Monday, January 30, 2012

Mr Mom

Over the weekend Amelia abandoned me for the working world, as she taught two extra SAT sessions in addition to her usual Sunday morning class. Including shower and beautification time, it basically amounted to most of Saturday and Sunday. For good measure, Amelia went out to tutor tonight after I got home from work. Not to worry, Mr. Mom was up to the task. So now that Jack and Lilly are tucked soundly in their beds, and the dishes are drying and the laundry is folded, I thought I'd share a few highlights of my unassisted parenting time over the past 72 hours.

1. The Kitchen - If you were looking for me this weekend, odds are I was in Lilly's kitchen doing some 'baking.' We had an amazing time whisking everything from sugar and eggs to pasta and onions. Pretty much anything can be whisked if you ask Lilly. And once it's perfectly nice and fluffy, it can be spread with a spatula on some cookies and put in the oven for approximately 5 seconds before it's ready to be taken out and force fed to me or Jack. I learned something new, too. If you're a boy, don't try to use Lilly's pink spatula. Boys can only use the blue spatula. Attempting to deviate from that rule will earn you a stiff lecture every time. I love that Lilly loves her kitchen, and it's infinitely fun to be a guest chef and watch her develop a creative, if not outright bizarre, culinary aptitude. After a particularly interesting dish of orange juice, carrot and tuna stew had just been set to cook on her stove I cleverly tried to ask her if she was so happy Santa had brought her this amazing kitchen, to which she quickly replied without breaking her stare at the pot, "No Dad, Edward got me this kitchen." And so to that I say, Edward, you still owe us half the bill.

2. Tag Team - I'm not sure if Jack and Lilly planned it ahead of time, but somehow, whenever Jack was asleep Lilly was awake. And as soon as I'd get Lilly down for her nap, Jack knew to signal he was ready for action. I thought maybe it was just bad timing on Saturday, but by Sunday afternoon I was convinced it was collusive. It's not that it's impossible to have at least one of them awake at all times, in fact, I kind of prefer it to a quiet house, but suddenly all the little personal routines of life became a bit trickier and required advanced planning. I only went to the bathroom while it was my turn to hide in Hide and Go Seek. I stole a few fleeting seconds to read some Super Bowl analysis on while putting on Lilly's Disney playlist before I was called back to my kitchen duties. And that shower I had been hoping to work into the schedule? Moved to Monday.

3. Meal Time - I didn't know Jack had such a precise internal clock to determine feeding time. When that alarm went off, he sure let me know it. One minute - smiling, happy, rational baby. The next, irrational, sulking boy demanding milk that for some damn reason just would not heat up fast enough until, unbelievable!!! it was too hot and now had to cool! It was finally drinkable, but had the bottle company considered how annoying it might be to install their fancy air flow optimizer into the bottle with a squirming baby in your arms? And how was it that this was the moment Lilly was ready for me to make her english muffin pizzas?

4. Bed Time - The only thing more frenzied than feeding time was bed time. Jack somehow knew I was vulnerable because I needed to focus on reading to Lilly, brushing her teeth and getting her into the sheets. The thumb in his mouth that he had mastered he suddenly could no longer find. This presented Lilly with the perfect opportunity to break my concentration on Quiet Bunny, Noisy Puppy to let me know Jack was crying, as if I was oblivious to it. So I took a quick break to calm Jack down and even managed to get him to close his eyes for a bit. I took Lilly to the bathroom one last time. She didn't have to go. We sang a few songs and, as I was leaving, she suddenly had to go to the bathroom. I told her no, she had her chance. She announced, 'I'll pee in my bed." Not really a threat so much as a fact. If I took her to the bathroom, I'd lose. If I didn't take her and she wet the bed, I'd lose. Suddenly I realized who had really been in charge all weekend.

It's quite a task to stay on top of a nearly three year old and a three month old for all their entertainment needs, bodily functions and questions, questions and more questions for an extended period of time. I explored the limits of my creativity, patience and ability to multi-task. But mostly I just had a ton of fun and was reminded of all the hard work and effort that goes into raising kids every day. I have nothing but absolute respect for Amelia and for the fantastic way in which she's raising our children while I am at work. It is not easy. And I have a renewed appreciation for all mothers and fathers who take the time to be a parent and just enjoy being with their kids. And I will appreciate all this even more at the office tomorrow as I get to sit for more than five minutes at my desk, go to the bathroom uninterrupted by visitors, and maybe even read a little

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