Come Friday, I’m about to embark on a journey of solo-parenting.
No, my hubby and I are not parting ways in our marriage, but I will be heading to the mainland to spend 5 days “alone”, acting as caregiver to two lovely little ladies that I have spent time caring for while summering here on Salt Spring. I was delighted when their mama asked me if staying with the girls while she went to visit her husband, who is teaching in Moscow, is something I would consider.
These girls are fantastic. The whole family is fantastic, actually, which probably has a lot to do with how awesome the children are. But even though my temporary charges will no doubt be very obedient and helpful, the thought of being the only adult in a house of 3 young children – my year-old babe, a 4-year-old and an almost-7-year-old – and their new puppy (surprise!) is a little overwhelming, I must admit.
So how do I prepare for the world as I know it, with only one kidlet and a hubby, who is a very much needed helper with taking over the bean at the end of his work day, is turned upside down? Well, to be honest, I haven’t done any preparing yet, but it’s getting very close, so I should probably start.
Some things that will help to make parenting by myself an easier endeavour:
A safe place to corral the munchkin – Fortunately for me, little Z is happy to entertain herself with her books and toys inside a playpen for a good amount of time. I can usually get at least 15-20 minutes of cooking/cleaning/reading at a time in the morning while she catches up with her things. Being that I’ve already arranged a playpen to be at the girl’s house, I can check this off the list.
As I will be walking on the ferry with myself, our week’s worth of clothes and items, a stroller, diaper bag and the giant car seat she now has graduated to, there certainly will be no way to bring Z’s exersaucer – a godsend when I need to shower. Hopefully I’ll be able to fit Z’s playpen into a bathroom so I can scrub up, or we’ll have to work out another way for me to get clean. Any suggestions? And no, showering with me is not an option for us. Too slippery and wiggly for me to handle.
A stroller – Being that we will also be caring for a furry, bouncy, energetic puppy dog, multiple walks a day will be necessary. I’m looking at this as a good thing, as getting outside with the little one has been very much lacking since the weather turned chilly. I fully agree that it’s important to get outside and play, whatever the weather. Unfortunately, I am lazy and wimpy once the sun isn’t shining so brightly. Having a dog that needs to be walked will force us outdoors. This also means a stroller will be necessary. It will also be helpful for carrying the babe, and some of our luggage while we try to muster ourselves on and off the ferry rides to and from Vancouver.
Easy meals and a stocked refrigerator – The girls’ mom is planning on setting us up for success by going for a big grocery shop the night I arrive, to make sure that we all have lots of food in the house to make eating easier. I’ll think of a few meal ideas to share with her, so that cooking (something I’m not particularly excited about on a good day) can happen with a little less stress.
Outing plans – The weekdays should be fairly easy to handle, seeing as both girls are in school and daycare during the day, but it’s always nice to get out of the house and go find some fun (I say this now… stay tuned for how easy it actually is). With a Christmas craft fair and a swimming date with their friends already planned for the weekend days, I think we’re in for some good adventures to pass the time.
Some fun items/activities – The girls are familiar with the fact that I generally have a bag of tricks packed when I spend time with them. It’s usually full of puppets to put on shows, books to read, trinkets to explore, and little games we can play. Because of the whole walk-on-ferry business, I won’t be able to bring the whole shebang, but I will at least bring a few of my babe’s favourite toys and books to keep her busy, and a few small items that will help inspire fun with the olders. I’ll peruse my great big collection of child-delighting items and art supplies, but what immediately comes to mind are three jeweled boxes that have been a huge success in entertaining us all for hours while we take turns hiding and seeking the treasures. I like this game quite a lot, as when you are the hider, if you find a tricky hiding spot, you get some time to yourself while the kiddies are seeking.
I’m really looking forward to hanging out in my old stomping grounds of North Van, getting to visit the beloved preschool I worked at there for 3 wonderful years, seeing missed faces of friends, doing some big-city shopping, and spending some really quality time with two of the most amazing little girls I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Oh, and did I mention they have a hot tub?
Are you a single parent on a full-time basis? How do you do it? Any tips or suggestions for what might make my life even a smidgen easier are gladly welcome!!
Update: Do you want to find out all the dirty details of the challenging adventure that ensued? Involving mysterious outbreaks, police and more!! Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.