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.
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.
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.