As I lay/laid (who cares) my head down on my pillow, exhausted from chasing my one-year-old grandson around for almost 8 hours, I listened to my husband snoring and wondered how he could sleep after “the incident” earlier that day. How could I have allowed it to happen? Did I think that because he is now a grandfather that everything would be – grand? Men from our generation aren’t like the fathers of today who can do it all – food shopping, cooking, laundry, changing diapers, and most important of all – making sure the children are SAFE. The fathers portrayed on television back in my day were bumbling idiots, incapable of doing anything. Hmm…how’d I forget that?

Anyway, back to “the incident.” PaPa King” (that’s what the baby calls him) walked in after his day at work and volunteered to give me a break and bring our grandson downstairs to the basement where he likes to run in circles (the baby, not my husband.) I was happy to plop myself down on the couch and put my feet up. “Ahh,” I sighed, maybe two pages into my novel when I heard—the CRASH.

I ran and stood at the top of the basement steps, afraid to call down and ask what happened. I tiptoed further down the steps, half-covering my eyes to see if the baby was all right. There he was, running in circles “Weeee…” around The King who was laying/lying on the cement floor with our old defunct yard sale hutch cupboard on top of him; the $20 price tag, swinging over his head. Luckily, he still had his head, because next to him was what had fallen off the top of the hutch: a lamp, boxes of junk, and two paper cutters – you know, the kind that can decapitate.

“PHEW!” His voice was weak coming out of his talking head. What a relief! “You wouldn’t believe it,” he said, seriously. Sure I would, I thought, as horrific memories of him watching our own children growing up, now rushed back at me.

“We were playing London Bridges,” he said, rubbing the back of his neck, while I helped him up, and the baby continued circling the whole mess. “I guess I didn’t duck far down enough.“

As I lay/lie in bed that night, I had to wonder if he could be trained, if an old dog really could learn new tricks. So, I thought of The Bruce Challenge I would hold in honor of Father’s Day (in place of a gift.)
There were 10 challenges on the list (one point for each)
1. Find scissors within 30 seconds
2. Find the parmesan cheese within 1 minute
3. Make a cup of hot tea within 3 minutes
4. Turn the dishwasher on (with the correct soap) within 4 minutes
5. Iron your shirt within 7 minutes
6. Open the ironing board within 10 minutes
7. Make any bed in the house within 11 minutes
8. Do a load of laundry (wash and dry) without a time limit
9. Vacuum the stairs within 23 minutes (without falling)
10. Change your grandson’s diaper within 12 minutes (without putting the baby in danger)
· Bonus: If poop, you get an extra 12 minutes, plus an extra point.

After it was all done, I assured him that three out of ten wasn’t too bad…again, my spouse kept his head attached, although, he did suffer a small electrical shock, a scrape on one finger, a burn mark on his inner arm, a bruise on his shin, and—well, you don’t need to hear the graphic details of the diaper change, now do you?



Published by Janet Berg

Janet Lee Berg is a novelist and a blogger, who is known for her freelance writing on the east end of Long Island, NY, including Dan’s Papers. Keep an eye out for the release of her upcoming novel Rembrandt's Shadow, a Holocaust-related story about Sylvie Rosenberg, the privileged daughter of a prominent Dutch art dealer, who never knows her father's love until the day he trades his beloved Rembrandt to the Nazis in exchange for her life.

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