October 5, 2010

Solo, The Aftermath

I hope you won't think me immodest but I made solo parenting my bitch. Three days and I totally rocked this dad thing.

Okay, okay...I know it wasn't bringing peace to the Middle East, drying out Lindsay Lohan or finding an alternative to fossil fuels but, hey, it was still pretty damn important and impressive.

I'll admit, going into the weekend I was ever-so-slightly nervous. Terrified might be a slightly more accurate term. Since we've had kids, Beth's never been away. I haven't had to fend for myself (and the kids) for more than a few hours here and there. It was about damn time I tried. When she walked out the door early Friday morning, the kids not yet awake, I sat on the couch, tried to lay out some strategery for the weekend. Then I said fuck it, let's just have fun. And we did.

We watched movies - the new Tinkerbell is awesome, the seventies version of Charlotte's Web is just how I remembered it, and Star Wars was a huge hit and my fears of them being scared by it were totally unfounded. We took advantage of the great weather, riding bikes a lot. Mia developed several new games, the most impressive of which was Cycle-Ball, in which the three of us rode around in a small circle in the garage and tried to throw a small ball to each other (think roller-derby with toddlers and bikes) but that ended when one participant ran head-on into a trash can (no injuries). We hit playgrounds, Mexican restaurants, ice cream stores and my parents' house. We had performances, walks, long reading sessions, and colored like there was no tomorrow. We talked about Dick (my uncle, not the more generic, less appropriate term) and drew pictures of him. Owen learned how to say dammit and then, luckily, quickly forgot the term.

I think Mia was slightly surprised that I enforced actual rules in Beth's absence. On Saturday she told me, "Dad, I miss mommy. Not having her around isn't as much fun as I expected it to be." By Sunday she'd changed her tune, wanting Beth to stay in Puerto Rico an extra day or two.

By the time midnight on Sunday rolled around and Beth walked through the door, the kids were peacefully asleep, the house was immaculate, the dishes clean, Mia's lunch for Monday packed, the laundry done, beds made, and floors slept.

I learned a couple valuable lessons out of all this:

- I have no idea how you single parents do it. Parenting is hard enough as a team.
- Never underestimate the entertainment power of an iPhone.
- Reading horror novels when you're the only adult in the house is unnerving.
- My love of bad sci-fi movies remains intact.
- You can combine the choruses of The Killer's All These Things That I've Done and The Beach Boy's Kokomo to make an oddly compelling earworm.
- My kids are at times challenging but insanely awesome and made this whole experience easy on me. Mostly.

Posted by Chris at October 5, 2010 7:00 AM

Michael is dying to see Star Wars and I won't let him and he tells me is the only "5 year old on the planet that has not seen Star Wars." Maybe he is right.

Posted by: jodifur at October 5, 2010 8:02 AM

Nicely done man. One thing I just thought of that with your combination of tech toys and web access you should be able to pull off is creating radio dramas. We used to do that as kids with a tape recorder; we listened to a few on long trips to get a feel for the mood / style, and then had at it. I think Mia would have a ball with her imagination!

Posted by: metawizard at October 5, 2010 8:45 AM

I must say, I knew you could do it, all along!

Sounds like a great time was had by all. How was Beth's trip? Did she come back tanned and awesome, or hungover and exhausted? ;)

Posted by: Maribeth at October 5, 2010 9:13 AM

Just to put in my two cents regarding roller derby, and not to upset you, but throwing of balls is not involved nor are bicycles (or motorcycles for that fact which many people think)in roller derby. Only quad roller skates! Sorry to burst your bubble!! LOL

Posted by: Michelle at October 5, 2010 9:32 AM

Sounds like a wonderful weekend!!

Posted by: Kris at October 5, 2010 9:51 AM

Congrats! Sounds great. Good job on having everything spotless for Beth when she got home. I like doing that too.

Posted by: Brad at October 5, 2010 11:18 AM

You did it!!!!

Posted by: k8 at October 5, 2010 11:19 AM

Oh! How I miss reading horror novels! I am a single parent and sometimes I can't resist temptation and I read these books. And then I wish I had a man to roll over too. *Sigh. Glad your solo parenting thing rocked.

Posted by: Stephanie at October 5, 2010 11:19 AM

First - condolences to your loss. I didnt' get a chance to comment on yesterday's post, but my thoughts are with your family.

Secondly - WAY TO MAKE SOLO PARENTING YOUR BITCH! It ain't easy. I did a three week stretch one time while my husband was away for training, and the only thing that saved us was my newly created tradition of taking the girls out for donuts on Friday morning if they would just "PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE GO TO SLEEP WHEN YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO". That tradition has stuck around, even after dad came home.

(Also, there are some great Dr Seuss story apps for the iPhone that I love - they're great)

Posted by: sarah at October 5, 2010 11:54 AM

First, sorry to hear about the death of your uncle...
Second, congrats on getting through your three days! My daughters are older (8 and 6), but since splitting from their father in May, this solo parenting thing has been the hardest to deal with... It IS tough work, and sometimes pretty thankless, but I'm still fighting the shared custody thing with all my force because I just can't imagine it any other way now...
Oh and yeah, reading scary books is a pretty dangerous occupation when you're the only adult - I read a lot of thrillers, but have to have my cat beside me otherwise I freak out!

Posted by: Kirsty at October 5, 2010 1:07 PM

De-lurking to see if you have had the chance to listen to the new Brandon Flowers CD and if so, what are your thoughts. I for one find it utterly beautiful. Totally pulled that one out of thin air due to your Killers reference.

Posted by: Doreen at October 5, 2010 2:51 PM

Hooray! You did it. I knew you'd be fine. And I love your typo saying "floors slept" -- how did you get the floors to sleep? ;-)

And YES, I agree about reading horror novels (or watching scary movies, for that matter) when you're the only adult in the house. Freaky, isn't it?

Posted by: Sandy at October 5, 2010 3:59 PM

So ... now I'm left wondering how I could get a game of Cycle-Ball going. It sounds awesome.

Posted by: Fraulein N at October 5, 2010 4:53 PM

Rock on you. ;)

Sometimes solo is nice cause you are the boss, make all the decisions. Of course, I only have one to account for, too.

And you are right. It's usually for a few days at a time. Props to the people who do it every day.

Posted by: Aimee Greeblemonkey at October 5, 2010 6:05 PM

Giggling over the horror novel comment -- ANYONE in the house helps more than being by oneself.

As for the single parenting thing, it's pretty much terrifying. I forgive pretty much every screw my mom had loose until I was 9 and dad adopted me.

Posted by: alektra at October 6, 2010 1:18 AM

When you are in not good state and have no money to go out from that, you will need to take the mortgage loans. Because that will help you emphatically. I take short term loan every time I need and feel fine just because of this.

Posted by: JamieMartinez33 at June 4, 2011 11:11 AM