While living in Philadelphia we had our fourth child in five years. My wife was recovering from delivery and I had to take the older three kids (ages 4, 3, & 2) to Sesame Place. It’s basically Raging Waters for little kids. As a busy pastor this was the first time I took out all three kids, just me. I was told by my wife that it was a school trip and that I was merely one of twenty chaperons. Turns out to be a lie. I am alone with three kids under the age of five.
Once I realize that the team wasn’t coming and that I was going solo, I took them to the kiddie pool. The kids were still in street clothes. I ask them where their bathing suits were, and they inform me they were in the backpacks. On the way to the kiddie pool I notice a play area with some rides for little kids. Kids #2 and #3 run for the ball room (room with tons of balls). I go and chase them making sure I get their shoes. While all this is happening, #1 ends up on a hot air balloon ride. I scream. Not just a little scream but a shrill sound that should only come out of a junior high girl when she meet the Jonas Brothers. I yell for #2 and #3 to get over here. I grab them, jump over the gate, cutting in line so I can join #1 on this ride that looked dangerous.
So we are all on this balloon ride together. One big happy family. Well, it turns out this balloon ride entertains people by going around and around the center pole while spinning as it turns. Mind you I have been battling vertigo for three years. I’m ready to puke, and my son looks at me with a green face saying, “Dada…I no feel good in my tummy.”
We get off. We start walking back to the pool. #2 says she has to pee. So I take all of them to the men’s restroom. While I am holding #2 (a girl) over the toilet, #1 (a girl) says to me, “Look Daddy I found a chair!” She is sitting in a urinal. I scream again (Junior high girl meeting the Jonas Brothers times ten). I pull her off the urinal and wash her hands with super hot water. Those of you who have never lived in the east coast…hot water there is really hot. While I wash my daughter’s hands, my son decides to lift up the toilet seat and hit the rim with his hands like he is playing drums. Those of you who have never been to a men’s restroom, just think of what the toilet looked like in your brother’s bathroom. NASTY.
After washing them up I take them to the kiddie pool. It was about a five minute walk. We get there and I forget to change them into their bathing suits. I say, “Screw it.” I am not gonna walk all the way back to the bathroom, so I go immigrant on them and change them in public. After getting them in their outfits we walk to the line at the kiddie pool. It is forty minutes long. Right when we get to the front, they lock the gate saying we are next.
Of course, #2 says to me, “Daddy I have to pee!”
I said, “What@#$!# You already went pee!”
She reminded me that when #1 was sitting on the urinal I put her down before she ever peed. So I lean over and like a ventriloquist I whisper without moving my lips, “Just wait and pee in the water.”
My daughter says very loudly, “ILL!!! PEE IN THE WATER? I’M NOT GONNA PEE IN THE WATER!”
So I ask the lady behind me (whose giving me a very dirty look) to watch #1 and #3 while I run with #2 fifty feet away where our backpacks are. I grab a diaper and hold it under her and tell her to pee in the diaper. However she is potty trained which took a really long time. She is confused because for the last two months we have been saying, “Diaper bad. Don’t pee in the diaper. Go to the toilet or you will get in trouble.”
Not being sensitive to the conflicting messages I am giving my child I yell for her to pee in the diaper. As she cries in confusion, the gate opens and #1 and #3 are in the kiddie pool. I grab #2 and run for the pool. As I hold her in the water, I whisper in her ear, “Baby, please just go pee in the water.” While sitting on my lap, she obeys.
While leaving Sesame Place we get to our car. It was 102 degrees that day. I put the kids in their car seats not realizing that I just burned their flesh. So I take them out and start the engine while blasting the a/c for fifteen minutes. When we get in the car the kids immediately konk out and sleep. I put my hands on the steering wheel and sigh a huge sigh of relief. Long day, can’t wait to get home. Then my engine shuts off because we ran out of gas.