I Dropped My Naughty Kids at My Parents’ Home — I Was Shocked When They Were Good as Gold When I Picked Them Up

When Cara and her husband get an invitation to an adult-only party, they welcome the break from being parents of three for a few hours. Thankfully, her parents are ready to save the day and babysit the kids. But when Cara and Jason go back to fetch the kids, they’re shocked with the change in their behavior. Are you sure that the kids will be okay?” my husband, Jason, asked me as I went through my closet trying to find something to wear.

“Yes!” I exclaimed. “They will be absolutely fine with my parents.” “It’s just that you know how they can be,” Jason said. “The kids, not your parents. They’re a handful.” “They’ll be fine,” I repeated. But my husband wasn’t wrong. Our kids were a lot to deal with. They were as hyper as anything and often stood on each other’s feet, trying to outdo each other as they tried to claim our attention. Jason and I were getting ready for our friend’s birthday party, and thankfully, it was an adult-only party.

“I’m so glad that it’s an adult party, Cara,” Jason said, ironing his shirt. “We need an evening away from the little monsters.” I couldn’t have agreed more. I just wanted to stuff my face with good food that wasn’t leftovers from my children’s plates. And drink champagne. Or wine. Or beer. All three seemed good enough for me. Oh, honey,” I said, putting on my earrings. “I’m just as glad.” Look, Jason and I love our children to the ends of the planet and back, but after five years with zero help, we needed a break.

My in-laws had both passed away before the kids were born, and my parents lived in another state until a few months ago. “We thought that it was time to downsize the old house and move closer to you and the grandbabies,” my mother said when she first told me about the move. So, finally, my parents were here to be the backup that Jason and I needed. “Don’t you stress, Cara,” my father would say. “Retirement is all about taking care of the grandchildren.” Our kids are wild. There’s Simon, our five-year-old and eldest; then there’s Max, at three years old; and our little Lily, who is Max’s Irish twin. They are so active that even when they were all slightly younger, I could barely find time to go to the bathroom without them getting into some kind of trouble. Just last week, I was trying to make dinner when chaos erupted in the living room. “Lily, stop climbing on the bookshelf!” I yelled, rushing in to grab her before she could topple it over, sending herself straight onto the hardwood floors. “But Mommy, I’m a superhero!” she protested, wiggling out of my grasp. Meanwhile, her brother, Max, was bouncing on the couch, chanting, “Boing, boing, boing!” with an energy supply that seemed endless. At least Simon was in the kitchen with me, sitting at the counter while he nibbled on a bowl of grapes. “Max, for the love of all that is holy, sit down!” I pleaded, trying to corral both of them. “Why?” he asked with genuine curiosity. “Bouncing is fun!” “Because I said so!” I replied, already feeling defeated. I longed for a break, so when the party invite came, I was thrilled, as was my husband. Come on,” I called, rounding up the kids as I put my shoes on after changing. “It’s time to leave!” My husband strapped the kids into the backseat, giving each one a fruit roll-up to keep them occupied on the drive to my parents’. We dropped the kids off at my parents’ place and headed to the party, excited for a few hours of adult conversation and no sticky fingers pulling at my clothes. “Now, this is a party,” Jason said, kissing my cheek as he brought over two glasses of champagne. “I agree,” I said. “But I do wonder what they’re up to.” My husband laughed and popped a piece of cheese into his mouth. “At least your father will keep the boys entertained. And I’m sure your mom would have taken Lily to the chicken coop to look at the hens.” My parents were as modern as they allowed themselves to be, except for their chicken coop. That was the one thing that they ensured made it through their move. The party flew by in a few hours of actual grown-up company, and Jason and I relished every moment of it. We thrived under the company of our friends and the hazy feeling of champagne running through our veins. We danced with Zelda, our friend whose birthday it was. And we laughed loudly without having to worry about anything. But beneath it all, we missed our little monsters. After six hours, we returned to my parents’ to pick up the kids. I braced myself for the usual chaos, expecting to see the living room torn apart. But instead, I was speechless. There they were, my two hurricane sons, sitting calmly at the table, smiling and chatting with my parents as if they’d been like this all their lives. Lily was asleep on the couch with her thumb in her mouth. “What did you do to them?” I blurted out before I could stop myself. My parents just chuckled and waved it off, but I was dying to know their secret. “Jason, would you like some pie?” my mother asked. “Lily and I made a pie earlier.” My husband enthusiastically followed my mother into the kitchen while my father excused himself to go to the bathroom. “Mommy, please,” Max said, coming up to me. “Please don’t leave us here again…” “What? Why?” I asked, kneeling to his level. “He means, don’t leave us here for such a short time,” Simon said, jumping into the conversation. “We’ve had such a good time here!” “What did you do with Grandma and Grandpa?” I asked. “Grandma was busy with Lily. They cleaned the chicken coop and made the pie,” Max said. “And Grandpa took us to the attic, and we began to make a dollhouse. Grandpa said that it’s not just for girls. He showed us how to use a hammer and how to sweep away the dirt after,” Simon explained. “And he said that it’s important for a boy to know these things. And then Grandma called us, and we all made pizza together! We can make it at home. We can teach you, Mom!” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My kids, who usually couldn’t sit still for five minutes, had spent the day building and cooking. And they had loved it. “Cara,” Jason said, bringing me a slice of pie. “This is amazing; you’ve got to try it!” By that point, my parents had rejoined us in the living room. “So, all it took was some building and cooking?” I asked them, beaming. My mom smiled. “They’re good kids, darling. They just needed a little focus and some new activities. And besides, it means more to us to be with our grandkids. We missed so much when they were younger.” And then, my father chimed in, of course. “You know, Jason, Cara, kids just need to feel useful. It’s easy for them to get into a routine and go a little unhinged in their own homes. We know this well from you and your brother,” my father chuckled. Jason and I thanked my parents profusely, but they just waved it off, saying how much they enjoyed the day. “We need this more often,” my mother said. “Bring them here all the time. Bring them for sleepovers!” As we strapped the kids into the car, ready to get them home for bath time and bed, I felt a sense of calm take over me. We got the kids home, and Jason took over the boys’ bath time while I took over Lily’s nighttime routine. “Momma,” she said sleepily. “It was really nice to be with Grandma today.” “I’m glad you enjoyed yourself,” I said. “Can we get a chicken?” she asked. “Grandma showed me how to clean the coop.” “No, you can play with Grandma’s chickens for now,” I said. After an hour, all three of our kids were tucked into their beds, and Jason and I were happily ready to get ourselves into bed, too. “It’s been a good day,” my husband said as he brushed his teeth that night. “I’m not sure what your parents did, but let’s hope that it works for the better.”

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