Four days ago, my wife left me alone with our son for the first time in our lives. He’s two, and apparently still can’t take care of himself. Also, he’s certifiably insane. And loud. And somehow always sticky. There was good reason to avoid leaving me in charge for so long, but she needed a vacation, and it was time. I pray she comes back. The following are my personal accounts of the weekend’s events, recorded in case one or both of us doesn’t survive.
5:10am – The cab arrives to pick up wife. She sneaks out of the house completely unnoticed. We’re alone. Marcus is sleeping, but there’s no way to tell how long that will last. He’s like a time bomb in a crib.
6:15am – Crying from upstairs. It begins. I enter slowly, putting on my happiest voice. He wants his mother – don’t we all – daddy will have to do…
6:25am – Breakfast was uneventful – soggy frozen waffles because he refuses to put them in the toaster, insisting instead on using the microwave, and he must be allowed to both put them in and take them out himself in order to avoid a meltdown.
6:38am – He’s wearing actual clothes, and by the grace of God, has not pooped himself; must get in the car to daycare before that changes!
2:47pm – Email alert arrives, notifying me that my son was caught “hitting a friend over the head with a yellow log.” Seems bad. Unclear on the significance of the log color. Sincerely hoping yellow indicates ‘Nerf’ and not ‘Brass’; either way, not looking forward to the conversation.
4:42pm – I arrive at daycare. He sees me and happily rushes over. The end of day teachers don’t appear to know about his incident, or if they do, none of them bring it up. I grab his Winnie the Pooh and make a mad dash for the door to avoid being talked to.
6:00pm – First meltdown of the weekend begins because I won’t let him eat dinner in front of the TV. Rather unphased by this one, as it happens every night. However, there is a follow-on freak-out because he wanted the MIDDLE applesauce cup in the unopened package instead of the outside cup. Resisting urge to strangle…
6:04pm – Settled and eating okay. Begged for banana, then completely ignored it. Honesty believe he just likes to see them thrown away.
6:21pm – Opened wine, but made peas to avoid eating delicious-looking chocolate bunny found in wife’s work bag.
6:38pm – Ate chocolate bunny; regret nothing.
6:05am – Marcus woke up asking for daddy; staring to feel loved. Called for mommy as soon as I picked him up.
6:11am – Mixing it up at breakfast with a nutrigrain bar. He crushed it to pieces and then toddled over to show me. We’re going to daycare hungry now.
6:35am – Dressed AGAIN! Dad’s 2-for-2. He runs to me and hugs my leg when I tell him it’s time to go, and I melt a little, until I notice that he’s smiling…little proud of this evil manipulation, but none the less, it’s time to leave.
6:55am – Walk into daycare, no teachers in his room or any other. Wander the halls for 5min, talking to him about the finger paintings on the walls before someone notices me and takes him off my hands. “Did you need someone to take him?” No, lady, I just like to wander through daycare centers in the mornings for creative construction paper ideas. Seriously, what am I paying you people for?!
4:45pm – No incident reports today, and another happy pickup.
4:48pm – Arrive outside at car, and offer Marcus a waffle. “No waffle – MUFFIN!” I ask if daddy can have the waffle – “NO! MUFFIN!” he yells, throwing the waffle on the floor of the back seat. Thanks a lot you little bastard – Daddy wasn’t hungry or anything. I hope your stupid muffin tastes like feet.
4:52pm –I ask what he did at school today; “Hit……Collin!” he replies. It does concern me a little that this is his most vivid memory of the day, but I saw no incident report, so he must’ve gotten away with it. He’s becoming increasingly clever.
5:21pm – Arrive home. Brush 90% of muffin off his jacket and pants. “Ready to go inside?” I ask. “Okay” he replies, before stopping on the step and wailing “NO INSIDE!” as neighbors stop to stare. I head inside, leaving the door cracked. Marcus follows a few seconds later, still wailing. “Daddy, bat?”; the wailing stops. “It’s outside”, “Okay” he says calmly. Resume wailing cry. Cue cartoons.
6:00pm – Dinner with friends. Marcus enamored with toy train circling seasonally inappropriate Christmas tree in living room. Cranks to 11, watches crash, trips and falls on it, popping an axle out. We have to leave.
