I think I've mentioned how I volunteer at the kid's school. Up until a couple of months ago, I was lucky to be able to do it alone, as Mr W was home at the time and could watch Destructa.
Then his schedule changed. While I was able to continue volunteering, making copies and whatnot, I had to do it with a toddler in tow. I freely admit that I shamelessly bribed her with snacks from the vending machine in the teacher's lounge. Okay, I thought, I can do this. But I was perturbed because there is another volunteer activity I do at the school where I wouldn't really be able to bring her along without sedating one or the both of us.
Once a month (for about 5 months) I do a presentation for Nolan and Ben's classes called Art Masterpiece. It's a district-wide program, where we go to the classroom, show the kids an artwork, talk about the artist and style, etc., and then the kids do a piece related to what I've showed them. Not exactly something I could accomplish with Audrey along; imagine trying to maintain the attention of 25 or so students while trying to keep the toddler from running with scissors or swan-diving off desks. I like the program alot, we are short of volunteers to begin with, and I didn't really want to quit, so there I was, trying to come up with a solution...
Who could I ask to watch my girl? It would have to be someone with time off in the middle of the week. Good with kids. Preferably someone she knew (and someone I trusted).
But who? I came up with a very short list...and at the top of it was my friend, Remo.
Yes, that Remo, our resident malcontent. ;)
I've known him for a long time. He is really good with the small fry. My girl was familiar enough with him that I knew she wouldn't run from the room if he was in it. And I trusted his ability to handle the whims of a two year old as well as make sure she didn't set anything on fire. A seasoned-pro Dad, what more could I ask for?
He was nice enough to say yes, he'd take on the toddler so I could do my thing for the boys. I was thrilled. And yet, I felt a bit guilty because I was taking up some of his 'day off' time, time he uses to do the millions of things we all do on our day off, and time he uses to nap, of course. (When you keep a vampire schedule, you tend to sleep on your days off!) But he was so okay with it, that I didn't feel bad for long...and I assuaged my guilt by baking cookies for him on the days he watched her. I don't think that's such a bad deal...sugar's a good thing, right?
I knew he'd be fine with her, but before his first visit, I bought some new Playdoh for them to play with. She loves Playdoh, and I wanted to make it easier for him, for it to go well. "Go," he said to me, when I lingered (Moms!) that first day. "We'll be fine," he added, shooing me out the door. [How cool was that?]
When I got back, I had to laugh. There they sat, at the table, with a huge pile of paisley Playdoh. (Who ever said the colors need to stay separate?) He'd taught her how to pretend that something was hiding in it, and she was squealing with laughter whenever he'd act like it caught his finger. He's a hit, I thought. (As if there were ever any doubt.)
I really knew he was, though, when she began to refer to him as "my Remo" and actually made a facial expression just like one of his one day when she and I were playing with the evil dough. Any mention of his name, and she'd go to the spot where I kept the Playdoh stuff and get it out.
She really likes him, and who wouldn't? There's the Playdoh, of course, but he also fingerpaints; he's sat through "Cats and Dogs" once or twice with a drowsy toddler by his side; and he plays with her just about the whole time I'm gone. She's had so much fun that after he leaves, she usually will take a nap without a fuss.
Did I mention he's prompt, doesn't sweat it as long as I make it back so he can be home for his own kids, and no matter what I've left in the kitchen for him, it's like he wasn't ever in it? Amazing.
Today was my last Art Masterpiece presentation. I have a feeling she may miss her new playmate even though we will still run into him as always here and there. I know I will--he's my naptime hero, lol.
Recently, Ryan was talking to us about his zoo trip, saying something about the lions escaping. Remo joked that he'd only need to run faster than all the kids were, up a tree or something, and Ryan said "well, what if they still ate you?" Remo told him he was too old, tough, stringy; that the lions wouldn't like him.
I bit my tongue, because I wanted to tease him that he was only tough on the outside, that he was a softie in the middle, however, I didn't want to ruin his image. He does have that street cred to uphold, afterall.
It's enough for me that I've caught a glimpse of the other side of Screamin' Remo. I'm fortunate to have a friend like him.
He's definately full of surprises.