Kids Don’t Understand Plans

November 10, 2011 in First Year Fatherhood  

Kids Don’t Understand Plans

At any given moment there’s a parent somewhere in the world mumbling expletives under his breath because his kid won’t fall asleep.

Two weeks ago I was that parent.

It wasn’t my first time being woken up, and staying up, with my son, but this particular time was more frustrating because my wife and I were on a trip for our five-year anniversary. To make things even worse was that we were staying in an old bed and breakfast, complete with squeaky floors and echoing rooms that probably weren’t approved by the National Baby Screaming Society. So not only were we not getting any sleep, I’m pretty sure the people across the hall from us weren’t getting any sleep either.

Up until that point here’s how our day had been going:

  • Drive three hours to the mountains. Check.
  • Grab some coffee and walk around an old bookstore. Check.
  • Talk to a guy on the street who looked suspiciously like Billy Graham. Check. (If this guy wasn’t a Billy Graham impersonator for a living he missed his calling).
  • See some hippies playing cool music on the street. Check.
  • Grab some dinner and watch an episode of Mad Men on Netflix. Check.

I even got a parking ticket in downtown Asheville for an expired meter and the ticket turned out to be just a warning. That’s how good the day had been.

But back to the crying… it was about 3 a.m. and Levi had been awake for over two hours. We tried everything we could, but we were done. So I told my wife we had to leave. I hadn’t slept all night and she had only slept a couple of hours at that point.

On the way home, my wife and I played a game of “Would you rather?” to keep me awake. It’s where you present two scenarios, usually bad, and make the other person decide on which they would prefer. My favorite scenario of the night came from my wife:

Would you rather go around having the smell of vomit in your nose all of the time, or would you rather taste mushrooms every time you ate food?

I hate mushrooms. That’s why she said it, but I made the wise choice and picked the shrooms. We played the game almost the entire way back home, with my wife coming in and out of consciousness. It wasn’t the anniversary weekend we had planned. Not even close. We basically drove three hours from our home to have a cup of coffee and watch an episode of Mad Men. Yeah anniversary!

Sometimes our kids ruin our plans, and it’s frustrating and inconvenient. But our plans aren’t always so great anyways. My wife and I had fun playing that dumb game in the car, maybe more fun than we would have had if we kept to our schedule. My son ruined our plans, and then made something much more memorable in the process. The next time it happens, hopefully I’ll remember that the outcome might be even better than what I had originally planned. And even if it’s not, at least I don’t have to walk around smelling vomit all of the time.


Chris Neiger is a brand spankin’ new dad, writer and felt-tip pen collector extraordinaire (I’ll let you decide which one’s not true). He blogs about being a new dad, faith, and life in general at ChristopherNeiger.com.

Please Comment & Add Your Voice!

Dan K. November 10, 2011 at 8:24 am

The “Screaming Baby Society” part made me laugh out loud. Great article.

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Chris November 10, 2011 at 9:58 am

Thanks Dan! You have to careful of the SBS, they’re everywhere.

Chase November 10, 2011 at 9:17 am

“Sometimes our kids ruin our plans, and it’s frustrating and inconvenient. But our plans aren’t always so great anyways.” Great words, Chris. Thanks!

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Chris November 10, 2011 at 10:00 am

Thanks Chase, I appreciate you letting me post on the site.

Nadine N. November 10, 2011 at 10:30 am

Yep, mushrooms were definitely the better choice! Good job on the article, son!

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Nadine November 10, 2011 at 10:36 am

Good read! I forgot that you didn’t like mushrooms. :)

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Courtney November 10, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Ha! Kids hate my plans so much they’d rather pee their pants on the way out the door than do anything I like-want-need to do.

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Chris November 11, 2011 at 6:20 am

That reminds me of a great quote from the movie Billy Madison, “If peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis!”

ThatGuyKC November 11, 2011 at 7:14 am

This is the exact reason why I don’t (and will never) bring my kids on anniversary trips. I understand if there was no other option, but the stuff I want to do on our anniversary is PG-13 at best.

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Chris November 11, 2011 at 10:51 am

Thanks KC, I’ve got plenty more PG-13 anniversaries in my future.

brianK November 16, 2011 at 5:39 pm

The desperate need for a PG-13+ anniversary is what finally got me over my epic vow of “I will never leave my child with my in-laws for multiple days”. My boy was 3 years old.

Good read Chris.

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Chris November 17, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Ha! Breaking vows in order to have a good anniversary, I love it. Thanks Brian!

Adam November 16, 2011 at 6:42 pm

I have definitely had my plans changed by our son… Several times. I will definitely be leaving him with the parents or in-laws on the vacation weekends! ;)

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Chris November 17, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Not a bad idea Adam. I’m planning to steal my wife away for a movie night next week and leave our little guy with the ‘rents (does anyone still say ‘rents?).

Jason February 7, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Chris – Great site, I really like your writing style. I have three kids, 7, 5 and 2.5 I was always led to believe that the terrible 2′s were…. terrible. I think 2 to 3 is perhaps one of the best years! I laugh almost everyday outloud. Spiderman reins supreme in my house.

Let me know if you ever want/need a guest post – I spent a year and half finishing or basement whilst being a father to 2 kids and a newborn, now I’m working on a blog to share those exeperiences.

- Jason

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