The Art of a Dad as a Temporary Single Parent, Take 2

Few things cause me parenting terror like learning I will be left all alone with the baby for days at a time.

When I mean all alone, I mean nobody else in the house.  No Casey and no Addie.

Casey and Addie had the opportunity to go to Chicago this last weekend as a mother and daughter get away.  That meant I would be home alone with Vivi all weekend, and the parenting terror started setting in days before Casey and Addie headed out for Chicago.

I try to spend as much time as I can with Vivi when I’m home from work, because I don’t get to be around her all that much during the day.  But if things ever get too crazy, I have Casey there to give me a hand.

Addie is also a big help because she is Vivi’s best friend.  VIvi will follow Addie around for hours, and when I need a little bit of a break to go to the bathroom, do dishes, cook food, or just check emails, Addie is the perfect person to turn to for help.

It is also tough for anyone not named Addie to keep Vivi entertained for a full day.  She doesn’t like playing with baby toys or kid toys.  She prefers to play with dishes, stereo equipment, Play Stations, TV remotes, water bottles, and pretty much anything else she isn’t supposed to have.  Once the baby accepts that she won’t be able to play with any of those things, she gets bored and cranky.

Finding things to keep Vivi entertained for eight hours of the day is a real challenge.

In preparation of Casey and Addie’s trip to Chicago, I started planning and thinking of anything I could do to keep that baby entertained.  I decided Vivi and I would go to the Children’s Museum on Saturday and then we would go out on a daddy and very young daughter date to some restaurant.

Things didn’t exactly turnout as planned, however.  The baby ended up being an angel the whole weekend.  She didn’t wake up on Saturday morning until 8:30 a.m. and even then she awoke with baby laughs and giggles.  Things got a little tense during our first hour together because Vivi did a lot of screaming at me.  After an hour or so of screaming, however, I realized Vivi wasn’t mad at me when she was screaming; it was just her way of communicating.

I decided to put the baby down for an early nap so that she would wake up in time for us to make it to the Children’s Museum before it closed.  The baby ended up napping from 12:30 p.m. until 4:15 p.m.

Do you have any idea how good it feels to take an uninterrupted nap for three-plus hours on a Saturday?  Glorious.  The only problem was that VIvi had slept so long that we weren’t going to be able to make it to the Children’s Museum.

Ultimately it didn’t matter.  Vivi and I got along great and we played with all kinds of non-baby related toys, and she ended up sitting on my lap most of the time demanding that I read her books.

What had started as a weekend that I feared ended up being a weekend where Vivi and I had a chance to bond like we were never able to do before.  It made it really tough to go to work Monday morning knowing I would be leaving Vivi behind.

I’m pretty sure she felt the same way about our weekend, because when I came home for lunch on Monday she started screaming “Da, Da, Da, Da,” over and over again.  She also cried when I wasn’t holding her and when she thought I was leaving.

While my time with Vivi made me happy, I’m sad that I wasn’t able to have that opportunity with Addie when she was a baby.  I now realize how much I missed of Addie when she was that age.

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