Thursday, February 21, 2013

Life as a single parent... almost.

This past weekend, Mommy B took a little break from her motherly duties to join her good friend Gena on a much-needed mothers-only vacation. As Mommy B mentioned in her previous post, Gena’s husband had taken a week-long trip to Las Vegas for “work” and Gena felt that since he got a few days off from parenting, she deserved some too – especially since she’s a stay-at-home mom. So I (somewhat reluctantly) agreed to let Mommy fly to Playa del Carmen, Mexico and leave me alone* with the kiddos for five days. Hilarity ensued.

*In the interest of full disclosure, I wasn’t completely alone. My parents finally sold my childhood home in Cincinnati and are renting a house two streets away while they build their dream retirement estate. Needless to say, they practically lived at our house for the long holiday weekend.

Thursday – I dropped the kids off at school and took Mommy B to the airport on my way to work. My parents picked the kids up from school and took them to their house until I got home. Normal dinner, bath and bed time followed. No big change, except that night I had to thaw the breastmilk, prepare all Aiden’s bottles and ensure their clothes were laid out and ready for our early morning.

Friday – I got the kids ready for school and dropped them off just like every other morning. Again my parents picked them up while I made my way home. And again, another normal nightly routine. Two days down, only three more to go – I could do this, right? Well, not so fast. I knew that these had been the “easy” days… and that for the next three days I was going to have to be on full-time Dad-E duty from the moment they woke up until the moment they went to bed. So with a feeling of impending doom that was about to become my next three days, I thawed more breastmilk, prepared Aiden’s bottles for the next day, then went to bed.

Saturday – Alli actually woke herself up a couple times during the night, which she rarely does. Each time, I went down to her room, gave her a drink of water and she went right back to sleep. Naturally, I was a little tired from a full week’s work and having interrupted sleep that night/morning. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but was worried that she was missing Mommy B already. 5:30am rolled around, and Aiden was up and ready for the day. I got up with him, gave him his morning bottle, and proceeded to please his every whim while his sister slept in. These days, all he wants to do is walk around with someone holding his hands. He can walk for days, but the kid has zero balance at the moment… which means bending over and walking him around the entire time. By the time Alli woke up around 6:30, my back was already hurting.

We spent the early morning playing, coloring and walking Aiden around the room. My parents came over around mid-morning and made some breakfast for us – even though Alli and I had already shared a bowl of cereal and Aiden had had breakfast of his own and gone back to bed for his morning nap. We noticed that Alli just wasn’t acting like herself as the morning went on, and I could tell something wasn’t right. She would burst into tears for no reason and kept putting her finger in her right ear. I finally asked her if her ear hurt, and she said yes. I knew it – time to call the doctor. Luckily I was able to get an appointment that morning (on the other side of town) to get Alli checked out. There was no way in hell I was going to make her suffer through this long weekend (and make us suffer too) without Mommy B if she was really sick. Better safe than sorry, right?

My parents were on Aiden duty while I plopped my baby girl in the car and jetted across town to get her checked out. It took the doctor about 2 seconds to look in her right ear and say “Oh yeah, it’s infected all right.” No crap doc, send the prescription in already. The doctor sent the script directly to our pharmacy of choice – gotta love the Internet. Don’t you hate it when you spend more time in the waiting room than in the exam room? It’s my belief that once you have a child, you should get a free prescription pad when you have the next one. Or better yet, you should just be able to set up a Penicillin tab at your local pharmacy. “Hey Bob, good to see ya. Yep, another ear infection. Yep, liquid Amoxicillin. Nope, for the girl this time. Just put it on my tab. See ya again in a couple months.”

Frustrations aside, I buckled Alli into the car and went back across town to pick up her Amoxicillin. It probably took us 25-30 minutes to check out of the doctor’s office, get buckled in, drive across town, get unbuckled and to the pharmacy counter – and the biotch behind the counter had the moxie to tell me it wasn’t ready yet. “Look lady, I know it’s a rough economy and you’re probably understaffed… but I have a sick child who wants nothing more than to run around the store at full speed and you’ve had more than enough time to pour a little liquid in a bottle and print the pre-formed label off the computer. Oh, and you need to make a copy of my insurance card too? Why sure, let me just get that out for you. While you’re back there making copies, can you page my daughter for me? She seems to have run off somewhere because you’re taking forever.” Ok, I didn’t say that to her – but I was thinking it the whole time. Alli was late for her nap as it was and we weren’t even home yet. We finally got out to the car and I wasn’t about to wait any longer. I buckled Alli in her seat and gave her the first dose right in the parking lot. Down the hatch Amoxicillin, you’ve got work to do.

