A couple of weeks ago my wife went away for the weekend. It was my first try at being a single dad. Noah turns four in July, yet this was the first time that either Ashley or I spent a night away from our children. I know that’s unusual. Several of our friends have been away from their kids multiple times. That’s just not us.
Our kids love being with us and we love being around them. They are also pretty clingy around us, which is probably because they’re mostly around us or their grandparents. That’s generally fine with us. We know it won’t last and we like the fact that they want to be with us so much. So, we try to spend as much time as possible with our children.
We don’t feel like saddling someone else with their bedtime routine. And, most of all, we know we would miss them even more than they would miss us. Those are the biggest reasons we haven’t had a night way from Noah and Charlotte.
Ashley had special circumstances, though, which eventually drew her away. Her cousin was getting married in Key West. She really wanted to be there for him. At first, she tried to figure out a way for me to go with her or for the whole family to come along, but in the end we thought the best option was for me to stay home with the kids and for her to be there with the rest of her family. Ashley still really struggled with the decision, because she felt bad leaving me and the kids. She actually ordered a plane ticket on two separate occasions and cancelled each one, before finally getting a ticket a few days before the wedding. She found a pretty good deal and would only be gone for one night. The bad thing was she had to leave super early Saturday morning and have two layovers. She would return Sunday night after two more layovers.
I assured Ashley that me and the kids would be just fine. It wasn’t even two full days. If we couldn’t survive that long I’d feel pretty embarrassed. We survived, and our two days went pretty well, but it wasn’t without a couple of hiccups.
It was Memorial Day weekend and it was nice and sunny out. So, the kids and I spent a lot of time outside while Ashley was gone. Noah and Charlotte love being outside. Noah loves driving the tractor and jeep. They both love going for walks, playing in the sandbox, playing on the swing set, and just being outdoors in general.
I decided I would try to break up our day a bit and we would leave the house a few times. So, early that morning I took the kids to the new big new playground in town. It just opened the day before so it was super busy. There were probably at least 200 people there even though it was barely 10:00 a.m. Noah and Charlotte were a little overwhelmed by the crowd. It made me a little nervous, too, causing me to stay beside my children at all times. It was hot out and Charlotte wanted to be held the whole time, so we didn’t stay long.
Next, we drove down the street to a local outdoor recreation store. I wanted to look at kayak paddles, but Noah and Charlotte just wanted to hangout inside a tent. We didn’t stay there too long either.
We went home and had lunch and played outside for a while. I told Noah that maybe we could go to Barnes & Noble as long as he behaved. The kids love it there, because there is a train table in the kids’ area and they like to look at the children’s books and little toys. I also thought that Charlotte would probably fall asleep on the way home and maybe even Noah. I told Noah we just had to do a few more things at home first.
That’s when things got a little crazy and I became one very loud and angry dad.
Charlotte and I went upstairs for a few minutes. I think I had to change her diaper or she wanted to change her clothes or something. We weren’t upstairs long. As far as I knew, Noah was just playing in the playroom.
Once I got back downstairs Noah told me to look behind the couch to see a surprise. I said “Alright, but first lets go to the bathroom,” because I saw he had taken off his underwear and shorts. He told me he had pooped, so we had to go in there so I could wipe him.
Well, once I saw what had happened in the bathroom, I was not very pleased. Noah had pooped in the middle of the bathroom rug. Then he tried to clean it up using the hand towels from the bathroom and kitchen.
But wait, that’s not all. I looked for the toilet paper to wipe him. It was empty and I saw the backup rolls seemed to be missing. Noah told to me they were in the living room. So I quickly ran in there (already pretty pissed off, because Noah hasn’t had “an accident” in several months). I then saw three empty toilet paper rolls in the living room. That’s when I remembered what Noah first said when I came downstairs. I looked behind the couch and that is where I found a humungous pile of toilet paper. Three double-rolls worth of toilet paper were in one enormous pile.
I can see some humor in all of it now, but not then. That is when I started yelling and I was loud. If you ask anyone I know they would tell you I am a pretty quiet and laid-back guy. But this did me in. I made sure Noah was clean and got his clothes back on him and then I sent him to his room to sit on his bed.
He cried and was very upset. I cooled down after a few minutes and we talked on his bed. I explained to him that I didn’t want to yell at him and was sorry for doing it, but that he cannot do what he did. He said he pooped on the floor, because Ashley went away. I didn’t like hearing that and don’t know if it was entirely true, but I do know that her being gone (even though it was for a very short time) bothered him. He had no excuse for the toilet paper incident.
I felt bad for yelling at him and I may have overreacted, but he never does anything like that so I didn’t like that he did it for me. I think I also didn’t want it to appear as if things fell apart with Ashley gone.
Needless to say, we did not end up going to Barnes & Noble. We did eventually meet my parents at a nursing home to visit my grandma and then went to George’s Hot Dogs for dinner. The kids played at the playground there and had a good time.
Neither kid ended up napping, but they did go to bed early. Charlotte fell asleep on the ride home from dinner and I managed to change her diaper and get her into her crib with her remaining asleep. Noah fell asleep soon after 8:00 p.m. So, that was nice. Bedtime went surprisingly well. I relaxed kid-free, by the TV for a while before bed.
The next day went better. Both kids missed their mom when they woke up, but they were ok. We went for a morning walk and drove around a bit again. I decided we could go to Barnes & Noble since we didn’t end up going the day before. They were happy there playing with the trains as usual.
We didn’t have any major incidents on day two. Ashley’s last plane got delayed a little bit and she got home just before 9:00 p.m. I didn’t try to get the kids to sleep because they wanted to see their mom and she really wanted to see them, too. Despite her only being gone one night (but basically two full days) they all rejoiced in seeing each other. It was great having the family back together.
To my surprise Noah was definitely the one who was the most distraught by Ashley’s absence. In addition to “the incident” he asked when she was coming home a million times. Charlotte had her moments, but she impressed me. She had just turned two, but she really held it together quite well in her mom’s absence. I think we got to bond a little more than usual. In fact, a couple days later she only wanted me to hold her before I left for work in the morning and she cried when I put her down and had to leave. When I got home later that day she told me “I was crying, because I missed you.” That was touching. I told her “I missed you, too” and I meant it.