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during the holiday break i was neck deep in multiple deadlines and working nights and weekends with marty managing the home and children. the unexpected death of her father brought a swift role reversal sending her from the home to handle business matters and leaving me in charge of our house and children.

at 5am after my first night alone, anthony came to the side of my bed pushed me in the head and said 'food'. i sat up in disbelief morning was already here, heavily rubbed my face with the palms of my hands and groggily mumbled, 'yes. food.' anthony turned leading me downstairs. i precariously followed avoiding doorjambs and negotiating steps. we arrived at the kitchen. i stopped in the doorway to let my eyes catch up with my body. in the few moments i spent righting myself anthony walked to the cupboard got a bowl, put it on the counter. he then pushed a stool to the microwave climbed up, got the muffin container down and set it next to his bowl. he then moved to the fridge pointed up high and grunted. i opened the door pulled the yogurt from the top shelf and set it next to the muffins. anthony then pushed his stool to his bowl, climbed up, opened the silverware drawer, pulled out a spoon, opened the muffin container, selected a muffin, dropped it in his bowl, took the lid off the yogurt, slopped two heaping spoonfuls onto his muffin, pushed the yogurt away, knelt on the stool and begin eating. if he didn't need me to get the yogurt down i don't know that he would have even bothered waking me up. after watching my two year old prepare his own breakfast my head was alert enough to compliment marty's fine work.

one week later i got up with all three kids. it was a school day. i ushered them to the kitchen. seeing them all lined up at their stools i asked what they wanted for breakfast. bella said chicken. alex said macaroni and cheese. anthony pointed to the fridge and grunted. i told bella we didn't have chicken. i told alex i wasn't making macaroni. and i asked anthony to show me what he wanted from the fridge. he pointed to a tall, bottle of ketchup. i told him he couldn't have ketchup for breakfast. by the time i broke the news to anthony all three children were throwing pouts and angst my way. in the beginning moments of this early morning implosion marty briskly entered the room like she was an ER doctor walking in on a fresh trauma. "alex did i hear macaroni? bella we don't have chicken, pick something else. anthony you want ketchup? get a bowl." in full impotence i quietly exited the room to shower and dress. when i returned some fifteen minutes later, bella was cooking an egg on the stove. alex was eating a bean and cheese quesadilla (that he made). and anthony was happily raising spoonfuls of ketchup to his gaping and red-smeared mouth.

i experience bouts of confidence that given enough time i could be the stay-at-home caregiver to my children. i also experience more frequent moments of lucidity which tell me i wouldn't make it seven minutes at the helm.

JAN2009

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