Occasionally It Works (But Usually It Doesn’t)

February 6th, 2012  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  7 Comments

A finely tuned machine

So Tomoko was out of town for a couple of nights this week on a business trip, and it happened to fall on the nights I had JP. This meant two kids at home to take care of, along with work, dog, cat, and various other responsibilities. I mention this not as an exercise in cyber-bitching (which I very much enjoy), but instead as a way to demonstrate how incredibly good a father I have become: I’m pretty fantastic.

Back a few years now, when it was just me and JP for long stretches, the thought of taking care of two little people on my own would have been highly intimidating. How do you feed, clean, and not totally ruin two dependents at the same time? Doesn’t one get in the way of the other, like Cain and Abel, Romeo and Juliet, peas and carrots? One was tough enough–but two? Perish the thought.

Yet there was a moment last night when I had completed dinner for both kids–a dinner, I might add, that JP even ate–when I had managed to navigate JP through his bath while changing Ellie’s diapers and getting her into her pajamas; when I had answered every one of JP’s nightly 5 million questions while making sure he brushed his teeth and Ellie ran around the room holding my shoes and brandishing a copy of the New Yorker; when both were in the bedroom at the same time, in the dark–JP drifting to sleep, Ellie on my lap sipping a bottle–there was this moment, it happened, when I knew they would both go down easily for the night, and that I could handle both at the same time and it would be no big deal; that I could tell JP a quick story and give Ellie a last pat on the cheek before dropping her gently into the crib; and it would all be just Jim Dandy.

What was particularly nice about this, you see, was that while, in my estimation, life with children generally offers a great many long-term rewards–loving relationships, pride, someone to keep you out of a hospice–but in the short term? It’s not always so easy, frankly, and mostly feels more like struggle and strife and poop (and calling things poop) and tears and the fact that I haven’t been to a movie in over a year.

But last night was pretty good, mostly because for the first time in a long time, I felt like I owned the whole damn thing.


  1. scottstev says:

    February 6th, 2012at 11:46 am(#)

    My wife often travels for work, and I understand the struggle. While my youngest was under two, it was an immense accomplishment keeping them both alive for an evening. Now, I can go a full week without breaking a sweat including a “workday” in there that could theoretically go 24 hours.

    Of course, women would be expected to handle any number of kids for as long as it takes: so while we (deservedly) congratulate each other on maintaining the next generation, let us remind ourselves of the burden this culture places on the smarter/prettier half of the population.

  2. dadwagon says:

    February 6th, 2012at 12:33 pm(#)

    @scottev: Sure, many women do more of the kind of work you’re talking about, but how many do you know who do it without expecting or receiving congratulation? At least in my home, when I’ve traveled, I’ve returned home to my wife’s stories either of her triumphs, or, more frequently, how difficult the whole thing was. In short–I’m sticking with me being awesome!
    humbly yours,

  3. Mo says:

    February 6th, 2012at 1:26 pm(#)

    Well done,Ted.

    I clicked on the link for this article expecting tips on how to get through the next time Paul leaves. He was gone for three of our bath time and bedtime routines this week and it sucked. He helps a LOT! We had one good night one rough night. I was going to proclaim today to be National Buy a Solo Parent Lunch Day, but I was too tired to type last night. I truly, and I say this as a mother of twins, do not know how people parent young children without a partner. Totally mind-boggling and amazing.

  4. dadwagon says:

    February 6th, 2012at 1:30 pm(#)

    Mo–Twins are nuts! Nuts, I tell you!!! With Paul or without, I shudder with fear at the very mention of the word twins. Have a nice day–Theodore.

  5. Mo says:

    February 6th, 2012at 1:38 pm(#)

    One thing I did try to do over my weekend alone, was to try to have a “fuck-yeah” attitude instead of a pity party. For instance, I was feeding both babies on Saturday when I noticed a wet spot on my side. I realized that Abe had shit his way through his pajamas and his sleep sack and my shirt. Rather than be upset I took a picture of my distress and said “fuck yeah this is a ridiculous situation.” It made it easier to laugh, and easier to get through. It’s my goal to have lots our crappy moments up on shitmykidsruined.com.

  6. dadwagon says:

    February 6th, 2012at 1:46 pm(#)

    I’m going to carry that image of Abe soiling you around with me for the rest of the day, Mo. Thank you.


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