Tuesday, May 09, 2006

My (Temporary) Life As a Single Dad (Day 2)

I mentioned in my last entry the first day of my two-day adventure as a single dad, while my wife was off shopping with a friend over the weekend. If you haven't, I would recommend reading yesterday's entry first so that you remember what "the list" is, and just what it was I set out to prove to my wife.

Day two started out smoothly. In fact, the schedule on day two wasn't unlike any other Sunday morning. Get up, make sure the kids eat and are dressed for church. This time I remembered to pack a diaper bag for my daughter. Also, bring food for after church since I had an ensemble rehearsal going on while my two oldest boys had a pizza party to attend with their fellow Jesus Jammers choir members.

Bikes were still hanging off the back of my car, so we were to church on time...
9:25 am. Granted, my wife might have been a little disappointed in my choice of dress for my daughter, but she wasn't there to protest. Also, I was absolutely starving, since in order to make it out the door in time, I skipped breakfast. It wasn't that I wanted to miss breakfast, but there was a minor emergency in locating a belt for my son, and I spent my allotted breakfast-eating time slot scouring the house for the missing belt. (I'm proud to say, we found it, and so my son didn't have to worry about losing his pants.)

Skipping breakfast, however, proved to be a huge mistake. But
11:00 my head was pounding. And, rather than actually go out into my car and grab some Tylenol like any sane person, I thought it might go away on its own if I ate something. Bagels all around in Sunday School. Unfortunately, it didn't help. (Although, the Cinnamon Crunch bagel from Panera Bread was incredibly good!)

After church, my rehearsal went well. That is, unless you count the yogurt that spilled all over the seats because my daughter couldn't very well eat over the plastic baggy I laid out for her. No, she had to set it next to me, knock it over, which then threw her into hysterics because she was still eating it, and I had to take her out of the room and get her to calm down. Plus the fact that my son decided to clear out all the paper products they had stored in that room and set up an elaborate dinner table complete with smashed up birthday candles for the main course which, of course, ended up all over the carpet...not to mention the stack of hymnals he and another little girl were using to stand on.

But other than that...it went well. Afterwards, I went to pick up my boys from their pizza party. My youngest son had to use the potty, so I let him go while I waited with my daughter in the hall. It was taking him a long time, so I popped my head in. He was standing, pants down to his ankles, wiping his bottom with paper towels.

"What are you doing?"

"I have to wipe!"

"Why aren't you using toilet paper?"


I step inside and notice that he had not used the stall, like he has done since he was first potty trained. No, he had decided to poop into the urinal. I'm not even sure how that worked, logistically. But there it was. And not only so, but when he flushed, the water didn't shut off and was now running down across the floor. I whacked the handle a few times, which stopped the water from flowing. I directed my son into the stall, but now he broke into hysteria because the floor was wet. I cleaned up the toilet, got my son to finish his business, and got out of there.

My head, at this point, had a wooden stake shoved all the way through the top of my head down into my spine. I told the kids that I needed to take some Tylenol...and if that didn't work, we would have to delay bike riding yet again.

Thirty minutes later, we pulled into the park, and I took two more Tylenol for good measure. My headache was just beginning to ease up. Oh, yeah, and I had also forgotten to change my clothes for bike riding, so there I was stripping in the front seat of my car, trying to wiggle into my jeans with the steering wheel in my way without flashing anyone in the process.

We took one trek around the park for a total of fifteen minutes before my headache was worse than before. So, I racked up the bikes and bike trailer and headed home. Next came the most beloved moment of the entire day. Nap time! And this wasn't just any nap. This was probably the most refreshing nap I had ever taken in my life! After nap, I managed to mow the lawn while the kids played outside. Made dinner, did a bit of cleaning up, and even spent some quality time building and then destroying block buildings with my daughter. She loved that. For thirty minutes, she got to be in charge, telling me where to put what block, and then subsequently knocking it all down so we could do it all over again. Finally, bath time.

When my wife walked in the door at
8:00, all was well. I had done it. Not only had I survived the weekend, but I had managed to keep my kids alive as well. Dressed, fed, and entertained. I didn't miss any appointments. I even put curlers in my daughter's hair!

So, then...the question is, did I prove my point to my wife? Did I show her that spending all that time alone with the kids really shouldn't be a problem? Why, when I come home, is she not dressed up, make-up on, dinner ready, and looking forward to an evening in bed...together?

Well, had my wife come in and wanted me in any romantic way at that moment, I'm afraid I would have had to decline. I was exhausted...again. She always hates it when I come home from work and I don't just sit down and let her vent about the day. But what did I do? We sat down and I vented about my weekend.

So I'll admit, the outcome wasn't as I had planned. I had, essentially, proven that my wife has it hard. And, honestly, I was looking forward to heading back to work the next day...where I could relax. I'm so incredibly thankful for my wife. A weekend like this, now and again, helps remind me why it is I keep her around! Why it is I need her. Because as chaotic as things were...had I actually been a single dad, I wouldn't have had "the list".

I read a few weeks ago that if you were to pay a stay-at-home mom what they were actually worth, they would earn around $130,000 a year. I can believe it!


Scott K. Johnson said...

Oh goodness Ryan - I laughed out loud with the story of your son "doing his business" in the urinal - oh man - I don't even know how I would have deal with it!

Great post!

Penny said...

Yes, I agree, the urinal story was the highlight!! I really needed that laugh. Thanks.

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