I don't know how you do it, single parents. Much respect to you from this Stay At Home Dad who is usually very on top of things.
What needed to get done last night got done. Leda was, quite luckily, sleeping by 7pm...which meant that Cole could get my undivided attention for his bedtime routine. We got pajamas and read books and had milk and he wasn't happy about putting his head down on the pillow...but then again he never is. He was awake for the longest time and it required a couple "please put your cars down and try to go to sleep" before his room finally got quiet at 8:30pm.
But then there was this overwhelming...I can't put my finger on it. There I am by myself with nobody to talk to, not really in the mood for anything--internet, tv, reading--filled both with the wonderful idea that it had all gone fairly smoothly so far. And also the dread that at any moment I was sink-or-swim on duty so true relaxation was not in the cards.
The dog still needed a bedtime trip outside. Usually just a quick trip out into the courtyard for her to do business then back inside. But it tends to wake Leda up when the hound gets excited, the noises of the leash jingling, the rustle of coat and door opening. She did not wake up this time.
No, she waited until later for that. A random, out of the blue, angry, full on meltdown of epic levels that went as mysteriously as it came. (I'm guessing it has to do with her shots yesterday because she's been a grump.) So her sleep seemed to be delicate. And I was playing the guessing game with myself over the bitterly cold temps outside. Things Kelly and I would normally check off with each other...does Cole have enough blankets? Should we try and make him wear his socks to bed? Should I try to make Leda drink a bottle so she gets some Tylenol to sleep better?
Strangely, it was not the kids that gave me a rough night after that. I said goodnight to Kelly via text and slept well until neighbors were trying to jump start a car around midnight and I got the clicks of a wrench through our window to the alley. We live in an urban area so you never know what will happen out that window...domestic arguments, drunken peeing, hammering apart junk tvs for their internal components in the dark.
I was awake again at 4am not feeling well. Something I ate? Side effect of the flu shot I received? But when the alarm went off at 4:45am (the usual time) I was already half-awake to quietly take the dog out for her morning bathroom break. She jumped up into bed with me when we were done and helped keep me warm in the frigid Chicago weather and I slept until 7am. The usual time when the house starts to stir with life after Kelly has left for work. It was the best sleep I got. Perhaps secure that the "worst" was over.
Now it's just a regular day! I got this. Ok, so maybe we will have the unusual middle of the day dog walk where I'll have to bundle the kids and take both the stroller and leash myself. At least it feels normal though. Less tension about what needs to happen all day.
I'm sure with practice I'd master the art of two-toddler single parenthood. But I'm thankful I don't have to. Those of you who are required to be all things at all times every day to your kids? Well done. You all deserve a vacation and a massage.