diary of a solo parent – week two



It got long. But still moderately hilarious. I’ll post a bunch of photos this week to keep your eyes from bleeding. Promise. And no, I don’t know why this weird white space is hanging above the post. Oh well.

Day 4, con.

Start drive to cabin. Child falls asleep hour before naptime. Thank lucky stars. Drive in blissful quiet for 1.5 hours. Child begins to rouse. Realize child needs to be changed and fed. Realize dog in car will complicate process. Start to curse lucky stars.

Locate rest stop. Wrangle beagle and toddler out of car. Nearly lose both. Snarl at fact that no one at busy rest stop offers to help pregnant woman with hands full of dog, toddler, keys, food for lunch, and diaper bag. Realize how frightening I seem; realize why no one has offered to help.

Feed and water child. Feed and water dog. Yell at both in process. Feel like rotten mother. Ask self what Anne Lamott would do. Decide to breathe deeply; ask God, child, and dog for forgiveness. Wonder if any of non-helpful rest stop patrons are calling social services. Finish lunch.

Return to car. Drive another hour. Hand child every possible item of interest in car. Child prefers to sing and yell. Feel sanity slowly slipping away. Hit construction traffic. Feel blood pressure rise. Lie to child every 5 minutes that only 10 minutes remain in trip. Begin to wonder if weekend was good idea.

Realize never fed self. Realize presence of dog necessitates drive-thru. Realize vegetarianism makes drive-thrus difficult, if not impossible. Try six different exits before desperation sets in. Remember that B.urger K.ing offers veggie burger. Swallow pride and utter disdain for fast food. Order veggie burger. Remember too late that fast food joints put mayo on burger. Gag on mayo. Eat veggie burger. Surprisingly ok. Still reaffirm stance against fast food.

Reach cabin. Barely. Nearly lose dog trying to put him in kennel. Curse dog and self for bringing dog. Begin to feel bad omens piling up. Unpack car. Collapse on couch.

Eat dinner with family. Put child to bed while others go fishing. Collapse on couch. Miss husband. Stay up too late.

Day 5:

Wake up before dawn. Wonder if it qualifies as waking up if you’re not sure you went to sleep. Silently curse giant pregnant belly and uncomfortable cabin bed. Silently curse squeaky crib with restless toddler in same room. Silently curse rain rumbling outside window. Silently curse self for thinking this was good idea.

Get up. Attempt to find caffeine. Ignore all remaining traces of advice to avoid caffeine during pregnancy. Thank God for British and tea. Hear child rousing. Rush in to get child before he wakes rest of extended family still sleeping in cabin. All in one cabin. Everyone in one cabin. Sigh.

Text husband in India for moral support. Ignore nagging thought of costs for international text. Husband responds with humor and love. Love husband. Try to love in-laws.

Feed child breakfast. Stare at lake; feel small sense of calm. Rest of family rouses. Small sense of calm evaporates.

Go to Mass with mother-in-law at favorite up-north parish with great pastor and wonderful music. Great pastor not presiding today; choir not present. Par for course. Child is active but delightful; wins many compliments. High point of weekend thus far. Thank God for child’s cuteness and endearing habit of yelling out key liturgical phrases including “pray!” and “Amen, God.” Wonder if people think I am religious fanatic for having under-2-year-old who follows along with Mass. Decide I don’t care.

Child overtired. Mother-in-law offers to ride in back and keep awake to ensure nap at cabin. Child kept awake; planned nap at cabin turns disastrous. Dark cloud officially settles over weekend.

Retreat to back room to attempt to nap; barking dog thwarts every closing of eyes. Curse dog, self, weekend, lack of sleep, anyone who crosses my path. Text husband re desire to leave immediately. Response suggests caution making decisions regarding driving given lack of sleep. Snarl to self but accept advice. Attempt to pray. Futile.

Admit defeat on nap. Recognize need to leave house. Take child to playground. Starts to sprinkle. Ignore sprinkles; take child to beach. Child terrified by waves. Sprinkles turn to rain. Admit defeat on outing. Drive home. Begin to cry in car. Realize low point has been hit. Really miss spouse.

