Surviving the Weekend

As you might have gathered, Eli and I survived the weekend unscathed. We didn’t do what I threatened Misty with, namely, sitting around with me in my boxers and Eli in his diaper, grunting at sports on TV. Instead we did pansy things like bake brownies and go to the library and stomp around in rain puddles.

A few years before Eli was born, one of Misty’s acquaintances said something like, “I could never leave my kids with their dad. He’s hopeless. He’d let them fall down the stairs and kill themselves.” We swore that wasn’t going to be the case with us, if for no other reason than we didn’t have stairs in our house. But I was going to be able to take care of Eli by myself.

Then Eli came and we discovered how hard that was. Misty was his primary care-giver for reasons of biology and circumstance. It took time before she felt comfortable leaving him with me, and I felt helpless because I didn’t know all of his signals. Why is he crying? Is he hungry? Is he mad? ARE THERE EVIL SPIRITS IN HIM? And Misty’s inclination was to take him from me and deal with him, because she understood him and could fix what was wrong quickly.

(Before you’re a parent, you wonder about things like, “Why can’t parents just wash their hands so they don’t catch colds from their kids?” and “How hard can it be to stay friends with people after you have a kid — just because you’re a parent doesn’t mean your life’s over!” Afterwards, you think, “I was an idiot.”)

I eventually became better at keeping Eli, enough that Misty was willing to leave him with me for extended periods of time. And by this time I knew what to do: have a whole lot of activities lined up so you can keep your kid from becoming bored and can run him to exhaustion. It worked like a charm!

I did have one moment of panic. I was on the phone with Andrew and Joy, who had called to make sure I hadn’t burned down the house. Eli was measuring things with a small six-inch ruler. “The door is seventy inches long. This lamp is seventy inches long. The carpet is seventy inches long.” He climbed up on the guest bed, said, “Watch this!” and proceeded to fall back onto the bed. His head missed the headboard by less than an inch.

Hey, dad, remember when you took me to your office and I got acquainted with your typewriter? Now I truly know how you felt.

7 thoughts on “Surviving the Weekend

  1. I know that you THINK you know how I felt. And certainly to some extent you do. But not until you’ve rushed into the emergency room cradling your little one while holding a bloody handkerchief (thank GOODNESS it was clean!) to his head with one hand will you REALLY know. Frankly, I hope that’s something you always just have to imagine! Fortunately, Mom was calmer and less judgmental than I had any right to expect–perhaps because it was after the fact. Besides, I’d taken care of all the “how COULD you?!?!?!?!” already, so it really wasn’t necessary for her to add to it. 😉

  2. Dude, if it’d been all “we’re just hanging around the house, doing whatever, watching sports,” and I hadn’t gotten a call? That wouldn’t have been cool.

    Glad you survived.

  3. Two weeks after we came home from the hospital, my husband kicked me out of the house and told me to leave him alone with the baby for an hour. That was the most excruciating hour of my life. I did laundry. I don’t think I actually made the hour-mark, but he kindly let me back in the house and clutch the baby to make sure he was okay.

    At six weeks, I went to the doctor’s appointment, and called home to make sure the baby was alright every 30 minutes.

    At eight weeks, I went out for three hours to get a massage (and I slept the entire time…oh blessed sleep). I didn’t call at all, and Everything Went Wrong! He Wailed! The father had no idea what to do! I vowed to never leave the baby again.

    Since then, somehow, we all figured stuff out and now it’s easier to leave and know that the kid will have the time of his life with his father. But the first two months were hard.

  4. This line:

    We swore that wasn’t going to be the case with us, if for no other reason than we didn’t have stairs in our house.

    VERY funny.

    (The rest of the post was good too. :))

  5. ahhh parenthood. all those little things that we were frantic about at the beginning. wait till the 3rd one comes around. its like “oh you found cheerios (probably from under the couch where they were hid a month ago… or a year but whose counting) well at least i dont have to fix you an afternoon snack.
    we finally stopped rushing to the emergency room with the youngest one and just invested in lots of bandaids and butterfly strips.

  6. Heh. I can’t even remember the early months except in a haze. I do remember leaving Joe alone with the lizard so I could go off to Norwescon, and thinking, If she has issues switching to the bottle, it is *so* not my problem.

    I am mercenary-hearted.

  7. My wife and I share caregiver duties due to the nature of the work she does. Since she works graves on different nights of the week (never the same), I’m usually taking care of the kids for a few hours, or even all day. She’s not gone away for a weekend ever, but she hasn’t made many close friends out here, and a weekend back east would be too difficult.

    Also, since when is jumping in mud puddles pansy?!?! O_o

Comments are closed.