So this past weekend my wife went on a 4-day vacation getaway with some friends from high school. Without our son. This marks the first time in his entire existence that he has been away from mommy overnight. So who gets to take care of baby? Me. Taking care of him. For FOUR. WHOLE. DAYS. A daunting task no doubt, so naturally I headed straight up to Grandma’s house for some support. So how did things go? Well here’s 10 things I learned on my adventure:
1) This was not the same as being a single parent. I got tons of help from my mother and I knew that after four days my wife would be back. That’s a huge difference from knowing that you are the sole provider and responsible party for a child day in and day out. As I’ve said before, it really does take two. Mad props again to all the single parents out there.
2) It takes a TON of energy to care for a child. “Duh” statement, right? It’s definitely a full-time job, and I knew that going in. But having to plan, prepare, be on point, and supervise nearly every second of the day? Downright exhausting. My wife deserves an award.
3) Despite the energy expenditure, it was actually fun. Even before I had kids I could see myself as a stay-at-home dad. This weekend confirmed that I’d actually like it.
4) My son and I grew closer. A lot closer. I’m the one he needed to depend on for feeding, changing, transport, and getting to sleep. When things got rough he clung even tighter to me. Regardless of whoever else we were visiting, I was his entire world. That’s immensely humbling.
5) He really did miss his mommy. His closeness to me was also a necessity. Mommy wasn’t there to nurse him to sleep, comfort him when he’s upset, or play with him. I had to figure out how to live up to the task.
6) He made it really easy for me. Went down for naps with no fuss. Took a bottle, even with formula in it. Slept for unprecedented stretches at a time (7 hours!!!). Slept in every morning. Travelled like a champ. Smiled, and smiled, and smiled. It’s like he knew it was my rookie debut so he took it easy on me instead of putting me through the wringer.
7) I never thought I’d rejoice over my son pooping. My son has been breast-fed 99.9% of his existence. This weekend we used a combination of pumped breast milk and formula to get us through (YOU try pumping enough milk for 4 entire days while also feeding a baby. It ain’t easy.). So naturally the formula messed with his little digestive system and he didn’t poop until Day 3. Worried? You bet I was. And thus when the poop cometh forward, there was much rejoicing! Now that said…..
8) Formula diapers are friggin’ nasty. In retrospect I’m sooooooo glad my wife was able to breastfeed because nearly a week later I’m still trying to get that awful diaper smell out of my nose. I now see the value in Diaper Genies. Do they make Diaper Incinerators?
9) The time bomb never went off. I kept waiting for the meltdown. The nuclear “You-all-suck-and-mommy-needs-to-come-home-now-because-she’s-the-only-one-I-want” tirade. Considering these were the first four days ever that he was away from mommy, it would have been completely justified. Yet it never happened, which makes my son all the more awesome.
10) We were both excited and relieved when mommy came home. As fun as the adventure was, there’s no place like home, and there’s truly nothing better than being together as a family.