Held Hostage by a Three-Year Old

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, September 1, 2021

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My family and many others in the area have been hit with a dilemma in recent days: What do we do with these kids while we work? With our public schools in virtual classroom status and daycares having to deal with quarantine issues because of the virus problem, a lot of young families are scrambling to come up with an affordable childcare solution. Attempting to pitch in and help, I once again allowed my heart to become bigger than my brain when I volunteered to watch Addy and Raegan while Jessica and Will went to work.

The day started off with joyful anticipation of time with the girls—just them and Papa. What more could an old man want in life! That utopian expectation was short lived, though, when it became apparent that I was going to get practically nothing done with that three year old in the house bouncing off the walls. The day before I had mopped the floors and tidied things up, but it did not take long for crumbs to be dribbled in every direction and toys scattered all over the place. Not to mention the blaring noise of the television as some big red dog appeared as the star of the show—whatever the show was.

On the other hand, Addy gave no problems; she was studious as she got on line and joined her friends in virtual school. She used my home office and was able to close herself in to create an atmosphere conducive to learning. But as you might guess, Raegan could not allow things to go that smoothly as she insistently sought to join her older sister in her study room. After warning her to stay out, I had to resort to giving her some deeper “encouragement” to stay out of the office while Addy did school. After having to go to another level of enforcement I gave her a whack with the fly flap—a whack that was so light that it hardly would have harmed a fly. It might not have hurt her body but it broke her heart as she quietly crawled in the recliner and balled up in a knot while she pouted about the punishment she got from Papa.

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Two or three days later (well, actually it was still way before noon on the day of my volunteer services as Mr. Mom!), Raegan decided it was time for lunch. It was only 10 AM but she insisted on having the sandwich that Jessica had prepared for her. She lugged her lunch bag out of the refrigerator and started to devour her ham sandwich—over a long period of time. She would take a few bites then scurry off to do something else before returning to graze some more. How do you clean up behind a progressive meal that goes on endlessly?

As the day clicked on at a snail’s pace, I tried to prepare for the Wednesday church service that was only a few hours away. Trying to focus on the Book of Isaiah and preventing the house from totally imploding is no easy chore!

I have always considered my wife to be a beautiful lady, but she was extra pretty when she came in from work and brought relief to my day! In the first few minutes after her arrival, she sounded a bit like Sergeant Carter on The Gomer Pyle Show as she barked orders and got things under control. But at least I was then safe from the grip of an energetic three year old.

What kind of spiritual application can be found in such a day as I had? I think 1 Thessalonians 5:18 nails it: “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (New International Version).

As hard as the day was, there is much in it for which I give thanks. And in spite of its challenges and inconveniences, it was a day that I will long cherish. Will I volunteer to do that again? I will just leave that as an open question.