Andrea is a stay-at-home mom, and she spends her days doing what stay-at-home moms do, which is a list too long for me to write in this allotted space. She doesn’t get a lot of time for herself, so I could see where a break from the three kiddos might be a nice present.
I had actually already planned to take the kids for a few hours, so I could accomplish my goal of getting a portrait of our little ones. That was my original idea for a Mother’s Day present, so taking them off her hands would kill two birds with one stone — and gain me some all important brownie points.
Often times, I take a day off work during the middle of the week to make up for days that I work on the weekend. It was one of those such days that I scheduled our “Day with Dad.” When Andrea asked what we were going to do, I said, “We’re going to have fun!”
I don’t have the opportunity to take many days when it’s just me and the children, so I wanted it to be a day they would remember for a while. I didn’t really have concrete plans, but I wanted it to be special.
Our first task for the day was to get the photograph made. I’m a photographer, but trying to get my three to sit still, look at the camera and smile for me is about as likely as me climbing Mt. Everest tomorrow. I decided it would be worth the money to take them to Portrait Innovations in Hoover, pay $10 for the store’s special and let them deal with the stress of getting the perfect picture.
The trio were well-behaved, did everything the photographer asked them to do, and we finished the session with an extremely cute photo.
We had to wait 30 minutes to pick up our pictures, so I suggested we eat lunch. The three of them quickly started letting me know exactly how much they wanted Happy Meals and toys. I told them that wasn’t the lunch I had in mind. I informed them that we’d go somewhere different — somewhere Mommy wouldn’t want to go.
I had the idea to go to Up the Creek in Hoover. Many years ago, Andrea and I ate at an Up the Creek in Montgomery that served fried alligator tails as an appetizer. I told them we’d eat alligator, and everyone was excited.
When we arrived at the hostess station, the lady looked strangely at me. She gave me a look over and then counted the children. She said, “So it will be twooooooo adults?”
I said, “No, it’s just me.”
She didn’t have to say anything in response, because the expression on her face said it all. It was as if she was thinking, “This guy isn’t going to make it through the day.”
I think I got that look several times from people throughout the day. I guess it’s hard to believe that a guy can handle three children ages 7-and-under. Really the only tough thing is bathroom breaks, but I’ll have more on that later.
We had a great lunch. We all ate catfish and shrimp. Breeze said at one point, “This is the best lunch I’ve ever had.”
After lunch, we went to pick up our photographs and then to try to paint a plate for another Mother’s Day present. We went to another place in the Hoover area where you can paint plates, cups, bowls, ect. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize you couldn’t just paint stuff and walk out with it. You have to let it sit for a week before you take it home. That wasn’t going to work since Mother’s Day was only three days away.
I went to Plan B and made a stop at Michael’s craft store and found a plate that we could paint at home and it even had a way that we could put one of our new portraits in the middle of the plate.
From there, it was off to the movie theater. We never go to a regular theater. We usually take in movies at the $1 theater in Hoover, or we head to a drive-in. On this day, I wanted to do something special, so a 3-D movie was a must. We decided on “How to Train Your Dragon,” and all four of us thought it was outstanding. The 3-D special effects have improved so much since the cheesy 3-D movies of the 1980s. All three children were telling people for days about how the dragons in the movie were flying right at them.
Our biggest problem of the day happened after the movie. Daisy needed a potty break, which meant I had to take her to the men’s room. The other two didn’t want to wait in the hallway so we all went inside. While Daisy was finishing up, Breeze decided she needed to go. She didn’t want to go in the men’s room, but I explained to her that it wouldn’t be proper for Daddy to go in the ladies room. I did that accidentally one time, and it’s one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, but that’s another story for another day.
Once Breeze was finished, the urge hit Stone. About that time, a man walked in the door. He took a look at my 5-year-old and 3-year-old daughters, looked at me and said, “I’ll just come back.” I couldn’t help but start laughing.
Once we got home, I could tell Andrea had missed us a lot. I think she was probably also a little jealous about how much fun we had. With Father’s Day being this weekend, I started thinking about what I might want. I decided I already got my present. I couldn’t ask for more than an awesome day with my three little ones. I hope it’s a day they will remember just as long as I will.
James Phillips can be reached at 205-221-2840 or firstname.lastname@example.org.