Monday, July 27, 2009

Single Parenthood Part II

Well, it is getting harder. Working full time and taking care of the kids and dealing with all the other dramas daily life brings is starting to take its toll. I can definitely do it, but I find myself staring off in to space a bit more often. I need to get a better routine down for the kids. I hope to hell they eat fruit at the babysitters because I am having a hard time on that front.

This morning was a particular downer. The kids were in a fine mood, though Amalia has become a tad more whiny than she was the first week (she is sick so I will let it slide). In fact, all three kids were on medicine last week. Anyway, this morning I was dreading all the things I had to try and do today while getting the kids fed and dressed. Elliot threw a tantrum over something or other, his brother didn't help things and Amalia was being one and throwing her food everywhere. But it was in the car where Isaac, age 5, took psychological warfare to the next level on his dad. He must have sensed blood.

Out of nowhere he says:

"Dad, how old was your daddy when he died?"


"Why didn't he live to be 100? (I somehow let slip that most people live to 100 to stop Isaac from worrying about dying. What do you tell a five-year-old about dying? That wasn't in the manual. Not one of my finer parenting moves.)

"He got sick, sweetie."

"Did you cry when your daddy died?" (You little, bugger. Why are you doing this?)

"Yes, I cried when my daddy died." (Now avoiding eye contact by looking out my window.)

"How old were you when your daddy died?"


"How about me?"

"You weren't born, yet, sweetie." (In fact, Michaela was about six months pregnant with Isaac (our first) when my dad passed away.)

Short pause, and then Isaac goes in for the kill.

"It's sad your dad didn't get to see me." (Easily the absolute biggest disappointment of my life thus far -- granted, I've had it pretty good.)

"Yeah, he would have liked you guys a lot."

"Maybe when I am older I can be a daddy."

"You would be an excellent daddy." (And I hope your kids do to you exactly what you do to me -- good and bad)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Single Parenthood

No Michaela hasn't left me, yet. She has gone to London for 10 weeks to study as part of a new business venture and I will be taking care of the three kids. I will post some of the experiences the kids and I share, and maybe someone can benefit from the mistakes of a sometimes-ignorant-but-hopefully-not-dangerously-so father.

Disclaimer: Two days before Michaela was set to leave, a friend from high school posted to facebook that her husband was about to deploy for another six months (presumably to Iraq or Afghanistan). If I sound like I feel sorry for myself in any of my posts, it is not my intent and I really don't. I am fully cognizant of the fact that a 10-week-tour to London in no way compares.

First off, the kids are Isaac 5, Elliot 3 and Amalia 14 months. Isaac can read some, swim, dress himself and as he proved to me this morning, get everyone's breakfast ready. This is in addition to his previously mentioned technical prowess with regards to DVD players and PSPs.

Elliot can read his name, dress himself (a little better than Isaac at times) and thinks he knows how to swim. In fact, he can swim, but only as far as he can get on one breath. He hasn't figured out how to get his head above the water to breathe. This is a huge problem at the pool because he will just jump in with no fear and I need to jump in to save him. Annoying.

Amalia can walk and climb and loves to jump in the swimming pool as well. She can say some words and can be pretty clear through grunting and pointing about what she wants. She also takes no crap from her brothers.

The Departure

We decided to drop Michaela off at the domestic airport and she would take the bus to the international airport -- the idea being that would give her some time to calm down before boarding the airplane. Fat chance.
The goodbye got off to an awkward start as I had parked in the bus lane and when the driver pulled in, he interrupted our emotional farewell by laying on his horn. Anyway, once back in the car, boys were crying and I had a headache -- a nightmare for me since I get about three headaches a year. We decided to head to the club for an ice cream. The ice cream turned into the boys playing Lego Star Wars on the club Wii and our first day was nearly in the books.

The First Night

I decided to let the boys sleep in my bed. Amalia had fallen asleep in the car (which started a nice run of kids falling asleep in the car at night) and I made the transfer to cot very professionally. It is not as easy at it sounds at our house. When I pull in to the driveway, I need to immediately start trying to mitigate the sound of our eight dogs barking and yelping like there is no tomorrow. Amalia missed out on the gene that lets the two older children sleep through the barking. A mixture of Tom Petty on the stereo and a quick exit from the vehicle and "shushing" of the dogs did the trick.

After I got the boys in bed (after brushing their teeth -- they had to remind me), I was feeling quite proud of myself. Then I looked into the bedroom and Isaac was crying but not making any sound. He had found a little baby toy that played "You are my Sunshine," and said the part -- "you'll never know dear, how much I love you" reminded him of his mommy. Of course, Michaela read my facebook post about this in the airport in Kuala Lumpur during her changeover just as she was calming down. Oh well.

Moving Forward

Amalia has been great so far. She literally does not cry unless she needs something or is pointing out something I have forgotten. The way I plan on managing the three of them moving on is to go slow and give us plenty of time to get places and do things. When we rush I tend to lose my patience as a father. Another thing I am going to try not to do is tell them they have to be better for me because Michaela is not here. I am well versed in the way of the guilt trip and am trying hard not to become a practitioner.

There will be posts coming more often. We had a cracking time at the zoo on Saturday where the kids got to play with a police officer's handgun. Great fun.