Sunday, 22 February 2009

Phantom Toddlers

This last week has been very, very enjoyable, as I had hoped it would be at the beginning of it.

I am sure to bore you with the details blog about it, in the not too distant.

The school holidays, or in Max’s case, the nursery breaks, have become the times when we get to spend consecutive daytimes, and therefore, days out together.

A time much like before he actually started attending nursery.

I had forgotten how exhausting our existence back then was.

It is no walk in the park; it is like, a thousand of them.

While I type I had forgotten, I actually was expecting to be tired at the end of this week, and being more accurate, I always expect to be weary, just a little more than usually this time.

This is going to sound, or read, ridiculous, but I think one of the reasons I am more worn-out than usual is that I have spent extra time in bed.

We have been out everyday, but as we were setting when our day was to start I have been a bit more lax with our morning routine.

Waking as usual, but switching the television on upstairs, playing PSP in bed, or not joining Max immediately downstairs. Generally slumming for a bit, before getting going.

I believe that by not getting up-and-at-them straightaway, you set a heavy legged approach to the day at its very dawn.

Plus, I have probably been going to bed later, as a perceived benefit of not having to be against the clock, or someone else’s, in the mornings.

Not so smart.

But at the end of the week I have been given a bit of a claw-back opportunity.

The boy will be with grandparents for the majority of tomorrow, my regular day of shopping, cleaning, mentoring and other ad-hoc duty-like tasks.

My wonderful sister, having accommodated us for Saturday night, cooked a late Sunday lunch, and also invited said grandparents.

It was she who actually muted the idea of my son going back with them, rather than with me, so I could catch a break, and hopefully a genuine lie in.

An idea that gathered pace, and multiple fans, very quickly.

I speedily packed up all our things, including a covering-all-bases-clean-set-of-clothes for the boy, and dropped everyone, bar my sister, off at my folks’ house.

It was important for me to explain to my son that I had enjoyed the non-nursery week in his company, and barring the odd little blemish, was delighted with his behaviour.

However it was not as high on Max’s list of priorities to receive such information, he was more interested in seeing me off, and in, bath, play and story time at his grandparents’.

So after a brief explanation, a warm embrace and kiss, we were parted.

Me, heading off for some, err, ‘me time’, at home.

The thing is, I have become so used to being here with my son that I still ‘hear’ him and actually find it difficult to relax on my own.

Any house makes noises, and I am unsure if a new self-build should make more or less than a more established property, but it does not need to make any at all for me to simply just ‘forget’ and ‘remember’ there is only myself to look after.

I twittered about this parenting phenomenon the last time this happened, and it seems I am not alone. Well technically I am, but I hope you get my drift.

We do get a healthy amount of time apart, but generally we are then both with company, him without exception – I hope.

I will miss my possible night time visit from my mini-colossus, but will welcome the anticipated extended sleep.

That is if I do not get up to check on ‘him’ of course.


mothership said...

I always hear the children when they are not here, especially the baby. Last weekend on Valentine's day our neighbours took them for the night as a treat for us . I SWORE I heard the baby crying early in the morning and I actually got up and went upstairs to see if he was there. Um no, he wasn't.
You are not alone. None of us are.

Single Mom Seeking said...

This is so poignant! I hear my child when she's not hear, too... I'm so relieved to know that I'm not crazy. (Unless we're both "crazy," Single Parent Dad?)

It usually takes me a few hours to feel ME after dropping the kid off. It really helps to be proactive and make a plan with friends. I hope you're having fun!

Kerrie said...

I hear you on that one Ian...

When I was a sole parent, Matilda used to spend at least week, (often 10 days) of each school holidays (3x two week blocks/year)at her grandparents home, allowing me to work without her having to be in full time care and them to have special time together.

Whenever I dropped her off I'd get home and the house would feel very strange, I'd feel a bit like someone had cut my arms off. I would usually clean the house madly on that first day (and what's more it stayed that way for the entire time she was away) to give me something to do. The cat used to get quite clingy too, he always knew when she was away and would need extra loving from me.

It was very odd passing her bedroom at night and seeing her bed made and her not in it. It would take me at least 2-3 days to get used to her not being there...the next 2-3 days I'd quite enjoy the time alone and the following days I'd count the hours until she came home. I had to plan some activities with friends while she was away as being home alone in the evenings was very odd.

Funny thing though, she always seemed to have grown bigger when she had been away for longer than a couple of days.

Even now with a partner and bigger family it still doesn't feel "right" when one of the kids is having a sleepover at a friend's home.

Laura said...

This happens to me! When my kids are gone I actually still wake in the night thinking I heard them and it takes me a few seconds to get with it!!

By sunday I am ok with it and then a few hours later they come home :)

Mama Nabi said...

Phew! So I'm not the only insane one, then?

Wonder if it's because our ears are trained to listen for their chatter so when the chatter is gone, we fill in the void.

I do think a time apart is healthy - especially for the single parent.

