Betty went to Houston last week for a bachelorette party for one of our good friends, leaving me home alone with the kids. It was my first time alone with both kids for an entire day, much less two days.
And I rocked as a single parent! Who knew that I was Super Dad?
For starters, I told the kids that they could do whatever they wanted and that the only reason why they couldn't normally eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch, dinner and all seven snack times was because Mommy wouldn't let them. I let them - no, I made them - watch TV all day and stay up until midnight. During the day I made them run around and play with every toy until they were exhausted, at which point I made them run around some more. They slept very soundly, let's put it that way.
Well, I would have done all of that had my 3 year-old daughter let me. But she knows better. Annie might only be 29 pounds of hair and sass, but she was definitely in charge over the weekend.
For starters, she usually watches two TV shows (Curious George and Little Einsteins) in the morning and then goes to play with her toys. So after two shows she let me know that it was time to turn the TV off. That was good, I said, since that's what was on Mommy's list. (Did I mention that Betty left me a schedule that I followed to a tee? She has this house basically on auto-pilot. She's amazing!)
Next it was time to go outside. Annie didn't like the clothes I picked out for Peter so she went into his room and got something else. After I changed him, we played for a while outside while Annie instructed me when to push her on the swing and when to take care of my son, Peter.
Then it was inside for lunch. "First we have to wash our hands," Annie told me. I nodded, then passed the word onto Peter. "Better wash your hands, little dude. You don't want to get in trouble," I told him. "She runs a tight ship."
I made peanut butter sandwiches for Anne and diligently cut them into heart shapes, using a heart-shape cookie cutter that Betty bought. Anne likes that. Maybe she likes it too much. "One side is bigger than the other," she said, pointing out the obvious discrepancy where I ran out of bread while cutting the sandwich into a heart. "I won't eat it. Make me another."
Yes m'am! Sheesh!
I found some green bean thingies in a bowl in the fridge, so I heated them up to be her vegetable. Then I told her to "eat her green beans" to which she replied, "Those are not green beans, those are mah-may." I looked at them and realized she was right - they were edamame. I had given her two proteins (peanut butter and edamame) instead of one protein and one vegetable. I was in danger of straying from Mommy's list!
We played for a little while later until Annie told me that she was tired and was going to take a nap. But first she told me that she was going potty and then told me how many M & M's she was going to get for going potty like a big girl. Anne is potty-trained, and will basically do anything for treats. She's like a dog that's been to obedience school - won't do anything unless there's a treat for her involved in it. But she's so cute (and is really a great little girl) that we can't help but to give her her "Yem Yems" as she calls them.
Peter napped, Annie napped, and sweet little Daddy napped. Oh, it was so nice to nap! Peter hadn't taken his morning nap and so was extra cranky all morning, but was a little better after his afternoon nap. It was tiring (but fun!) taking care of the kids, but it was mentally exhausting taking care of a cranky little boy all morning.
We ate a picnic dinner outside consisting of frozen chicken nuggets, fruit and whatever green thing I could find in the fridge. I found some sliced honeydew melon and decided that since it was green that it also counted as a vegetable. Annie didn't fuss at me, so I figured it was OK.
We skipped baths on Saturday night, read books and went to bed. Daddy went to bed several hours early. I kept in constant contact with Betty during the day, and even though she was out getting really drunk with her friends at the bachelorette party, she was apparently still sober enough to know that she shouldn't take a picture of her making out with one of her female friends and then sending the picture to me, despite how often I urged her to do so.
I woke up Sunday and realized that I had gone a full day of parenting my own children without anyone else's assistance - no wife (except for the schedule she had left me, plus all the food she had bought to stock up the pantry for the weekend), no parents (except for the food they had left us in the fridge), and no neighbors. Just me.
It only took me three years to parent my own children for the entire day. Let's hope I don't have to do it again for another three years.
Joking! I loved every minute of it. My kids are so awesome, and we had so much fun together, that I want to do it more often. I realize more than ever how much Betty sacrifices her own time and energy for our family. Nobody's better at taking care of us than she is, but I need to give her a break more often. I didn't even multi-task during the day - I only washed one load of clothes and did one set of dishes over the course of two days. Betty's done all that plus cleaned the entire house and paid all the bills in the time it's taken for me to write this blog post.
So I want to thank Betty for her selfless act of being a mom. You don't get enough credit for what you do. I love you so much.
Thanks, Annie, for keeping me in line while Mommy was gone. You'll make a great mom one day. You'll also be a great CEO of a Fortune 100 company one day, probably in the near future.
Thanks, Peter, for being so happy all weekend (except for a few hours when you didn't get your nap). You were a blast!
Thanks to my parents and Betty's parents for letting me do this all by myself. Even after 31 years, they're still parenting. And sometimes being a parent means letting your kids figure things out for themselves.
Spending time with the kids was so much fun. And now that Mommy's back home, I get to be one of the kids again. Hurray for Daddy!
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