Daddy! Daddy! He's our man!

If he can't do it… well, you're shit out of luck. Because Mama's in Florida.

That's not quite what I was teaching Younger Son this past week, but the sentiment is pretty bang-on. You see, with The Lovely Wife and Older Son out of the picture and out of the country for a week (Mickey's beacon is strong, y'all), it's been Daddy on Duty, 24/7. Looking back (they're not home until 8pm tonight, but I'm going to assume nothing will go horribly wrong between the hours of 5 and 8), it's been an easier ride than I thought. He has adjusted well to not having his mama and brother around, and asks for them fewer times with each passing day. I know he'll be overjoyed to see them tonight, apart from having to be woken up to enjoy the reunion, but I'm grateful for the time he and I have had to bond. I hadn't given it much thought, but it occurs to me that his big brother and I had many an opportunity to bond without the (often more prudent and laudable) influence of TLW, but Younger Son usually only get snippets of alone time with Daddy; never for six days straight.

I think we've done remarkably well.

He has kept relatively constant his sleep patterns (down at 7:30, up at 6:30) and hasn't fussed much when we part company on Daycare mornings, which is probably beneficial to both him and me. He and I have read every book in the house twice, watched a little D-O-R-A (I'm spelling it in case he can hear my internal monologue), went to Parent & Tot swimming class, and hit the hardware store more than once. But because TLW and Older Son took the collapsible stroller to Florida with them, I opted to let him walk just about everywhere we needed to go. This, my friends, turned out to be the linchpin in our daddy-toddler relationship. For the first time, he felt more like a companion (read: co-conspirator), and I think he had fun, too. Especially as he dragged all sorts of creative plumbing devices off the shelves just to hear the various tinks and doinks they make as they crashed to the tile floor. Good times, Dada. Good times.

I've adjusted to taking my showers at night and getting his breakfast ready the night before, since he regularly wakes up with a level of hunger known only by Gandhi and William "The Refrigerator" Perry, neither of which have been major adjustments to my lifestyle. That, of course, doesn't mean it's easy to single-parent. I still have the utmost respect for those who have raised children without a co-parent; you people deserve medals. Knowing that with each passing day I was garnering a deeper relationship with the little twerp and inching closer to the time when the rest of the family would rejoin us kept me sane and upbeat.

But the single best moment of the last six days had to be yesterday when, upon waking from an afternoon nap, Younger Son, as though channeling his mama from afar, insisted on cuddling on the couch watching football and reading Dora (his mama can take or leave Dora, but the football is non-negotiable). That's when I knew the bond was strong, and that he was without a doubt his mother's son.

Tomorrow morning we'll all wake up and it'll be two-kid mayhem in the house again, just like old times. I'll go to work freshly shaven (instead of 10-hrs overnight growth) and life will go on as it did before The Mouse divided our family temporarily. Younger Son will go back to harping on his mother in a language all his own, and I'll get to find out of his older brother missed me (I suspect he has, but he's so damn coy that he'd be reluctant to admit it) as much as I have missed him. And I know that from next time I try to tell him to stop smooshing Play-Doh into the turkey baster, I'll get that look from Younger Son that says, "c'mon, Dad, you would have let me do this when mama was away." And I just might have.

Posted bythemikestand at 10:48 AM  

1 stepped up to the mike:

SRH said... 4:15 PM, September 17, 2007  

Single parenting sucks, especially when you are used to dual parenting.

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