Friday 8th July
My first day as a single parent.
Oh, she’s not left me. Not permanently, at least. She’s just on a school trip, and will be away for four days.
Originally, I decided to keep a mini-journal of the weekend, to show how Dads are perfectly capable of steering the ship alone, but I have since realised that I’m in way over my head. I thought I could handle this, but I’m struggling. I could cope with one of them (even if that child was nocturnal devil-beast, Isaac), but both together are too much. They’ve beaten me. I’m a broken man.
I’ll try to keep this journal going as long as I can, but there’s a good chance by the time you find it they’ll have won, and I’ll be a quivering mess.
I’ll happily admit my wife is the one that keeps the family (just about) functioning, and is the glue that binds us together. I want her back. I need her back.
It’s 7:02am, and she’s been gone for 47 minutes….
Status check. Well, I’m still alive, so that’s something.
I’ve had a little cry, and now it’s time to take back control.
My wife left the house at 6:15am, by which point Isaac had been up for over an hour (not sure how, when he didn’t go to sleep until after 10:00pm) and, not only was he awake, he was alert, angry and, most of all, dangerous.
Early morning is when Isaac is at his most lethal, as I found to my cost just a few moments ago when I turned to face him – having realised my ‘pretend to be asleep/dead and he might leave me alone’ trick wasn’t working – and he punched me square in the face. Turns out, pretending to be dead works quite well with bears, but not with demonic toddlers. He had been patiently waiting for his chance, and as soon as I turned around, he took it. The ultimate predator.
When I came to, and my vision cleared, he was grinning.
Things have improved.
In a little over an hour, I’ve managed to get washed and dressed, eat breakfast, and get both boys out of bed and ready for the day. I’ve fed them, got them clothed (initially leaving Ollie to do this himself, but he managed to get his school shirt and one sock completely inside out, so I had to take over), and ensured they looked relatively presentable.
I even managed to listen to Ollie do his reading homework for school, and wrote a note in his class planner as if we had spent half an hour lovingly reading together last night, rather than a hurried three minutes this morning (while he put his shoes on, and I changed Isaac’s nappy).
Amazingly, we left the house on time, and drove Isaac to nursery to relinquish responsibility for his wellbeing to the saints who take him away from us every day. One of the ladies even joked about babysitting over the weekend to give me a break, and I offered her a blank cheque if she actually would. She thought I was joking.
Just arrived at work.
After nursery, I dropped Ollie off at school (on time, and in one piece), before dashing home to collect the car for my drive to work. The M6 was closed – again – and this delayed me, but it has otherwise been a successful morning (after such a dreadful start).
I have, however, been up since 5:00am, so I’ve placed the sign on my door to ‘in a meeting’, set an alarm for lunchtime, and plan to crawl under my desk for a nap.
Back at my desk after an extended lunch break, courtesy of the boss who took us all to a nice Thai restaurant. Made the mistake of having a beer, so a bit sleepy again.
Shit. Just woke up. Now need to cram an entire day’s worth of work into the next half an hour.
Home. Have walked the dog, got changed, and now off to collect both boys so we can spend an hour or two (and all my cash, no doubt) at Ollie’s school’s Summer Fair.
My intention of giving Ollie £5 to spend at the fair, so that he can start to learn the value of money, went completely to shit. Had I stuck with that plan, we’d have been home again within ten minutes, as he wanted to go on everything immediately. Think I managed to keep it under a tenner though, so not a complete disaster.
The real challenge is now getting them to bed, as I can’t cook dinner until Isaac is asleep. Ideally, I’d like him down for 9:00pm.
Stupid optimism. Should’ve had a burger at the fair.
Isaac’s asleep, so I can finally cook. Checked on Ollie, and naturally he’s wide awake reading a book, so I advised him to go to sleep if he would like to retain all of his limbs.
Ended up watching Mission: Impossible III.
Might regret staying up if Isaac wakes any time soon.
Saturday 9th July
Amazingly, Isaac has only just woken and hasn’t, as yet, brutally assaulted me. In fact, he seems in good spirits.
Seven bowls of cereal later (none of which were mine), both boys are now fed and the dog has been walked. Maybe this single parent malarkey isn’t quite as bad as I first thought.
Scrap that, they’re now beating the living shit out of each other.
I’d already decided we would stay at my Mum’s house tonight for some support, but just packing for one night, and getting both boys (and an ageing, incontinent, dog) into the car, has been stressful enough. Plus, it’s lashing it down, so we’re all drenched and the dog stinks.