The Dotterel said...

I know exactly what you mean about not being able to 'relax' fully. It's like being awake at night when Charlie's asleep, or getting up early - unable to lie-in - when he sleeps late. So frustrating!

SciFi Dad said...

Dude, you have a PSP as well? What games are you into right now? I'm getting towards the end of Dead Head Fred at the moment... dunno if you've tried it, but it's an awesome action/adventure game.

Another obscure but great title: Puzzle Quest.

dadshouse said...

I know the heavy feeling - I get that when I don't work out. When my kids were younger, this happened a lot when they were with me. Sounds like your week together was good, and some "me time" is well deserved.

MindyMom said...

Ha! I do the same thing when my older kids are at their dads. I wake up in the morning thinking I need to get them up and ready for school, but they're not here. It especially sucks when I do this and otherwise could have slept in while my little one is still sleeping.

Hope you enjoyed your night off!

Celtic Dragon said...

Hello my name is Mike and I have been following your blog now a couple of days after finding your site. I too am a single dad and have been for almost 17 years.

Reading your blogs brings back memories. My daughter was almost 3 and my son was 17 months old when I became a single parent. Unlike you I had no family and was truly on my own. You are very lucky...

Looking back, what ever I did, I must have done it right because I have two wonderfull teenagers now and was runner up for the Florida Father of the Year in 2004 just before re-locating out to California. I do remember the "Me Time" and that was when I woke up I gave myself one hour to do what I had to do. Then I would wake up the kids get them dressed, eat and go to day care before work. Those were the days and wouldn't change anything.

I can go on about being a single full-time dad but I should get with a response to your blog here.

I remember like it was yesterday the first time my daughter went to a sleep over and I worried so much about her being away because it was our first night apart in 4 years and I woke up several times thinking I heard her getting up for a glass of water. And I think checking on our childern during the night is something we all do.

The hardest time was when my son was ready to go to the "Florda School for the Deaf" and had to be away for a week at a time and I only got to see him on weekends. He was in the 5th grade then and I would wake up every night for the first couple of weeks and go check on him and is sister but he wasn't there.

Tismee2 said...

I hear my two constantly - that's because they are always here!

Unfortunately having elderly parents and no other family locally means we have no option. We go out singularly and apart from an odd afternoons holiday taken together to go and buy a freezer etc we always have one or the other or both tagging along behind.

Hope you enjoyed your 'you' time. Bet Max had a whale of a time too.

Momo Fali said...

What is this "me time" you speak of? I know it not.

rosiescribble said...

I, too, am exhausted after the holiday. While my 5 year old got up and played, she let me have the occasional lie-in. This morning she was bright-eyed ready for school while I stuggled to get up and have suffered with tiredness all day.

I hear her when she isn't here. I'm sure I hear her calling me when she's asleep but when I check on her she's sound asleep.

Strange. As parents I don't think we ever fully switch off.

Single Parent Dad said...

Mothership - Scary stuff ;-)

Single Mom Seeking - I'd be worried if we weren't crazy.

Kerrie - Thanks for sharing, and my boy does seem to 'change' even if it is just 24 hours.

Laura - Freaky isn't it?

Mama Nabi - Insanity is indeed plural.

The Dotterel - I agree.

SciFi Dad - I do, well it seems to escape my clutches quite often, and I am guided towards the Lego series at the minute. Will have to check out your recommendations.

Dadshouse - Glad you picked up on that. And I think I need to be working more exercise into my routine.

MindyMom - Yeah, that would suck.

Celtic Dragon - Hi Mike, I am glad you have found me, and sad that we share a similar plight. Thanks for sharing your stories. Look forward to interacting some more.

Tismee - I am very grateful for my options, and realise how good I have it.

Momo Fali - I didn't say 'you time', but I do wish you some very soon.

Rosiescribble - I agree, and I think that is it now, no complete switching off from here on in.

Bee and Rose said...

This happens to me all the time:) My son is now 12, daughter is 6...I actually told them to be quiet the other day when I heard a ruckus developing...only they weren't home! lol! (It was the TV my son had left on in his room...I am a huge nerd!) Then I actually laughed out loud at myself and said (out loud) "You are an idiot!" to my nerdy self! lol!

erin said...

yes. I like this blog too. Actually this time in the evening when I am reading and blogging is actually the time I'm trying to transition from full on kid engagement to a little bit of 'relax' before sleep. When I was kidless, I never had this kind of trouble chilling out. In fact, I think I was too chill and that is what makes this single parenting thing even more challenging for me. Awesome that you got a break! I hope you soaked it up!

Single Parent Dad said...

Bee and Rose - That is funny, you nerd ;-)

Erin - Thank you. And I have a similar routine.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Oh, hope you enjoyed it. Empty houses are just plain weird aren't they? :D

Pump style backpack said...

Hey there, I liked this post, you really remind me of the time I spent at my relatives last month.


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