Saturday, June 14, 2008

Guest Blog: Notes from "Mr. Mom"


Prelude - After I wrote this post, I thought I may need to make a couple of intro statements.

First, although I may make myself sound like a dead-beat dad, I really am a semi-responsible parent and I do spend time with my family...Its just a ton easier when I am not the primary and only care-giver.

Secondly, I would have loved to have posted some pictures like Meredith always does in her posts...but I really don't know how she has the time. I have lost 4 lbs. in two days because I haven't even had time to eat!!! So with that...Here is the run down of the last couple of days.


Well, as many of you may know, Meredith decided that if she had to live on the east coast, she might as well take advantage of it! Her mom, sister (brooke) and she headed up to New York early on Thursday morning for a shopping and broadway extravaganza. I told her I could work from home on Thursday and Friday and that I would be fine with the girls by myself....what the heck was I thinking!!!!

First off, Ella summarized my thinking exactly on Thursday morning. She woke up and asked where Mommy and Honey were, and I reminded her that they took a trip and that she would be here with Daddy for the weekend. She crinkled her nose, looked up at me, and said, "I am not too sure about this arrangement!" neither.

My approach to child-rearing differs from Meredith in many important ways. Meredith is always aware and concerned about the girls' mental development, their nutritional habits, maintaining a clean (and sanitary) home, not allowing them to watch too much television, having them nicely dressed, etc. I, on the other hand, really only have one focus: Don't let the children get bodily injured!!!! If they want to eat cheetos and fruit snacks, with a side of cracklin' oat bran while watching a non-stop marathon of Yo Gabba Gabba in their stained pajamas with hair that hasn't been combed for two days because daddy can't find a be it!

We started out Thursday morning with some downtime...The girls and I stayed down in the basement because I had a few sections of testimony to write and a few other loose ends to tie up. They played in the jumper (for those of you who don't know, we have a 12 x 12 blowup jumper in our basement...the girls love it!). I actually got my work done and the girls played perfectly together. In the afternoon, we ran out to blockbuster and rented "the borrowers" and Hello Kitty the Movie (I would have preferred something from either the Rocky or Rambo series, but Ella would have none of that...). We then went to the pool for an hour or so...Maddie wore the swim sweater and loved it! Ella decided that she is a big girl and didn't wear floaties of any kind. As long as she was in the shallow end of the pool, she was fine. She loves to jump off the side and to go under the water. She is soooo proud of herself!!! Then it was home for dinner. As all of my camping buddies know, "ol' cookie" is really only good at cooking breakfast, so I decided the girls could have boiled eggs, turkey bacon, potato pancakes, a few cracklin' oat brans, and some fresh cherries for dinner. Ella just loved it and told me, "daddy, this is the best tasting food that I have ever put in my mouth!" It was nice to have a little affirmation! Maddie went down to bed without a problem and Ella and I watched movies until 10:00.

Friday was not quite as easy of a day. There were multiple times that I had to go into the bathroom, shut the door and look myself in the mirror and say, "You can do this!!!" At one point, I was on a conference call, with Ella on my shoulders and Maddie holding my legs, covered in donut sugar and milk, all while trying to edit a pleading that I needed to get out before 5. As I hinted, we ran out for donuts at the "BPA" (ella's term for the bp gas station that has krispy kremes and pellet ice for Meredith's cokes) for breakfast....the girls love donuts! They both had one plain and split a chocolate covered. It was a sticky mess, but worth it to see them loving it! After a lunch of frozen burritos and guacamole, the girls decided to spare dear old dad's nerves and both of them took 2 hour afternoon naps! Without that downtime, I am fairly certain I would have lost my marbles. I got all of the Friday afternoon fires that always come up at my work put out and everything wrapped up for the weeked.

