Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Tot is learning to swim. Well...

Jenny has been taking Tate to swimming lessons after work at the local YMCA this week.

I went to see them on Wednesday and promptly disrupted everything (as soon as Tate saw me he stopped paying attention to the instructor and just started pointing and yelling "Da-DEE! Da-DEE!") so I had to leave the poolside area and watch from inside the building.

Not sure if what I saw would qualify as a "swimming lesson" since there is no swimming involved right now. Tate isn't even 2 yet, so these appointments are more about getting him acquainted with the water -- something he's never had a problem with -- and learning some basic paddling (more like splashing) motions.

Tate's coming along, but on the first day Jenny told me about how they tried to use a ball to get him to sort of "crawl" in the water. They take the ball and float it about 10 feet away, and, since Tate LOVES balls, he starts screaming and pointing at it "Ball! Ball! Ball!" while Jenny holds him up in the water on his stomach so he can "crawl" toward it.

Only Tate won't crawl. He just keeps shouting "Ball! Ball!" like everyone around him is some kind of idiot for not noticing the ball floating away like Wilson. Meanwhile Jenny is saying "You're gonna have to swim to it, Tate; c'mon Tate, swim." Whereupon Tate finally stops yelling, looks at the instructor, looks at Jenny, then just throws up his hands and says "Bye bye, ball."


Later when we get home, I go to get him out of his swim diaper and discover he has pooped. I don't think he pooped in the pool, however, because ...well... I'm getting pretty good at poop forensics and I just don't think this was ever submerged. Don't think we need any more detail than that. But I did take note that the wet clothes and general smell of chlorine masked the poop smell effectively. I'll have to remember that.

Due to Jenny's busy schedule, I get to take him to the pool next week. That ought to be fun.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Single Dad Day 5: The Last Stand.

Jenny gets home from Mexico in about an hour.

Tate is having a great afternoon, happy and bouncing and all smiles. He has just a trace of a cough left, but is otherwise none the worse for wear. He'll be almost exactly like he was when Jenny left, which is all she really asked for, so mission accomplished.

This was a heck of an experience. Sort of a confidence-builder. Many thanks to Mama Mia and Big Guy for all the help this week.

Glad it's over. I can resume my normal duties of running errands, driving us to the in-laws, making pork chops, leaving beer bottles around the house and watching baseball.

Welcome home, Jenny!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Single Dad Day 4: Back to normal. Sort of.

Highlights for the day:
  1. Tate seems nearly fully recovered from croup in a scant three days
  2. He's back home with me and though he was kind of cranky, we had a pretty good night, except
  3. He barfed on me, himself, and our bed when I tried to give him his last pill
The sheets are washing as I write this.

This was my very first barf as a dad, and it was -- how to say this? -- Hollywood quality. Bits of hot dog, cheese, goldfish crackers, a couple of blueberries, one Nilla wafer and a lot of milk. Oh, and one "orally disintegrating" steroid tablet. Right. It should just be a law: Cats and kids do not do pills. 

Speaking of pills, I'm glad Tate is home, but he was a moody Tot most of the evening. One minute he's talking and laughing, the next minute he's throwing a fit about...what? I can never tell. I try everything -- milk, a snack, pick him up, put him down, play some music, play on the computer, play a video -- nothing works, until he just kind of snaps out of it and is fine and happy again. Until the next fit. I'm pretty sure he was tired, and a little frustrated, and I'm positive he misses his mother (so do I). He asks about her about once an hour, and it pisses him off when I can't produce her. But I'm still glad to have him here. I just checked on him and he's snoozing now.

The puke was disgusting, but it didn't bother me at first because he was scared and I was way more concerned with comforting him and calming him down than with the mess. I kind of surprised myself, really. People always talk about a mother's instincts, but dads have them, too. 

It wasn't until I had to go back and clean it up and strip down the bed that I gagged a little bit.

Jenny gets back from Mexico tomorrow night. She will arrive to a mostly clean house, a mostly well kid, a mostly tired husband and clean sheets on the bed. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Single Dad Day 3: Kids mess with your head

Tate is doing fine. That's the most important thing.

He has been at his grandmother's house since yesterday afternoon and will remain there tonight, and every time I have called he's been great. He's eating fine, he's getting his meds, he's getting plenty of sleep and plenty of love from his doting grandparents. He is happy, clean and safe.

And yet, he is there and I am here and his mother is in Mexico

This morning I felt fine about that. But around lunchtime I started feeling the first, faint pangs of guilt, and I called my in-laws to check and see if everything was going okay. All was well, said my father-in-law, in what ranked among the shortest phone calls I've probably ever had with any relative and yet may be the longest phone call I've ever had with my father-in-law. I could hear Tate in the background, happily gabbing away, just like he always does. No crying. No yelling. No sounds of furniture crashing. Or sirens. Everything was fine, just like it always is when Tate stays with the Dodsons. 

Heck, if anything he was probably having more fun there than he would be having here, because they have a proper back yard with a sand box and grass and there's even a dog to play with. Tate loves dogs. 

We have two cats; one that scratches Tate and one that runs from Tate.

I felt better for the moment, but it was soon eating at me again, in spite of a fairly busy work day. I worried that somehow, some way, even though I had been assured repeatedly by my mother-in-law that it was fine to leave Tate there for another night, I was being a lousy, lazy, self-absorbed parent. Tate does have croup. If I went and got him it's likely he'll have a few coughing spells in the middle of the night that will be enough to wake both of us up, and I'll be a sleep-deprived wreck with two more days to take care of him while still trying to be productive at work.  

But that's terribly selfish. I'm just whining now. And it seems like I don't want to spend any time with my kid, which could not be farther from the truth; I love spending time with Tate.

