My wife and I have developed a system of who takes care of what for whom and when. Because Casey and I have developed a pretty consistent schedule, neither of us are really experts when it comes time to shake up the schedule. When Casey is gone, I consider myself to be the substitute parent. Just like the substitute teacher who goes through the materials with the students but doesn’t really have the relationship or experience with the students to resolve issues or dive into more substantive topics. That’s how I view my job when Casey is out of town. I take care of the kids, make sure they survive and maintain the status quo while I anxiously await the return of the expert.
Recently, Casey left me home alone with Addie and Vivi while she attended Blissdom in Nashville. This meant I had to take care of Vivi’s everyday needs and Vivi was going to expect and demand that I do just that. For the first two days of Casey’s absence Vivi stayed at a friend’s house so that I would not have to miss work. After those two days Vivi was all mine.
The first thing I learned about Vivi was that the kid can eat. As a cheapskate I was concerned about using (meaning paying for) more formula than was necessary. I decided to feed Vivi real food, which, as a side note, results in five or six more poops per day. The only problem? We were completely out of real pre-made baby food. I decided to take Addie and Vivi to the store to buy some store made baby food. We went to the store and made it home with plenty of ice cream, hamburger meat, chips, fries, Bananas, and eggs. I unloaded the groceries and realized I had forgotten to buy baby food. By this point, Vivi was at the stage of demanding food so, realizing I had bought bananas and remembering that Casey complained about Vivi’s banana breath, I called Casey in a panic to learn how to prepare Vivi’s banana lunch. Turns out preparing bananas in a baby food chopper maker thingy is pretty easy. Vivi ended up eating bananas every meal for the rest of Casey’s trip. Don’t worry I also fed her the frozen sweet potatoes, green beans and peas that I found in the bottom of the freezer.
There were no other real disasters or panic attacks during Casey’s trip. The only other issue that came close was when I decided I needed to give the smelly baby a bath. Seven poops per day can result in quite the smelly baby. I had never given a baby a bath, but I had watched Casey bathe Vivi several times before. I decided to give it a shot and it turned out alright. The baby came out of the tub smelling like baby soap without any damage to any part of her.
I was pretty proud of the job I had done as the temporary single parent. Casey arrived home and I gloated about how I had made my own baby food and actually bathed a baby. For the first time, Casey actually came home to a fresh smelling baby. This time I was more than the substitute teacher, I had actually risen above that bar–I had owned being a temporary single parent. I expected some praise and maybe a homemade chocolate pie or cake to reward my efforts when Casey looked at me and said, “Why does the big one (Addie) smell so bad?” Crap.
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