Tiffany took Business Trip #2 yesterday - she just called from IAH and should be home soon - so I got to spend some more time as Single Dad. As with the first time, I got a lot of help from my in-laws, who came over last night for dinner and baby assistance. Unlike last time, I did the morning daycare dropoff/go to work thing, then the daycare pickup/dinner and bedtime thing by myself today.
All in all, things went well. I was worried about the timing of the morning routine last time, but Olivia solved that problem for me by waking up at 4:30 and taking a good 40 minutes to drink three ounces of milk. By the time she finished and drifted back off to sleep, my alarm was sounding. Which was fine, actually, as this meant I could shower, dress, eat breakfast, walk the dog, and load everything into the car without having to worry about her. She woke up after another hour or so and we got to daycare at about the usual time.
She was a little fussy this evening, as she's getting over a fever from the weekend, which in traditional fashion, she shared with Tiffany. Integrating a baby into public life is like hooking up an unsecured Windows PC to the Internet. The speed and frequency with which they get infected by something is just amazing. When Olivia is under the weather, she's needier than usual, which mostly means she wants to be held all the time. Past experience with that has taught me many things, mostly how to do stuff one-handed. Here's a partial list of things I can do with a baby in one arm:
- Move laundry from washer to dryer
- Move dishes from dishwasher to cabinets
- Pet the dog - Olivia's not the only one who can be needy, and Harry always wants in on the affection action
- Read the newspaper, which is more challenging than you might think, since Olivia is fascinated by all things paper
- Operate the TiVo, which as above is more challenging than you might think
- And of course, blog (not at this moment, as she's now asleep for the night)
In chatting with my in-laws today, both of them expressed wonder about how single parents do it every day. For the most part, they try to do what any sane person in a multiple-parent household would do, which is establish and stick to a routine, plan things out in advance, think of every possible contingency, and hope like hell the kid cooperates. Of course, being by yourself means there's no backup, no net beneath you, and most of all, no relief. You're on all the time, and that's enough to make anyone wig out. My "single dad" experience has come with a ton of help, almost enough to require quotes around the expression every time I use it. I had a lot of respect for everyone who does it for real before now, and I have a lot more now.
Since we're talking how-do-they-do-thats, I'll fess up and admit that like Kevin, I've found the Nanny Rescue shows oddly compelling - we've also watched a little SuperNanny on ABC. I second what Kevin says about this being fairly practical parenting information for people who have probably never cracked a book on the subject. I say these shows are performing a public service, and I'd invite you to give them a look before you turn up your nose. I'd also submit that the pre-intervention footage would serve pretty well on its own as abstinence education for high schoolers.
No more business trips for Tiffany until May. Tune in at that time for Single Fatherhood III: Beyond Thunderdome.Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 16, 2005 to See, I do have a life! | TrackBack