To reward the girls, I took them both to Chuck E. Cheese for playtime (that would be Chuckie Jesus in Ella speak...I know its wrong, but I laugh everytime she says it!). Ella ran around like a banchee while Maddie took in the sights and sounds. Maddie has a major love/hate relationship with large pretend animals like mascots at ballgames, puppets at parades, and that dang mouse at CEC. She would run up to the stage with her hands out and a smile, but as soon as he moved any part of his oversized body, she would get a look of terror in her eyes and run to me crying. We literally did that for 15 mintues. After an hour or so (in which papa had the chance to brush up on the fine art of skeeball a few times), we left to have "dinner at a restaraunt", at E's request.

I know many dads would take their kids to mc'ds or burger king...that is just not in my blood. For the folks who know me well, what follows will come as no surprise. I gave Ella the choice of the Moby Dick House of Kabob (Persian), El Tapico (Salvadoran), and Pollo Loco (Peruvian), all of which I have been eager to try. She picked Moby Dick so we had a dinner of Joojeh (some type of marinated steak), Chenideh (a chicken dish) and fallafel (spiced chickpeas that have been smashed and fried). Was it any good, you may ask? Let's just say it was reason # 1001 that I am glad to be an American. The girls liked the bread alot and ate some of the meat. Ella wasn't sure about the fallafel, but Maddie liked it ok. Maddie also ate most of the kalamata olives (I suspect that she thought they were spoiled cherries, but whatever works). It was definitely worth trying, but probably not worth going back. We then ran over to Kaleidoscoops for ice cream. Ella tried no less than half a dozen samples (with a line that was 20 deep...she is sooo my child. I am sure the other folks in line just hated us.) before settling on Rainbow Sherbet. After ice cream, it was home for a bath and straight to bed. Both girls were tuckered out so they went down pretty easy.

This morning we had another big breakfast of strawberry and honey pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, sliced banana, and cracklin' oat bran (the girls just love that stuff). After a few pillow fights and "raslin" matches, maddie is down for a nap and Ella is watching shows. We have been invited for burgers over at Meredith's friend, Jane's house this evening, which is such a nice gesture. It will be nice to be able to have some adult conversation (how many times have I heard that come out of Meredith's mouth?, do I now know how she feels) and then I have to start cleaning up the house before Meredith comes home tomorrow. It is an absolute wreck!

Well, that is my description of our time without Mom so far. I definitely have even more of an appreciation for my fantastic wife. She does such an amazing job of keeping our house, mothering our girls and loving her husband, I can't wait to have her back home!!! Hopefully, she has really enjoyed her girls' weekend and will come back renewed. Despite the stress and craziness, I have really loved being with my girls for an extended period. They are such special little people!

Ok, I have to go now...Ella just dumped a whole bag of pretzels in my bed...I hate sleeping on crumbs!!!

One worn out, but happy, Mr. Mom,



Liz Folds said...

Jeff-kudos to you for doing such a great job while Mere has been gone. It's so nice to see a father be "Mr. Mom" and enjoy it. Matt is learning that as well. I hope he will be as good as you with Amelia.

Love you and miss you all!
Aunt LeeLee (Liz)

The Cascio Whirlwind said...

You are a fantastic father and hubby to Mer. Thanks for letting her get some time away. You never know what life holds with two girls, but you seem to be tackling it all too well. I am laughing reading all of this. And yes, I too wish you had posted pics! I would have loved to see them in their stained jammies with wild hair!

Meredith said...

I can't wait for Graham to read this! You are doing a great thing. I need to plan a weekend getaway just to see how G would do!!! Hopefully we can come visit you guys soon.

The Phaup Family said...

I absolutely love this post. I found myself snorting out loud on numerous occasions. I think every Daddy needs to read this!!!!

tuckerfam said...

oh MY HYSTERICAL brother!!!
You are a NUT!!! You are a GREAT daddy and a great husband for giving mere that much needed girls trip! I am sure the girls had an absolute blast with their DADDY! I know Caleb loved going to the "Uncle Bubba" daycare!!! Cant wait for our big visit in make me laugh all the time!!!
I love u!