Just arrived. As usual, Isaac was asleep before we got out of our road, and stayed asleep until I had to stop for fuel. Ollie, despite asking me a million questions about the Euros (‘Daddy, who’s your favourite Ukrainian?’) was relatively well-behaved. The main thing is, we’re here. Need to fight the urge to jump back in the car and drive away…
Mum has said she’s happy to watch the boys so I can go for a nap. God love her. I’m going to set the alarm for an hour, though, so she doesn’t have them for too long.
Not only did I sleep right through my alarm, but Isaac has just fallen asleep on the sofa, which will completely mess up his routine tonight, so I need to try and wake him (perhaps by punching him square in the face, as he so often wakes me?).
At Ollie’s insistence, Mum has kindly cooked a curry, and sure enough he has had three mouthfuls before deciding he is full. Isaac, in contrast, has not only devoured everything put in front of him, he has chosen to celebrate this culinary triumph by smearing his face in Chicken Tikka Massala, like it’s fucking camouflage paint. He now looks like an Oompa Loompa.
Yep, Isaac has only just gone to sleep. I knew that afternoon nap was going to cause a problem. Never mind, he’s tucked up in the double bed he and I are sharing, so as long as he doesn’t roll over and fall out, we’ll be fine.
He just rolled over and fell out. I best call it a night.
Sunday 10th July
Well, spank my ass and call me Susan, Isaac has only just got up! And I thought yesterday’s lie in was impressive.
Even though my wife isn’t back until late tomorrow night, I don’t think it would be premature to conclude I’ve got this single parenting lark nailed.
Spoke too soon. The boys are again tearing strips off each other.
I could intervene, but as a spectator sport it’s quite entertaining. I could make some money out of this, as there’s a four-year age-gap and at least a foot in height between them, so I imagine most punters would favour Ollie in a bout. I’ll offer decent odds, then clean up when Isaac does.
Just got back from meeting a good friend (and his Mum) for lunch, and again Isaac has proven that his behaviour is inversely linked to how much sleep he had the night before – he had the best night’s sleep of his life, yet acted like a rabid gremlin.
He threw his dummies, his food, and a few punches, all whilst crying constantly. Not the impression I was hoping to give my mate’s mum, when she’s never met him before.
Time to go home.
Not only does Mum look like she might start to go off her grandchildren at some point within the next half an hour (wouldn’t blame her), Isaac is bound to sleep in the car on the way home, so this could properly screw up bed time tonight.
Going to try and put Isaac to bed early, as the final of Euro 2016 kicks off in an hour and I want to watch it with Ollie. Optimistic, maybe, but after Isaac’s sleep patterns this weekend, anything is possible.
Kick off, and I’m still upstairs. Maybe I can get him down for half time?
Ok, second half then.
Bugger. This better go to extra time.
Isaac is finally asleep, and I have just made it downstairs.
The final has thankfully gone to extra time. Ollie, being the insufferable nerd he is (no idea where he gets that from) has been taking notes, and has given me a thorough analysis of the first 90 minutes.
Bloody Portugal. I admire Ronaldo as a player, but my God he’s a bell-end.
Bed time (for Ollie too, who is now asking questions about the trophy).
Monday 11th July
Arrived at work, but I’m knackered.
Not through lack of sleep, for once, but because the success of getting both boys up and out of the house on Friday, was not replicated this morning. They were awkward, grumpy and uncooperative.
Thank goodness my wife is back this evening.
Both children collected from after school club and nursery respectively, and I’m hiding in the toilet while they again devour countless bowls of cereal downstairs.
I’ve restrained Isaac into his high chair so securely, he now resembles Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, so I feel confident in hiding up here and leaving Ollie in charge.
Heard screaming, so I ran downstairs to discover Ollie had strayed too close to the high chair, and Isaac had managed to loosen one arm enough to strike a blow. He then somehow escaped from the high chair, and is now semi-naked and running around with a fork, like some kind of Maori warrior.
Might as well start the bedtime routine early (you never know). Plus, it looks like my wife won’t be home until after 9:00pm, so if I want dinner any time soon, I need Isaac asleep.
He’s evil. Not naughty, evil. His eyes are cold, empty pools of black. Oh God, he’s spotted me typing this.
I can’t take any more. He’s been screaming and hitting me for an hour. Imagine trying to get the girl from The Exorcist to bed, and you’re close.
I give in. He’s won. I tried my best to be a single parent, and so nearly made it, but I don’t think I can last until my wife makes it home. I’m hiding under the covers.
To my wife: if you find these notes, could you post them onto my blog this Friday? You’ll need a suitable title with the word ‘blog’ in it.
Shit, he’s found me. He’s still got the fork. He’s grinning.
Men: Don’t ever let your wife/girlfriend out of your sight. We’re crap at this, and can’t do it alone. Learn from my mistakes, and don’t suffer the same f