Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Daddy, Why Do You Keep Yelling About Foxes?

I also wanted to use this blog to blather on about being a Stay At Home Dad. I'd written a whole bunch of nonsense already since early April already and wanted to include that here as well. So everything I enter today (June 22) was actually written already. I've put the date of each original entry above each post. Tomorrow life will resume as normal. 

APRIL 5, 2011

So I'm one week in to being the full-time stay-at-home person. As some of you may know my wife and I decided about four years ago that she would put her ridiculously high-level engineering career on hold. Fast forward four years, and I'd quit my awesome civil service job, we'd moved back to the US, I'd dallied in the evil that is the insurance industry for 2 years and then was unceremoniously fired by complete surprise last October. I spent a few months working a joke job, surrounded by miscreants, in one of the most appalling cities I've ever had the misfortune to be in. The full details of it all are too clunky (and boring I would think) but the short version is that I am now the one staying home, and my wife's career is pretty much at the stage it would have been if she'd never taken any time off. She started her new job last Monday. And so did I.

I've had days off. I can't remember when that was, but during the week I have had time off and been with my family. Weekends too of course. But being at home all day every day is weird. Especially without my wife. I'd sat my kids down, even the one year old, and told them the changes. Mommy is going to work now, and I'm staying home. I'd be a stay-at-home Dad. I'd take care of them. Show them the ropes - the meaning of life - all that jazz. Yes, I pointed out to them that I was now in charge. I should have known that something would go askew when my daughter's only response to that was, "what is that smell Daddy?" After ten minutes of trying to identify where a possible smell could be coming from my daughter - terrible at maintaining a lie for any longer - told me that she made up the smell thing because I was making the whole thing waaay more boring than it needed to be. Fair enough. Needless to say - I wanted to do a good job. Secretly I wanted to show my wife that staying home with the kids is piss easy. I mean really - it's not like going to work or anything right?

So by Wednesday I'd lost my daughter's favorite hat, one of my son's brand new shoes, what was left of my mind, the laptop had died, my son had urinated into the heating vent in my room and my kid's sleeping schedules had been completely ruined. Now, I don't sleep - it's a disgusting habit - but my daughter was finally like clockwork. To bed at 7.15pm and awake around 8am. Now she was just not going to bed at all but had decided that 5.30am was a great time to get up. Tuesday my daughter tried getting up at 4am with me. No chance. After fighting to get her to stay in bed until 6am she rope-a-doped me and faked sleeping until I got dozy, then she buggered off downstairs without me. That night she stayed awake until 10pm. Mostly she lay in bed yelling that she couldn't sleep because I'd lost her hat.

It had only been two days but she'd already started developing serial-killer behavior and it was clearly my fault. I'd agreed to let her just stay up if she stayed in her room. When I came upstairs to check on her she'd tried on all of her clothes and put them in the laundry. Okay - that can be fixed. She'd also somehow found two whole packets of Post It notes and stuck them side-by-side in the hallway. But worse she'd lined up all her books in a grid on every flat surface upstairs and put a toy (mostly a kind of figure) in the center of each book. And then she started screaming that she couldn't get out of the room because she was surrounded. When I attempted to pick them up she went mental claiming that I was destroying all her friend's houses.

Wednesday morning I got it - I have to actually raise the kids, not just supervise them while they play in the room. I didn't get it right away. A few things happened first. I was aware I'd probably spent a bit too much time on the computer goofing around Monday and Tuesday. After the kids woke up I got them something to eat and went to check my email and was notified that a multitude of Trojans were wanking around in my computer. I tried fixing it but got nowhere. Nothing worked. Worse than that - actually running exe. files gave me the Blue Screen Of Death. I'm not especially savvy with computers but I know when I'm defeated - this was it. After explaining the whole thing to my buddy - he is very computer savvy - he told me that fixing it would be such a pain in the arse that I should just format the thing and start again. I needed a break so I went upstairs to do the laundry and change my son's diaper. I got the clean stuff out of the dryer and chucked the dirty stuff in the wash. I grabbed my son, chucked him on the floor and went to change him. My son had defecated so much that I actually had to wash his legs. Monkey fudge had even worked it's way down to his feet. I hadn't adequately prepared for such a monstrosity so I ran across to the kid's room to get more toweling cloth to clean him up, and ran back. Took maybe 5 seconds. When I came back my son - still plastered in half shit/half spinach was sitting in the pile of laundry I'd taken out of the dryer. I instinctively started swearing. At which point my daughter came into the room and asked me, "why do you keep yelling about foxes Daddy?"

That's when I got it. Stop with the attitude, and start being a proper Dad. After I've fixed the laptop. Then the computer died - it just wouldn't even turn on. At which point God showed up and told me I'd been spending way too much time dicking around on the computer. "Your will power sucks" he said, "so this is easier - less chance of you making the wrong choice. Oh - I know about all the music you've "acquired" and have on your external hard drive too. Not cool. And stop with the porn - seriously it's getting weird." Shit. I hate getting busted like that. So I was without a laptop for a day and a half and my external hard drive is now empty. On the plus side I spent every minute of my time playing with the kids.

Thursday I volunteered to babysit my niece. I don't like other people's children, but this is family - you just have to. After a few hours it had become very clear that this girl's two favorite hobbies were screaming and shitting herself. I cannot stand whiners and screamers and she was it. But I took this as another kind of test and tried to be as nice as possible and play with them all. Then the little shit started just beating my son with stuff and trying to stab him in the face with a fork. When I would try to stop her she'd scream that she wanted her mother, and invariably either piss or shit herself. Even my daughter got sick of playing with her and they ended up in entirely different parts of the house.

So I'm one week down and two days down now. Right now my daughter is upstairs arranging things in fractals. My son is asleep on the couch. Dinner is in the crock-pot, laundry is done, and the mailman just got here. So far so good. I'm supposed to do some writing but frankly I'm not in the mood. Not being surrounded by clearly mental nut-bars has dented things a little. This took three days for starters. I'm hoping a few of you will read it anyway.

Okay - time for pot of coffee number two.

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