We made it home and after a quick snack, I finally got Alli in bed for a late nap. Aiden had been doing well while I was gone, but once I got home he wanted nothing else than to be held by Dad-E. After a little coddling, I put him down for a nap as well. Time to relax, right? Wrong. I grabbed a quick sandwich and headed back upstairs to begin folding the two loads of laundry I had started that morning. Then I made the biggest mistake of the weekend. I poked my head in Alli’s room to find her fast asleep. But, I noticed she had kicked all her covers off – so I snuck in to toss them back on her so she’d be comfortable. Bad move, Dad. The second the blankets touched her, she woke up. I dashed out of the room and closed the door hoping she would doze back off, but it was a futile effort. She was up for good (insert sad face here)… and she wasn’t thrilled about it. So I brought her downstairs and we sat on the couch for the next hour or so while she shoveled freeze-dried strawberries into her mouth and watched her favorite Sesame Street characters do what they do best.

The rest of the afternoon/evening went much better. Even though she hadn’t napped much, I gave her a dose of children’s Advil to ease the pain and it seemed to be working. My parents came back over and hung out for a while and helped me get them both fed, bathed and off to bed around 7pm. After being on the clock since 5:30, I was ready for bed myself. After I fold the two loads of laundry, of course. Oh, and thawing more breastmilk and preparing Aiden’s bottles.

Sunday – Alli only woke up once during the night, and managed to sleep in until about 6:30 the next morning. Aiden, of course, had other plans. He was up at 5:40am ready and rarin’ to go. The morning routine was pretty similar – up with Aiden to give him his bottle, walk him around until Alli wakes up, share some cereal with them and continue playing until Aiden was ready for his morning nap. Again my parents came over around mid-morning and made a big breakfast for everyone. Alli was like a new person – we could tell that after two doses of medicine and a good night’s sleep she was on the road to recovery.

Now it was Aiden’s turn to be fussy. Did I mention that he’s getting both of his top teeth at the moment? Oh yeah, the poor kid was teething all weekend... no big deal. While Alli seemed to be (almost) back to normal, Aiden had snot pouring out of his nose (a common side effect of getting teeth) and just wanted to be held by Dad-E. And with the weather not really cooperating, we had no choice but to hunker down inside to keep the sick/hurting children out of the elements. My parents and I swapped turns walking Aiden around and tickling Alli on the couch. After Aiden woke up from his afternoon nap, my mom took him to the grocery store to get him (and her) out of the house for a little bit. Naturally, he was a hit with all the ladies there – batting his killer blue eyes and big eyelashes at everyone he sees. And who can resist that toothy smile?

By that evening, we were all getting a little stir crazy. Nonetheless, we managed to get the kids fed, bathed, and once again off to bed at a decent time. Thank goodness my parents were there to lend a hand getting them fed and off to bed, and making dinner for me when the kids finally went to sleep. It was nice to have them there to commiserate with over a home-cooked meal. After we shared a few stories and I thawed more breastmilk, it was upstairs to fold another load of laundry.

Monday – This was it, Mommy B was coming home tonight! I knew we could survive one more day, I just knew it! That morning was more of the same – Aiden waking up at 5:30am and going full steam ahead, and Alli waking up closer to 6:30 feeling a little better than the day before. My parents came over again and made us all breakfast while Aiden took his morning nap. Alli was basically back to 100% as far as we could tell, and since the weather had gotten a little better we decided to make a family grocery store run. My mom came with us and helped me push both of them around in a shopping cart that looked like a race car – complete with seat belts and two steering wheels. They had a blast and it really helped kill some time.

The weather had improved enough by that afternoon that we decided to take a stroller ride to the neighborhood park. With my mom and Scarlett the faithful Golden in tow, we embarked on yet another time-waster to get the kids out of the house. Alli had fun showing my mom how many times she can go down the slide and Aiden just wanted to be walked around the whole area. The sun started going down and it was getting chilly so we headed back towards the house – at which time Alli demanded that we go fast. I obliged (after making her ask nicely by saying “please”) and popped a wheelie while jogging down the street with them in the double stroller. They both seemed to really enjoy it, and I was glad to see that both of their moods had seemed to greatly improve since the beginning of the weekend.

Just as we began our nightly routine of getting the kids fed, bathed and off to bed, my mom had to leave to take my sister’s dog to the vet. My dad had also been volun-told to pick Mommy B up from the airport during that same window of time. Well crap – I was really on my own this time.  Everything was going to be all right, we were just going to power through and do the best I could. As luck would have it, the kids were actually pretty cooperative that evening and I was able to get them both handled without severely disturbing their nightly routines. Just as Aiden was getting ready to call it a night, my mom walked in and was able to put him down for me. I then proceeded to get Alli in bed and get a few things straightened up around the house.

Then, finally, Mommy B walked in the door… and I couldn’t have been happier to see her. That’s when I broke the news to her that not only was Aiden’s first top tooth about to break through (she knew what that had meant all weekend) and the second wasn’t far behind it, but Alli also had an ear infection. After all, I sure as hell wasn’t going to tell her all that while she was relaxing on the beach with a fruity drink in her hand – what kind of a husband would do something like that?

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