As most of you know, Mommy Doin’ Work (MDW) spent the past weekend partying it up in Vegas with her girlfriends. In doing so, that left me on solo daddy duty. I gotta say that I’ve learned a lot about myself and the parenting gig over the past few days, and I want to share those with you now.
Before I get into this, let me make something perfectly clear:
I am not a pussy.
Editor’s Note: MDW would say that only pussies protest about not being pussies, but that’s a debate for another day.
However, this weekend was really, really tough. So tough that I respect single parents a hell of a lot more than I already did (and that’s saying a lot because I already respect them tremendously). Now let me make something else perfectly clear: I would never disrespect single parents by saying that I know what’s it’s like to be one after spending 72 hours alone with my kid. That’s like professional athletes who say “I’m going to war with my soldiers tonight” before a game, when the closest thing to war they’ve seen is Call of Duty on their PlayStations. Those idiots have no clue what real war is all about and I have no clue what it’s really like to be a single parent based on this experience. The only thing I know for sure is that I’m not cut out for it.
That said, here’s what I noticed this past weekend:
I didn’t eat one warm meal: With MDW around, this was easy. One of us would eat while the other one ensured that Daughter Doin’ Work didn’t destroy our condo or herself, and then we’d trade places. Without MDW around…well, eating became borderline impossible. Question for the parents (especially parents with toddlers) – why is it that your kid will attempt to do something ridiculously dangerous as soon as you sit down to eat or relax? Headbutting our balcony door repeatedly, trying to drink toilet water, or pretending she’s LoLo Jones by attempting to hurdle the coffee table are just a few examples. Either way, warm food was not on the agenda.
Little things pissed me off: I also noticed that my fuse was shorter than usual with strangers. For example, on Saturday I took my little DDW to the Aquarium. We parked on the third level which meant we had to take the elevator to the ground floor. I had the BOB stroller (it’s not small), her diaper bag, my camera, and a bag of extras (snacks, sun screen, water, etc). Now here’s the thing: There were a lot of people waiting for the elevator because they had strollers as well. That’s fine – but my issue is with the young, able-bodied, lazy idiots with no kids who made the elevator line longer. After waiting 15 minutes for our turn, one of those young, able-bodied, lazy idiots had the nerve to say, “I don’t think you can fit your stroller in here with us.” I glared at him and said, “Look buddy – I’m going to fit my stroller in this elevator, so you can either walk your chubby little self down 20 stairs like the other non-parents, or you can show us your Gumby impersonation – you choose.” He ended up mumbling something under his breath waddled down the stairs while the other parents high-fived me.
Parents, am I alone here on the elevator thing? Does that piss you off or is it just me? I’ve been a dad for 17.5 months now, and I don’t know why it bugged me more on Saturday than ever before.
Editor’s Note: This is a little off-topic, but I realized something else that pissed me off over the weekend. I can’t stand it when people say, “Morning” instead of “Good Morning.” Yes, I should be happy that they’re polite enough to say something in the first place – but why not just add “good” in front of it? Otherwise it just sounds like you’re telling me what time of day it is. I want to say, “No shit, it’s morning! I have a watch and I can tell that the sun is not directly above me. You don’t hear me saying ‘Piss’ when it’s time for me to use the bathroom, do you? Enough with the ‘morning’ stuff already!” Sorry, I had to get that in there.
Lack of Sleep: I was exhausted. For example, I put the baby into the bathtub naked with her shoes and socks on, and didn’t notice it until I looked down and thought her feet were bleeding. The “blood” was just her hot pink Nikes getting soaked in the bathtub. I am ashamed by this and will not discuss it further.
Plan everything: I’ve never been a planner. I’m a doer – hence, Daddy Doin’ Work. Daddy Plannin’ Work sounds pretty ridiculous and doesn’t roll off the tongue as well. Unfortunately, being a doer doesn’t work when you’re watching a kid by yourself. It took me until the final day to realize that I should’ve prepared meals right before bed that could be easily microwaved for lunch and dinner. I realized that I should’ve completed grocery shopping prior to MDW leaving. I realized that I probably should’ve picked out clothes for the weekend before the weekend started. Hell, I wore the shirt in this picture on Saturday and Sunday because it’s the only one I could find that did not require ironing. That’s also one of the cool things about being an identical twin. On the off chance I bumped into someone who saw me wearing the same shirt as the day before, I’d just say that I was him. I’m not sure how I would explain that he was watching my kid instead of me, though…luckily I didn’t have to worry about that.
You never know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone: I really missed my wife. She is the rock of our family and having her away for 72 hours just goes to show how valuable she is to us. I hope she doesn’t read this or else she’ll get cocky.
On a completely random note regarding this past weekend, Daughter Doin’ Work is 17.5 months old right now and she still drinks milk out of a bottle. Like I said a million times before, I’m a clueless first-time dad – but I have a feeling that she’s too damn old to drink anything out of a bottle going forward. I made the executive decision to stop giving her milk bottles this past weekend and move to a sippy cup (especially since she has been drinking water out of a sippy cup since she was 10 months old). On Monday morning the kid melted down like I’ve never seen her melt down before. She wanted no part of the sippy cup and she let out a Mariah Carey ten-second high-pitched scream that I think broke a few wine glasses in the kitchen.
Here’s the thing – I’m the most low-key parent you will ever meet and I hardly ever raise my voice at my daughter. I’m not going to judge parents who yell at their kids, but I’ll let you know that I’m not one of them. However, this situation frustrated me so much that I bent down to eye-level with her and sternly said, “Look! You’re NOT going to get a bottle, so it’s either the sippy cup or nothing!!”
The look I received from my baby is one that I will never forget. She stopped being angry and she looked at me with a heartbreaking sadness as if to say, “Daddy, please don’t yell at me. I just don’t want the sippy cup. Why can’t you understand that??”
Immediately afterwards, I picked her up and started sobbing myself. I told her, “I am SO sorry, baby. I’m only doing this for your own good. I love you so much, don’t you ever forget that, OK?”
Then the coolest thing ever happened to me:
She looked me in the eye and said, “I love you” (I wuv eww) and hugged me. It was the first “I love you” she ever said to me and it’s one that I will also NEVER forget. Tears stream down my face as I’m typing this. It made me realize that as challenging as parenting can be at times, your baby will provide you with timely reminders about how incredibly awesome the job really is.