Generally I do not get a lot of one on one time with my son. Thank goodness. It’s not that I don’t love my son, I do. He is just so needy. Elizabeth usually takes on the brunt of this neediness. My son correctly identifies her as the one that can most effectively provide him the trappings of his everyday life. For instance, on more than one occasion, my wife has asked me to do something simple like put socks on him. “Of course I will, just as soon as you tell me where we keep his socks.” Again, it’s not that I don’t care for him; I am just completely oblivious to some of the things that make his everyday life run smoothly. So, in our house, when Mom is away, there is only one rule: survive.
This past weekend my wife treated herself to a much needed break and went with a couple co-workers to an “I Mom So Hard” show. This meant that I was staying home with the boy by myself. I am not complaining, my wife works hard and she more than deserves a bit of time away. He’s a year and a half old so naturally this is not the first time I’ve had to be alone with him. I am more than capable of taking care of him in the absence of my wife, but it is not easy.
I don’t realize it when it’s happening. Still though it happens. Slowly but surely the house begins to fall apart. Toys only hold attention for so long. Then more toys are brought out. Toys that have been collecting dust for months are picked from their place at the bottom of drawer and brought to a place of light in the hands of a child. Before you know it, the toy box is completely empty while his room and the living room are covered in toys.
When Elizabeth left he was fully clothed. He fell asleep on the way home from church so we took his shoes off and put him in the crib wearing his church clothes. The socks went first. One at a time they disappeared. Then the pants. I’m not struggling to put pants back on after changing a diaper. The shirt stayed on; although I have no idea where all the stains it accumulated came from.
At some point kids need to eat. I’m not going to attempt to cook something while trying to ensure he does not eat kitty litter. That has disaster written all over it. I pulled the cliche dad move and ordered pizza. It is not my fault that toddlers are so bad at eating. There was no mess on the floor – our pug cleaned all that up – but he did get pizza sauce all over his face and shirt. There may have even been some in his hair. I don’t know, it’s a bit of a blur.
When my wife left the house, she left a clean tranquil place with a sleeping toddler. Regrettably I did not take a before and after picture. Still, the home she returned to was a far different place.
I can only imagine what she must have been thinking when she entered the house. An overwhelming smell of pizza when she walked in the kitchen. Clean pots and pans removed from cabinets and strewn about the floor. As she moved into the dining room, Bobo, who spent the majority of the day hiding under the dining room table attempting to avoid the path of destruction, slowly emerged from his hiding place. When she got to the living room she saw me laying on the floor in a state of exhaustion. Charlie stopped pounding on my chest for a moment and looked up at her from his position on top of me; filthy, smelly, half naked and grinning ear to ear.
“What on earth happened?!”