diary of a single parent: day two

Well no alcohol has been consumed yet. That’s a good sign.

The trick to low stress mornings in this household is to have no expectations for what time you will leave the house. We usually aim for 8:00, which has been done in the past, but lately it’s been a lot later than that (even with two parents around). This morning we backed out of the driveway at 8:37. And I succeeded in not caring about this. It just means I work a bit later.

What I did care about, however, was the bear that was my daughter. Elliot has been acting up a bit in the last month, and with Greg going away I was worried about dealing with him on my own, as I’ve been known to lose my temper. But he’s been (mostly) an angel for the last two days. (Of course now that I’ve said that I’ve jinxed it.) No, it’s the other one that is trying my patience. She really wants to be held, especially around mealtimes. This is not a big deal when there is another adult around to hold her. It is a big deal when there are only two arms available. My day started with me doing as much as I could with my right arm, while at the same time giving my left arm a good workout as I carried around 30 pounds.

I draw the line at eating my own meal, though. I won’t do it with a child on my lap. I eat fast, so it’s not a huge hardship for her to wait. So similar to last night, we had a lot of tears as I ate my breakfast and she stood beside me bawling, saying over and over “Mama, lap”. Her breakfast was waiting for her — a piece of French toast with jam on it, as she requested. When I had about two bites left, she changed her tune and started repeating “French toast” and pointing at my last two bites. I pointed to hers, but she kept refusing it. There was one more piece of French toast sitting on the counter, so I pointed at that one and asked if she wanted it. She said yes. So I cut a piece off, put jam on it, and she got right in her chair and ate it, crust and all. When she asked for more I again pointed out that she had the exact same thing sitting right in front of her, on her plate, and she proceeded to gobble it down. To be clear…she gobbled down the exact same item she’d steadfastly refused to eat two minutes before. Ahhhh…toddlerhood.

Then came getting dressed. Again, we’ve had a few issues with Elliot in this department recently. But he quietly got undressed by himself, and then politely asked me to help him get dressed. This was after he sat for a few minutes on his bed, “sending an email to Daddy” by putting a set of books back into the box they came in. I made the mistake of giving Amy a new set of pajamas a couple of days ago, and she doesn’t ever want to get out of them. Oh boy, do I regret that now. I did finally get her dressed, but OMG the drama.

Then came some playtime before we left for daycare. She got super pissed at Elliot every time he tried to help her with anything. Not pleasant. I did manage to get her in the car without a screaming fit, and surprisingly she didn’t cry when I dropped her off at daycare. So the morning ended okay. And I didn’t lose my cool once. I’m quite proud of that. Nor did I force her screaming and kicking into her clothes, which has been known to happen.

The evening went more smoothly. Both kids had a good day at daycare and were in fine spirits when I picked them up. We had hot dogs, broccoli and carrots for dinner. I refrained from looking at the nutritional label or the ingredients of the hot dogs. The broccoli and carrots cancelled that out anyway. Elliot forgot that any dessert was available and hence didn’t ask for anything.

I managed to do most of the dishes while they finished eating, and the only thing I have left to do is tidy up a bit for our cleaning lady, who is coming tomorrow morning, and then sit in front of the TV for an hour and watch 24.

I slept pretty well last night, despite the fact that I hate being alone without a dog. Perhaps I should borrow one for the week.

Even though things are going fine, I am definitely missing both the company and the help of my husband.