August 28, 2014 by Dadinator
Earlier this week The Mamanator was sick. She was in bed for 2 days while I looked after our little ‘uns while on carers leave (best thing ever).On Mondai I wrote about the day we had in a post that was all gushy and try-hard creative writingy and stuff. Enough of that.
Today’s post is about nuts and bolts. The fun and the struggle of it all, and the many many things I failed to do on a day my wonderful and gorgeous wife would have done without a thought or a care. I had to wear many hats, with varying degrees of success, and I thought it worth cataloguing them.
The Logistics Expert:
The morning was like any other. There was porridge for us all (including The Mamanator), drinks and an attempt to feed The Lass solid food. I swear she laughs at me when I try to feed her as if to say “Hah! I will not accept this as sustinance BRING ME A BOOB!”. I should try and offer her my nipple, hairs and all, and see how long it lasts.
Porridge is wonderful. Nutritious, filling, warming and a favourite of The Lads. He usually finishes 2.5 toddler bowls of it in a morning session and today was no different. The downside is the clean-up. The Lad is in a “helping” phase, he loves to help me at the sink clearing up and rinsing dishes. It’s uhhh great… yeah…. Except for one small thing.
Every time the tap gets turned off he howls as if he’s lost a dear friend… I had to endure 2 such cries as I rinsed porridge of the dishes, and another 2 as I filled up a glass of water first for myself and then for him. He has a complicated relationship with the tap.
Then I had to change them out of their night nappies (which they were in for a bit too long I must admit) and dress the pair of them (which wasn’t too complicated). I even slipped in a short shower, I was on a roll. While I was getting ready my son decided to read my wife a story. He picked up a novel from my bedside table and said:“Once upon a time there was a man called Fatouyo. He had to go into a home for retired bears in Lima. He went “Choo-choo.” The end.” Here’s the book:
We had a deadline this morning. Story time at Castlemaine Library started at 10:30. I got us out the door at 10:10, just in time to arrive for the start of it. We were one of only 3 families there for the start, but the numbers soon ballooned as more and more prams rolled through the door.
I had opted to wear my daughter rather than pram her because I like it, and I find taking the extra weight less hassle than handling the extra wheely whatsit. It’s a personal choice. By the time we hit the second story there would have been 20 odd parents around the joint, kids running amok, my daughter unable to decide if she wanted to be free on the ground or secure in dad’s lap. My boy standing up for a closer look at the book, while giving the kids further back a closer look at the back of his head.
It was great. It really was. I love storytime, a grand institution of this nations fine public libraries. As soon as it finished I realised we needed to make a b-line for the change room to take care of business….. This is where the multi-tasker part comes in.
I changed the girl. Then I was suddenly hit with an overwhelming call of nature myself… so…
I had to keep her on the change table, keep the lad occupied and pee at the same time. I kept on hand on her to keep her from rolling off, one hand being used to aim (you get what I mean, right?) while telling/shouting “Keep away from it Lad!” over and over again. I’m glad there wasn’t a security camera…..
It was a bizarre scene, and one that would have been avoided if I’d opted for the pram. Still, rookie mistake….
After we were done The Lad asked pointedly to go to “The Coffee Bean”, a cafe across the way from the library. He asked with such confidence that I thought to myself “Well, this must be part of the routine, so away we go!”. It wasn’t part of the routine at all. He was weaselling his way into an easy babycino…. It worked.
However I also got a coffee out of it, so all was forgiven quickly.
I must also give credit to the boy. This cafe has a bucket full of toys at the back which he went for straight away. After we finished he packed them up, by himself, while I put my girl back in the baby carrier. Kudos to you Lad. I then ran into some friends of ours with their tiny tiny tiny 1.5 day old baby…. and went “nawwwwwwww” at her a lot. Gosh they are small at the start.
We finished up at the cafe and rolled on…. To a grocery store called “The Little Red Apple” for a few select bits and pieces. It was about a 10 minute drive from Castlemaine, and on the way The Lass fell asleep. Extracting a sleeping child from a car is not for the faint-hearted. It’s tense. India Jones and the Temple of Doom tense….
But lo! I managed it. I got her out and onto my chest without rousing her. I went into the shop. Eyes closed. I shopped. Eyes closed. I engaged in small talk with the shop-hand about apple cider vinegar. Eyes closed. The lady working the register even commented “she hasn’t moved a muscle”, even as I switched hands to get my wallet out and walked around the store. But… could I put her back in the car.
It’s actually more challenging you have to maintain the right angle, fiddle with buckles and then transfer the little one from chest to seat smoothly or it’s all over….. I got her in the seat. I got the straps in place. I buckled her in. She let out a cry.
She nodded back off. I had done it. I was ninja dad. The Lad in the meantime had jumped into his own seat and was standing on it. I told him to sit down, which he did, and then looked at the window.
I went round to The Lad’s door to strap him in and noticed he’d wound the window down. So we had this little negotiation:“Daddy, I put the window down” “You did! Well done. Can I put it up again please?” “No, I want it down”. (we were going to be driving at 100kph, a window down isn’t really an option)… “How about I put it half up?” “No! Just half down” “Well…. Okay……..”
He drove a hard bargain… And we were off. He nodded off on the way home and all was well.
I got home and got The Lad into bed (after reading him a story). He went back to sleep, but The Lass was done with sleep. So we let her crawl around with The Mamanator while I made her a sandwich (and myself a sandwich). It was a sandwich kind of day…. I also tried to be generally useful (cleaning up, clearing up and doing things….), while keeping The Lass entertained as her brother slept.
I then took care of the little girl. We went out for a bounce on the trampoline. We checked the chook house for eggs and we played a lot. Soon, though, I decided that The Lad needed to wake.
There are two napping scenarios for The Lad at the moment: Either he naps too long and it takes a Herculean effort to put him down at night; or he doesn’t nap at all and turns into a screaming terror in the evening. Either way we’re screwed…. So I commenced operation “wake up” in the normal manner.
That is to say I put his sister on his bed and waited. 15 minutes later he was up and I was trying to get him to eat. After lunch (which he ate half of eventually), we decided it was time for MORE TRAMPOLINE! Which was slightly awkward because The Lad is spending most of his time at home with no pants on at all, its’ part of toilet training, and it means that trampolining can give you some “artistic” angles, shall we say. He also generated enough electricity to power a small country:
There was more to the day. The Lad didn’t really eat dinner, he was so tired (and clearly not quite 100%) that we put him down to sleep early and skipped both bath time and dinner time. I also demonstrated that I need to be told every little thing while cooking in order to do it properly… Whoops. And I managed to make the crackling on our pork shoulder actually crackle a bit, so i was proud of myself. But…. That’s probably enough for one day.
I really enjoyed myself at home. I love checking in on the kids for these kinds of days and reminding myself that I can do it. I can see to their needs, care for the, love them, clean them, dress them, teach them, play with them, drive them around, shop with them…… And I’m not that bad at it.
I can’t clean with them around though, that I just can’t seem to manage.
But it’s good to know that I can honestly say to The Mamanator “don’t worry, I’ve got your back”.