Am I just scared? Well, yes, there is some fear. As I said in the previous post, I haven't been the go-to parent for most anything that doesn't involve construction, garbage, loud machinery, heavy lifting, driving, or cooking (yes, I do most of the cooking at home, but trust me; it's better for everyone that way). I'm realizing just how much I have depended on Jenny for the hands-on parenting work. Not that I don't do any hands-on stuff; I've changed plenty of diapers and given plenty of baths and put Tate in his PJs plenty of times. I just don't do those things as much as Jenny. 

Back to fear. I knew having to take care of Tate alone wasn't going to be a walk in the park; but having to take care of him alone while he's sick is downright panic-inducing. I'd be totally lying if I didn't admit that the fear of something  bad happening to Tate on my watch is a big reason why he's with his grandparents tonight. This ain't their first rodeo, after all, and it shows whenever I have called to check on Tate. Mama Mia is a school teacher. She also raised three kids of her own. Not much is going to catch her by surprise anymore.

If not selfish, does this at least make me a coward? Well, it kind of feels like it. I have called another couple of times since then, and Tate is still there, happy as a clam. I'm still torn about not going to see him tonight, but then, I'll see him tomorrow morning. Jenny is downright distraught that she can't be here, like any good mom would be, even though there really isn't anything bad happening. Like I said at the beginning of this overly-long post, Tate is fine.

It's harder to speak for Tate's parents.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Single Dad Day 2: Things go terribly awry


Yesterday went about as well as could be expected, and as I put the little Godlovit to sleep at precisely 9:05 p.m., I nearly sprained my elbow patting myself on the back for being such an awesome, responsible, terrific dad.

Karma, as they say, is a bitch.

At about 1 a.m. Tate woke up crying. This is not at all unusual, though I had a little streak going on nights when I kept him alone (2-3 nights maybe) where he was making it all the way through the night. It was a source of pride and more evidence of my mad parenting skillz.

But not this night, so I went and got him and put him in bed with me. I noticed a little raspy note to his breathing, but it wasn't enough to worry me and besides, he was asleep as soon as he hit the mattress, so I didn't think much of it.

I set the alarm for 6 a.m. and it woke both of us, but we stayed in bed for another 20 mins., whereupon I realized he was really sounding awful. He sounded like a sea lion. Okay, maybe not exactly like a sea lion, but he was having a rough time of it. Still, he was in good spirits, and as the morning went on, he seemed to be getting better (he didn't have a fever -- I checked), so I got him dressed and took him to daycare, still raspy but not nearly as bad as he was when he woke up. I told the daycare supervisor to call me if he got worse, and figured I probably wouldn't get called. And besides, Mama Mia (Tate's Texas grandmother) was going to be picking him up early anyway and keeping him that night (yes, I was going to take a night off after one lousy day; back off), so I was concerned, but not really worried.

Okay, so, I get a call at work before I can even finish checking my emails. Tate is back to sea-lion again, and I need to come get him.

Shit....ShitShitShit....Shit. Dad does not do emergencies, or shots, or sick kids, or any of that. Jenny has always handled stuff like that. I can't even spell the doctor's name. Hell, I got lost once trying to find Tate's doctor's office, and it's less than three miles from our house. No, I do not do the sick kid thing -- until today.

I'll shorten this up. I called Mama Mia and had her make an appointment with Tate's doc, while I left work and drove 80 mph the whole way to his daycare, where I found him napping in the supervisor's office. He sounded so bad. :( Along the way I connected with Jenny in Cabo to let her know what was up. She mumbled and slurred her way through something about Don Julio and poppers and hand-stands and said she'd have to get back to me later, like about 9 p.m. or so.

Just kidding. She was fine, and very concerned, and helped me by telling me about Tate's insurance and stuff. Mama Mia kept in touch with her while we were at the pediatrician's office, where Tate was diagnosed with the croup. He got a shot (not fun) but was breathing much better before we left the office. He's got to take some steroids (not those steroids) to make himself well, and I have been advised that even with the meds, it's going to be a rough 3-4 nights, at least, and this could go on as long as two weeks.

And I was really thinking this whole single dad thing was going to be easy. Like I said, Karma is a bitch. At least the Tot is doing a lot better now. We've been very fortunate to this point as far as wellness has been concerned with Tate. I suppose you can't dodge every bullet, though.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I am Single Dad

Sorry it's been so long since my last post. I can't ever get Jenny off the computer.

That won't be a problem for the next five days, however, as Jenny has left town to scope out Cabo San Lucas for the next big FedEx party, leaving me alone with the Tot. 

So far, so good. We had McD'd for breakfast (pancakes & eggs for him, McMuffin for me), played & watched political talk shows (Tate is very concerned with the goings-on in Iran and hopes a consensus can be 
reached between the rival parties before there is more bloodshed) for about four hours, and made a grocery store/bank run.

At the grocery, Tate got one of those carts with a car on the front. He loves those because he likes to face forward and because he likes to grab the ankles of passers-by. I think they are a pain because they're like, nine feet long and hard to maneuver around a crowded grocery -- but they're worth the hassle because it keeps Tate relatively quiet and he can't see the balloons as easily.

Everything has been great except that when I went to get him out of the car after the grocery run, he was eating something. Just finishing it, actually. Problem was I didn't give him anything to eat. I don't even want to think about what it was, or where he might have found it. It looked like it might have been a Goldfish cracker, which he might have pulled from the between the cushions in his car seat, but I don't know.

For lunch he ate an entire container of Mississippi blueberries, which I was very proud to serve. And he ate a banana, but I don't know where it came from. Probably South America, which is like Mississippi in many respects.

He's down for his nap now. Hopefully he'll stay sacked out long enough for me to take a quick dump and get the kitchen straightened out. Check back tonight for recap of Day 1.