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How Children Affect Your Love Life

Modified on 2008/11/03 00:00 by Administrator Categorized as Humor
By Dave Barry

Children are Nature's very own form of birth control. To illustrate how they perform this vital function, let's take a look at a minute-by-minute schedule, showing how my wife and I put our six-year-old son, Robert, to bed on a typical evening. To make sure we have some time to ourselves, we try to have him in bed by 8:00pm, which means we start the procedure a full hour earlier:

7:00pm — We announce to Robert that it's time to get ready for bed.

7:04pm, 7:09pm, 7:12pm, 7:14pm, 7:17pm, 7:18pm, 7:22pm, 7:24pm, 7:25pm, 7:26pm, and 7:27pm — We announce to Robert that he really has to start getting ready for bed Right Now and we are Not Kidding.

7:28pm — Robert goes to his room and actually starts getting ready for bed.

7:29pm — Robert notices that his rubber Godzilla doll is missing. How he notices this, in a room containing roughly 78,500 toys, nobody can explain, but he does notice it, and of course all other activities must cease because God forbid that a child should be required to go to bed without his rubber Godzilla doll.

7:43pm — We locate Godzilla and Robert begins getting ready for bed again. He is supposed to take off his clothes and put on his pajamas. He can do this All By Himself.

9:27pm — So far, All By Himself, Robert has removed his shirt and, if he is really on a roll, one of his shoes. I go in to help him along.

9:30pm — Now in his pajamas, Robert has his teeth brushed, which is the signal for him to announce that he is hungry. We tell him that this is his own fault, because he did not finish supper, and he absolutely cannot have any more food, no sir, forget it, not a chance, it's time he learned his lesson, etc.

9:57pm — Robert finishes his bowl of Zoo-roni and submits to having teeth brushed again.

10:02pm — We read a bedtime story, Horton Hatches the Egg, by Dr. Seuss, which takes us quite a while because we must study every page very, very carefully in case there is some tiny detail we might have possibly missed when we read it on each of the previous 267 consecutive nights.

10:43pm — We announce that it's time to go to bed.

10:45pm, 10:47pm, 10:51pm, 10:54pm, 10:56pm and 10:59pm — We announce that it really is time to go to be Right Now and we are Not Kidding.

11:03pm — Robert actually gets into his bed. We tuck him in, kiss him good night, and creep silently out of the room, alone at last.

11:17pm — Robert falls asleep and is immediately awakened by a terrible nightmare caused by being in bed with his face six inches from a rubber Godzilla doll. We remove it.

11:28pm — We kiss Robert good night and creep silently out of the room, alone at last.

11:32pm — Hearing noise from Robert's room, we return to find him sobbing loudly. So upset that he is barely able to choke out the words, he explains that he has just realized that the mother bird in Horton Hatches the Egg loses her baby in the end, and even though she was terribly mean, she is probably very sorry by now, and very lonely. We try to explain that this is not at all the point the Dr. Seuss was trying to make, but Robert is inconsolable. Finally we agree to let him climb into bed with us, but "just for one minute."

2:47am — We return Robert to bed, kiss him good night, and creep silently from the room, alone at last.

3:14am, 3:58am, 4:26am, 5:11am, 5:43am — The household goes on Red Alert status as various routine nightmares occur, each one causing us to stagger, half-asleep, down the hallway, like actors in a scene from Night of the Living Dead Parents.

6:12am — Dawn breaks.

Whenever I read newspaper stories about people who have, say, nine children, I never ask myself, "How do they manage to take care of them all?" Instead, I ask myself, "Where did they find the time to conceive them all?" I don't mean to suggest, by what I've said, that children are bad for a relationship. Because in the end, the negative aspects of being a parent — the loss of intimacy, the expense, the total lack of free time, the incredible burden of responsibility, the constant nagging fear of having done the wrong thing, etc. — are more than outweighed by the positive aspects, such as never again lacking for primitive drawings to attach to your refrigerator with magnets.

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