Put child to bed. As disastrous as nap. Wish for pregnancy-free moment and bottle of hard liquor.

Decide to sit on porch with beagle instead. Beagle exhausted by battling two giant labs all weekend; immediately falls asleep on lap. Deer ticks all over beagle. Deer ticks all over self. Wet porch swing from rain. Still best moment of day. Forgive dog for everything.

Play card game with in-laws. Laugh a lot. High point of weekend #2. Admit weekend may not have been bad idea after all. Go to bed earlier. Enjoy actual sleep.

Day 6:

Wake up to thunder. Care not because crib squeaked less. Peek at child still sleeping on side in corner of crib. Think heart might actually explode with love for child. Miss husband who helped create said child. Decide to start day with tea to ward off tears.

Child rouses early again. Rush to get child before rest of house wakes. Still wavering as to whether all-staying-in-one-cabin is good idea. Try to feed child first breakfast quietly while someone sleeps on couch. Unsuccessful; child wants to sing throughout breakfast. Confirm that all-in-one-cabin equals terrible idea.

Family rouses. Second breakfast. Rain continues to pour. Child getting antsy. Decide to cut and run. Pack up bags, car, beagle in rain. Miss husband, chivalry. Announce need to leave so child can nap in car. Say goodbyes.

Begin drive. Hit wall of fog. Creep along while idiotic drivers whiz past. Pray for child to sleep. Child falls asleep. Hit wall of construction and holiday traffic. Creep along while baby and beagle snooze. Curse everything mentioned in previous post. Think it can’t get worse. Child and beagle rouse. It gets worse.

Thank God for arrival of rest stop. Repeat rest stop disaster of Day 4. Declare to heavens, powers that be, entire rest stop parking lot that I Will Never Do This Again And By This I Mean Travel Solo With Child And Dog Or Maybe I Mean Leave The House At All. Feed child. Water dog.

Realize that again have forgotten to pack lunch for self. Realize that again B.urger K.ing offers only vegetarian option. Begrudgingly offer mental thanks to BK management. Realize that husband will be stunned at double patronage of fast food in 48-hour period. Thought of shocked face almost makes fast food worth it.

Locate Bu.rger K.ing. Order veggie burger. Request no mayo. Discover mayo three bites into burger. Shrug. Inhale rest of burger.

Child’s intolerance of road trip reaches fever pitch. Last holiday traffic slow-down nearly drives mother, child and beagle off road. Multiple prayers for patience. Squeal into driveway; fall out of car. Into 85-degree humidity. Curse entire weekend one last time for good measure. Unpack car alone. Miss husband.

Desire to reclaim weekend translates into manic rearranging of child’s vast book collection. Move on to reorganization of cluttered bathroom. Marvel at what repressed frustration can do for one’s housekeeping. Child plays delightfully by self. Love child to bits.

Get surprise email from husband that he can Sk.ype. Day takes significant upward turn. Discover via Sky.pe that husband has gotten haircut. Drop jaw. Check window for pigs. Child tries to fist-bump husband’s picture on computer. Adorable.

Attempt to limit complaining about weekend to 5 minutes. Fail. Husband laughs in right places, offers gentle perspective in right places. Begrudgingly concede that perhaps self could have handled several situations with more Maturity and Grace. Laugh; miss husband. In good way. Real High Point of Weekend.

Reheat leftovers for dinner. Put child to bed. Eat large bowl of ice cream.

Repress desire to post one of 700 snarky Fa.cebook statuses (statii?) crafted in head during drive home. Post one anyway. Don’t feel much better. Blog about weekend. Feel somewhat better. Email girlfriends to kvetch about weekend. Feel significantly better.

Day 7:

Work. Play with child. Rejoice in being home. Rejoice in routine. Rejoice in lack of extended family living on top of each other.

Mother-in-law calls. Inquires about drive home; shares story of equally rotten drive. Feel somewhat better.

