I have two weeks on my own as a dad with his son. My wife’s in England with the two girls for a wedding. I thought no sweat, this solo stint with one kid will be no trouble at all.
Not at all.
Well, sort of not at all.
I sort of figured that all those things my wife does would still have to get done. But I only sort of figured with a shrug of my shoulders and a “yeah, yeah.”
Well, my “yeah, yeah” soon led to a pile of dirty washing and a pile of ironing. I worked as usual at my home office, leaving these chores until later. And with time the washing and the dishes and the ironing piled up and up and, uh oh, the refrigerator and the cupboards emptied and emptied.
By day three we were out of milk and bread and my son was protesting at my offer of water in his cereal and a rice cake sandwich for lunch. And, please, no pizza, no empanadas and no more pasta with butter and grated cheese for dinner. Well, that was a good thing, I thought, because we were out of grated cheese.
So we defrosted the soup.
Not bad. My wife had made it and that was a great selling point for my son because Mum’s food is best.
Still, the dirty laundry continued to pile up. My son vomited in his bed and then mine. The sheets went to the pile on top of his dirty school uniform until the morning when, uh oh, I realized he had no clean uniform. So on went yesterday’s. Don’t mind the snack stains. Off you go. Quick! Five blocks to walk and across the train tracks and another two to school. What do you mean your legs don’t work? Okay, okay. I’ll carry you. Off we go. Don’t worry about my aching back!
“The birthday party!”
Man, there’s a lot to remember. Birthdays, play dates, therapy sessions, the school bus on Friday’s and forms to sign. And don’t forget the fruit of the week to take to school on Wednesdays! This week it’s tangerines, no bananas. Or is it apples?
Okay, home at last. Walk the dog. Yes, my son, you have to come. We’ll go just a block, okay? And home and into the bath. Your uniform’s not too, too dirty. Good. Now dinner. Let’s see, rice cakes, no. Pasta? Pizza? Okay, a sandwich. Yeah, but there’s no mayonnaise. Cream cheese is pretty good on sandwiches. What do you say? Good.
Now to bed, one story, okay two. Now to sleep. What do you mean you can’t sleep? Okay, you can sleep in my bed because I can’t sleep either. But it’s my choice of what to watch on television so no protests. We settle on Man v. Food, a cheese-ball program about a man out to eat the biggest hamburgers, pizzas and plates of deep-fried chicken in America. Then something about Jamie Oliver helping a young man run a pub. I know, not the most riveting programs. But I’ve got insomnia thinking about how to make it through all the events tomorrow not to mention the rest of the week. I’ve got a meeting downtown and then have to race back to pick up my son and run home. There’s a family outing booked weeks ago. We’re going on a nighttime tour of the zoo with my son’s friend and their parents. Eat first? Yeah, I’m hungry too but there’s no time. Got to race. What about a few rice cakes for the car? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Well, let’s get going. We’ll see what we can find to eat at the zoo.
I sought solace in my wife’s friends during the tour. They smiled at my grumbling and distress about how hard it is to parent on your own, to keep on top of the cooking, shopping, washing and the kid’s schedule and so much more. They listened with few comments but their faces said a lot more with expressions of now you know what it’s like.
Yup, I do. It sure is easier to go out to work, or in my case to escape to my home office for the day. Taking care of children is much, much harder so my hat’s off to my wife.
If I could find my hat.
And where’s my son’s uniform and his shoes. And his backpack? And, oh, where’s he got to be tomorrow before school?
Uh ho, insomnia again!