Solo Parenting

I took the kids to Skyline for dinner tonight. Randomly Owen and James started yelling out Reds baseball player names, including Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto, with great gusto. For Christmas, my dad gave James framed pictures of baseball players to hang in his room. My dad often reminds Owen and James the names of the players. I’m sure this is where the spouting of names came from but I have no idea why it happened in the middle of dinner tonight. But with the snow still falling as we ate, and all of us in dire need of baseball weather, it was insanely cute. So I grabbed my phone and recorded it.

I have no idea why there’s (a) no sound and (b) why it’s posting as a picture and not a video.

If Andy were here, I’m sure he could fix it. Just like he could fix the toilet upstairs that is suddenly constantly running. For now I open the lid and jiggle a wire forcing the stopper to close every time someone flushes. I’m sure there is a better (and easier) way to handle this.

Andy’s been out of town since early Thursday afternoon. And he won’t be back until late Wednesday afternoon.

Seven days.

Six nights.

It’s gone better than I expected. But it’s a long time.

He’s been gone for good reason. He spent several days in Florida, visiting with extended family. And now he’s in Denver, for work.

In some ways, I feel more on top of things. Knowing I’m in charge of everything, and I don’t have anyone else to fall back on, I make sure things get done. I worry too much to let things slide.

Still, Owen’s wearing a pajama top covered in heart stickers in the video/picture. It was a battle I chose not to fight. Owen and James also are wearing their snow boots (because it’s snowing, of course) but sans socks. I’d like to say that was another battle I chose not to fight but in reality, it was a shortcut I insisted on.

I think about all the mamas and papas out there who do this on their own, without any support from the other biological parent, always. Or the ones whose spouse/partner travels for work, or is away for months at a time, with the military. I admire you. And I’m sorry. I imagine posts like these are hilarious or infuriating (or, perhaps, both). It’s a week. One small week.

Still. I look forward to not being the only one running up the stairs every five minutes at bedtime. Sometimes, for good reason: a dirty diaper. Chapped/bleeding lips. A dropped Piglet. But the other times: “It’s important, Mommy!” “What’s important?” “I don’t know. But don’t leave.” Or, “Which engine is this?” while pointing to an engine in a Thomas book. Or, “I forgot to make a mask for Emma today!”

The calories I burn, running up those stairs … it’s how I’m justifying the popcorn drizzled with truffle oil and covered in parmesan cheese, which I’m eating right now.

And in some ways, it’s nice. Andy hates the smell of truffle oil. And now I can eat it without complaint. I can not watch basketball (although I should point out “Peach Baskets”—my bracket—is currently ranked fourth out of 240 entries). And not once in the past five days have I encountered a bathroom sink full of little hairs, which is what I always encounter after Andy shaves.

But then, I like arguing about the merits of truffle oil. And it’s weird to not have basketball on in March. And washing those little hairs down the sink isn’t all that bad, really.

There’s a reason they say absence make the hearts grow fonder.

I miss him. I miss us. All of us, all the ways we work and don’t work together as a family of five.

Soon. (And for that, I know, I’m lucky.)

“Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.” —Kahlil Gibran


While Aunt Janeil visited we went to the 5th Annual Track-n-Treat at the wonderful A.S.K. Playground in Eaton, Ohio, which my Uncle Corey raised money for and helped build through his job at the Preble County DD. Owen refused to wear his costume and ride the hay wagon, but loved all the candy. Sophie loved to swing (I think, in part, to watch her long Rapunzel hair flow). James kept sneaking candy … I think he had at least five lollipops by night’s end. After we all went to Skyline, where a woman was nice enough to inform me that I left our side van door open (again). She assumed it was my van door based on the kids surrounding me at the restaurant and the large amount of kid stuff in our van.

“Bring forth the raisins and the nuts-
Tonight All-Hallows’ Spectre struts
Along the moonlit way.” —John Kendrick Bangs

Sorry, Skyline

This past Friday my mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law, niece and kids ended up at Skyline Chili for dinner (we were at Mio’s but a severe storm knocked their power out and pretty much everyone in Ft. Thomas’s power out, leaving me unable to cook for everyone). We were all a bit frazzled, hot and wet. But we love Skyline. Even I, still, love Skyline, after having waited tables at various Skyline locations during my high school and college years. My kids love Skyline, seeing as their meals there are basically plain spaghetti, oyster crackers and large quantities of cheese.

We were all packed into a large corner booth when I noticed James standing up, facing the back of the booth, digging through the diaper bag that I had sat on top of the booth, against the wall. He pulled out my keys and tried to drop them between the wall and the booth. I caught them. Then, I noticed my cell phone was gone.

I looked at the crack between the booth and the wall.

And sighed.

Katy called my phone.

The space between the booth and the wall started to ring.

It took five men, including my dad and brother-in-law, to move that corner booth, which is a lot heavier than it looks and is attached to other parts of  other surrounding booths in the restaurant. Basically, all the cooks had to stop cooking to help me retrieve my phone.

We always tip a little extra at Skyline, largely because the nature of the food (crackers and cheese) lends itself to a messy table and floor. This particular night, however, we had to tip a little more.

“Having a two-year-old is like having a blender that you don’t have the top for.” —Jerry Seinfeld