Mother-in-law declares that It Was A Pretty Crappy Weekend, Wasn’t It? Interpret this as reference to weather; begin to babble about rain; interrupted by mother-in-law’s elaboration that We Were All Living On Top Of Each Other And I Don’t Know About You But It Was Starting To Drive Me Nuts. Thank God for mother-in-law’s endearing frankness. Agree wholeheartedly.

Realize friends are coming over for playdate next morning. Realize little to no cleaning has occurred since husband’s departure. Consider canceling. Consider lameness of idea. Start vacuuming. Collapse on couch after vacuuming induces steady contractions. Thank God for husband who vacuums. Miss husband.

Day 8:

Wake up. Realize have not slept with phone in room since weekend. Celebrate small triumph over irrational imagination.

Plan to clean up house for playdate before child rouses. Discover small plumbing disaster. Sigh at lack of handy husband to help with fix. Try in vain to unclog toilet. Futile. Wonder what small toy has been throw into toilet by charming child. Try to remember Plan C blog post. Mostly futile.

Email husband in desperate plea for help. Ask the Goo.gle for advice. Learn 20 new tricks for unclogging toilet. Praise the Goo.gle. Husband responds too late, but with concern. Quick Sky.pe with husband. Husband inquires as to whether email has been checked. Check email. Read email from husband to office requesting change of airline ticket.

To come home early.

Nearly fall off chair at unprecedented turn of events. Yelp with excitement. Terrify toddler while husband laughs on Sky.pe. Console toddler that mother’s yell signaled positive turn of events. Toddler gives blank look, leaves to pull dog’s tail. Continue yelling with excitement at Sky.pe.

Realize playdate starts in 30 minutes and child must be fed. Regretfully end Sky.pe chat but realize husband will be home in three days. Disbelief at good luck. Brief glance outside to check for flying pigs. And/or other shoe to drop.

Friends arrive for playdate. Lovely morning together. Toddler shares toys moderately well with friends. Eyes mother suspiciously when she holds friend’s infant. Preview of coming attractions.

Put child down for nap. Enjoy quiet house. Enjoy long lunch. Enjoy leisurely read of newspaper.

Unborn child begins to kick. Realize that days of quiet house, long lunch, leisurely reading are numbered. Stricken by near-panic attack that decision to have second child was misguided invitation of chaos into finally-achieved calm of current life. Child’s incessant kick interrupts self-absorbed panic attack. Laugh at self. Realize arrival of second child will indeed bring chaos, but calm is rare and overrated anyway. Go to work.

Day 9:

Wake up at 4:43 am. Despite lack of evidence, conclude it must be serial killer and/or burglar. Wonder why beagle has not budged to attack intruder. Devise elaborate plan for barricading self and child in child’s room to protect from intruder. Debate merits of including beagle as well.

Wake up at 6:26 am to beagle’s incessant whining. Close eyes to convince beagle of need for sleep. Unconvinced. Rouse, take beagle out; beagle merely sniffs. Annoyance level at all-time high. Eliminate beagle from all future plans to avoid intruders.

Miss husband who takes out dog in morning. Remember that husband is coming home tomorrow. Let out elated whoop in yard. Remember that it is 6:30 am. Remember that neighbor kids spent yesterday afternoon practicing swear words at high volumes while jumping on trampoline. Cease thoughts of concern for rousing neighbors at 6:30 am.

Child wakes. Babysitter due to arrive in 25 minutes. Mad dash to change, dress, feed child before sitter arrives. Look up from mad dash in kitchen to realize child has fed self entire bowl of cereal without cajoling, coaxing, or cries of SPOON ON HEAD! Let out elated whoop of joy and gratitude. Frighten toddler. Calm with bribe of blueberries.

Babysitter arrives. Skip off to work with happy thoughts of child who uses silverware and spouse who cuts hair and comes home early. Thank God. Decide life is good.

Read outside in afternoon sun. No clouds in sky. No swearing kids on trampoline next door. Thank God for work-from-home on days like this. Affirm life is good.

