband) discovering that you’ve lost the children, then proceed to the third strategy. This is essentially the “Break Glass It Is Now An Emergency” technique. You will need to find the little box in some remote room or closet in your house that has the cable, phone, and WiFi connections. You will recognize it by the many blinking lights, messy cables, and assorted old computer junk that will be nearby. Start unplugging sh*t. BUT you must keep track of the connections because after the children are found, and are in bed, you will want to catch up on Netflix or ESPN “30 for 30” episodes! I mean don’t cut off your nose to spite your face! Anyway… by essentially creating a household internet “blackout” you will immediately surface the children.
“DAD!!! OMG!!! The WiFi is out when I was two levels away from winning on Fortnite!!!”
“DAD!!! Seriously!!!! I have to continue my “streaks” on Snapchat or I will lose friends!!!”
“DAD!!! I was Facetiming my BFF for the fourth time tonight and the connection went down!!!!”
“DAD!!! How can I binge watch Ninjago episodes without the HDTV working!!!!????
Sure, there is momentary stress and chaos. But, at least they’ve all been found!
Boo-ya!! That’s how a SAHD Dad rolls!