8:30pm – Two days in the books, and I still haven’t had to change a dirty diaper. Think to myself that things are going well – forget to knock on wood.
6:00am – I hear him calling me from his room. Oh no, pal – not this early. Not on a Saturday. I lie silently still, like a leopard hunting wildebeests, pulling the covers up to my eyes, but to no avail. I walk into his room silently in the dark, and lay him down without a word. “Daddy, poop.” Reluctantly, I change him with the aid of a nightlight, still saying nothing. He is exceptionally unhappy to be put back to bed afterwards.
6:30am – Still standing up and wailing for his mother
6:35am – The yelling stopped! It’s a Christmas miracle! Joy wells up inside my chest as I roll back over for some much-needed rest.
6:43am – “Daddy?”; DAMMIT! The joy rushes out. There is only blackness in my heart now.
6:59am – Heading down stairs for breakfast. Either he’s already crapped himself again, or I did a terrible cleanup job earlier. Turns out to be the former. So that’s zero for two days and then 2 in 60 minutes. The day ahead looks grim.
7:08 – He’s pounded his waffle, and crawls up on the chair next to me to see that I have peanut butter toast. This sets off a firestorm of crying. I explain that toast is mine – little jerk is lucky I’m up at all at this God-awful weekend hour.
7:12am – I make him his own piece of toast. He refuses to eat it, but somehow still gets covered in peanut butter.
7:30am – Execute uneventful bath time – sing Halleluiah chorus in my head
9:00am – Arrive at Museum of Transportation to kill rainy morning. Three hours of “CHOO-CHOOOOO!!!”, “THAT ONE!”, and “Daddy – DADDY! TRAIN!”, but he’s happy.
11:47am – Hand him container of crackers/cheerios/cranberries for the ride home.
12:13pm – Dust bustered entire container of crackers/cheerios/cranberries out of car seat and floor mat
12:15pm – Popped open new unexpectedly spring-loaded Dust Buster prematurely
12:16pm – Dust Bustered entire container of crackers/cheerios/cranberries off garage floor
3:30pm – Marcus woke up happy from a good nap, and graced me with some well-earned sleepy cuddle time.
5:10pm – Dinner with neighbors. Marcus yells out the lyrics to “No more monkeys jumping on the bed”, while maniacally jumping on their couch. Clearly not getting the moral of this story. We have to leave.
7:57pm – Finally in bed after a four turd day. I lay in bed for two hours trying to muster the motivation to go on. Eventually just give up and go to sleep.
7:30am (Thanks to daylight savings) – He wakes up happy and says, “WAFFLE!”. I make him a waffle. “NO! WARM!” One tiny bite later, he’s done. “BANANA!” he says next. “Are you going to eat this one? Because you didn’t eat the last one and it was wasted.” “Yes.” That banana currently resides on the counter, again with one tiny bite taken off of it.
9:57am – He somehow manages to dump the third bottle of bubble stuff of the week down the front of his clothes, because he violently insists on holding it himself. I silently wonder if our washing machine will overflow in a hilarious and horrifying sitcom-like mountain of bubbles.
10:48am – It’s not even 11am even with the time change, and I already want to kill him. It’s going to be a big TV day.
11:32am – Squirming freak-out erupts at Home Depot after passing up the giant cart that looks like a race car. As a side note, whoever invented those unruly monstrosities should be killed. Had to pull the handle of every miter saw in the tool section to calm him down
12:00pm – Get a call that my wife’s flight is delayed an hour. Strongly consider finding a bar. Strap him to my back for a long walk instead. Much less satisfying.
1:27pm – He’s laying awake kicking and talking to himself after nearly half an hour in bed, and is in no danger of falling asleep. This does not bode well for our airport pickup schedule.
3:38pm – He wakes up just in time to get in the car to pick up his mother. He’s excited, but not as excited as me.
The solitude is over, and we have survived – if just barely. While I would not readily volunteer to do this again, it was nice to hear him ask for me, and to be on the receiving end of some of his hugs…I begin to miss the alone time a little, until 8:00pm, when we try to put him to bed, having not considered that we would be trying to put the child to bed an hour early according to his body clock. God help us all…