Take child on long sunny walk after work. Feel fantastic. Realize have not thrown up from morning sickness in four whole weeks. Kick up heels to celebrate. Realize kicking up heels in flip flops on long walk induces instant contractions. Laugh at God’s sense of humor. Ponder God’s feminine side, given vomituous months of morning sickness followed by near-constant contractions. Leave theological conundrum unresolved; opt for ice cream post-walk instead.

Realize last night without husband at home. Celebrate with dinner of lentil-quinoa concoction that husband would abhor. Celebrate with ridiculously bubbly bath for child. Celebrate by deconstructing mound of pillows in bed that have replaced husband. Sleep well. No phone in room.

Day 10:

Wake up too early. Muggy day, whining beagle, dirty kitchen to clean before arrival of babysitter, stacks of work to finish before weekend. Bothered by none of the above; favorite person in world coming back to home continent. Giddiness sets in, exacerbated by too much caffeine.

Work at break-neck pace. Eagerly await email updates from husband. Receive update from layover in Paris. Beset by intense jealousy that husband is in favorite place in world. Even if only in airport. Even if only for 4 hours. Request sweets, reading material, anything French.

Continue to work to pass time. Work straight through babysitter’s departure and child’s nap. Child takes longer-than-normal nap. Marvel at good luck. Wonder if months of miserable pregnancy have finally earned self share of good karma. Decide terrible theology. Still wonder.

Child wakes. Bound upstairs to tell child father is en route. News greeted by giant grin, litany of BABBO BABBO BABBO. Love child to pieces.

Feed child snack. Forget to feed self and unborn child snack in excitement of pending arrival. Begin to feel nauseous. Decide never again to jinx self by celebrating number of weeks sans morning sickness. Decide belief in jinxing equally poor theology. Lay down on couch instead.

Doorbell rings. BABBO BABBO BABBO! Beagle and child at fever pitch. Spouse arrives! Arms full of goodies from India, Amsterdam AND France. Kiss spouse. Hug spouse. Barreled over by beagle and child for access to spouse. Love life, love God, love everything.

Immediately tear into macaroons from fancy French tea shop. Tear into bag of Masala Munch, Indian equivalent of Chee.tos. Feel significantly better. Due to spouse’s return and not bizarro blending of international snacks.

While tearing into stack of Frenchie magazines brought home by spouse, begin Doing That Thing Where I Talk His Ear Off And Barely Let Him Get A Word In Edgewise, Let Alone Take Into Account That He Is Clearly Jet-Lagged. Decide I don’t care. Favorite person in the world is home. Latest solo parenting stint is over. All responsible charges, including self, survived.

Remember God is good. All the time, God is good.

4 thoughts on “diary of a solo parent – week two

  1. Oh my goodness, this was hysterical and I don’t mean that in a bad way. Rather, I can totally see this happening to me or my husband next year after the birth of our baby and it is a good warning to set our expectations low! It would be a bit flipped maybe, as I am the one who travels internationally for work and although I am hoping that is minimal for the foreseeable future, we shall see. And yes, I can sympathize with your husband as well, I have been on work trips to India and If I had the chance to change my plane ticket and come home earlier, I definitely would have!!! My last trip in October 2010 was just 10 days, and as nice as the Indians are and the accommodations are nice, I just wanted to be home and was so terribly homesick.

  2. Thanks, Lauren. 🙂 You’re the best.

    Marie, low expectations are indeed the name of the game! I am still learning to lower them even further, lol. I used to think that jobs with international travel were so glamorous. But now I see how disruptive they are to daily/family life, too. I try to remember that they are wonderful opportunities for my husband when I am gritting my teeth about how hard it is to “hold down the fort” while he’s away. But I can admit that these times do help us each to grow in different ways, to learn what we’re capable of. And those frequent flyer miles are a nice side perk!

  3. This is a completely fantastic post….I love especially love the curses (something at which I also excel). But mostly I am so happy to hear of these episodes from your life in which it is so evident what an authentic, loving and good-humored mother you are! Your favorite person and your child are so blessed…….I hope they know it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *