Monday, May 08, 2006

My (Temporary) Life As a Single Dad (Day 1)

My wife made her second annual pilgrimage to Frankenmuth for two days with a good friend of hers. They left early Saturday morning, and came back Sunday night. I'm so glad that my wife has this time, actually. She certainly deserves some time alone like that...away from the kids.

And me? Well, I got a chance to prove to my wife once and for all that being a stay-at-home parent isn't all that difficult. I would, in one weekend, prove that she has no right to complain about the kids at the end of the day, or just want a break, or anything. No problemo. Right?

All I had to do was keep the house in reasonable order while making sure I made it to each of the scheduled appointments with my children suitably dressed.

How'd I do? Well, you be the judge. But let me start out by saying the key to any successful single dad is "the list". This is, of course, a detailed schedule of events plus items not to forget carefully prepared the day ahead of time by his wife. And, as a highly successful single dad as myself, I dutifully made sure my wife made me "the list". There is a benefit to having "the list". If, for any reason, any important item or event was left off "the list", then I can immediately blame my failure on my wife.

Oh, yeah. And the second thing? Make sure you actually consult "the list" from time to time. But I'll get to that in a moment.

Saturday morning, I had to assist my boys in getting their bedroom and the playroom in order. While I directed them, I also had to fulfill a promise to my four-year-old to play a bit of Roller Coaster Tycoon with him. (Yes, this was a promise, actually.) And while I did this, my two-year-old daughter played with the trains in the playroom.

Well, that's where she was at first. Because as the intensity of the game proceeded, and my boy and I had to figure out how to reduce the number of lateral G-forces on a particular turn, I was suddenly struck with the thought that perhaps my daughter wasn't where I thought she was. I sent my oldest boy in search if her, and he came back to announce she had dumped the Spinach planter all over the living room. Sure enough. Dirt was everywhere. The carpet, the chair, the window sill.

But it's still okay. I got it cleaned back up, and it was just a reminder: keep an eye on the younglings!

My four-year-old had a birthday party to attend at 3:00. Which meant I had to drop the other two boys off at a friends house at 2:30. Which mean I had to have everyone dressed and ready to go by 2:00. All was well. I had the gift, the card, the cookies my son could eat. Oh, and I had the bikes hanging off the back of my car ready for bike riding afterwards.

We didn't get there until 3:15. Not bad. We were there until 5:15, and during that time, I realized that I had failed to consult "the list". I forgot the diaper bag. But, that's okay. My daughter is in Pull-Ups, and there were no accidents. So, God was on my side.

By the time I picked up my older boys and arrived home, I was exhausted, so the bike-riding had to be delayed until the following day. I was so worn out, in fact, that when, later that night, I received a "Severe Weather Alert" that there could be frost...I just couldn't bring myself to go throw a blanket over the garden plants. Again, God was on my side, and our yard was spared any frost.

I managed to teach my son how to play Battleship, got everyone ready for bed, and even had a chance to play some Roller Coaster Tycoon with my boys again that evening.

All in all, a somewhat uneventful day. Of course, we never finished cleaning up the playroom, nor did I get my lawn mowed, nor did we go bike riding.

But I was still surviving. Barely. I just don't understand why I was so tired. Because it just couldn't be the kids. I'm sure of it.

I'll tell you about Day 2 tomorrow.

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