Don't panic, you haven't missed the official Father's day. What I am referring to is a day when dad is at home with the kids, and mum goes off to work.
It's been like that for the last two days. J normally runs her business from home, but there are times when she has to hit the road and press the flesh, and now is one of those times. Unfortunately for me, that time also coincided with days where the kids were not in daycare, and Junior was either at school or roped in to helping J with her business stuff. He's normally a great help when I am left with the little tackers, but today, he was earning cash.
What does a day with dad entail?
Normally, it would include a lot of time at a park or playground, either outdoors or in - but that was out this time as all of us are sick and J needed the car for work. If we are stuck at home, we generally try to spend a reasonable amount of time outside making sand castles and painting and kicking balls and blowing bubbles, but the weather was too miserable for doing that for more than half an hour today.
That meant it was very much an indoors kind of day. Monkey would normally want to do lots of drawing and building things with blocks and puzzles, but he was too lethargic to do that for a good chunk of the day. So he watched Madagascar on DVD. About 8 times. I am getting ready to scratch that disk well and good. He also demonstrated that he is now able to drag a chair over to the kitchen bench, climb onto the bench and get a jar of peanut butter out of the top cupboard. I almost fell over when he walked out of the lounge room and came back in a minute later with a jar in hand. He eschews the idea of putting peanut butter on a cracker and then eating cracker and peanut butter - he prefers to eat it straight from the jar, eliminating this whole cracker "middle-man" idea.
Even though we had the TV going for a good chunk of the day, we still managed to play with lots of toys in the lounge room. By the time I cleaned up at the end of the day, we had a train track, a race track, a cubby house, a stack of wooden blocks and piles of Duplo blocks, along with five different Buzz Lightyear's arrayed in readiness for jumping off the couch ("To infinity - and beyond!")
We also fiddled with some play dough in the backyard (which I made myself, and it turned out a shocking pink) which we used to make snowmen - which kept falling over. Monkey did some "chop-chop", which means he cuts junk mail into a thousand itty little bits with his scissors, and we did "stickers", whereby I bought a book of 600 stickers, and we spent an hour pulling them out of the book and sticking them onto things. I made the prime boo-boo of buying stickers that you need artificial fingernails in order to get them out of the book - either that, or you need to slip a scalpel under each sticker to lift it. My fingers are almost bleeding from lifting stickers.
One thing we didn't do was letters - I draw letters and Monkey reads them out, or I draw a picture of something (like a frog) and we then write "frog", and he reads the letters out. He then traces the letters to get used to writing them. He was over that - he jumped into my office chair instead and typed his name using the keyboard instead.
Mr Squishy refused to eat or drink anything that I offered him, so J had to return halfway through the day to top him up. I spent most of the day carrying him from room to room, sitting him on the couch, then the floor, then the couch again, then the bed etc etc etc. He sat on the bed whilst I folded laundry. He sat on the couch as I ironed shirts. He sat on his bed and bashed two penguins together as I picked up the toys off the floor. He sat in his high chair and stuck his hand into the tub of yogurt that I was trying to feed him, and then rubbed his hand through his hair. He sat in a mini-me chair in the kitchen as I baked ANZAC biscuits and did several loads of washing up. And then thankfully he had two sleepy-sleeps, and failed to poo all day.
Monkey also discovered today that he comes off second best when Mr Squishy is around and mummy is not. If Mr Squishy was crying, Mr Squishy was attended to. Monkey of course is used to having me to himself, and he took umbrage at the usurpation of his position in the hierarchy. At one point, Monkey jumped on the bed and whacked his head on a bed post, and as I went to grab him, Mr Squishy leaned forward on the bed and I whacked him in the face with the hand that was reaching for Monkey. I had two bawling kids sitting in my lap, with Monkey trying to push Mr Squishy out of the way so that he was the only one getting a hug. God, what a mess.
The house was not a total disaster area when J got home. I'd managed to wash everything in the house, including Junior's ponging teenager bed linen. But I had not managed to shower all day, and hadn't left the house or been able to answer the phone. Our bed was a mess from us playing hide and seek under the covers with Mr Squishy. I was completely over Madagascar (I am ready to strange Chris Rock) and I'd barely managed to eat any lunch. As soon as J walked in the door with Junior, I shot out the door to get the shopping done.
I have come to the conclusion that the way to have a happy family life is to keep the grandparents nearby. If this happens again, I am going to fly one of our parents into town for the day. I am stuffed. This is the first bit of time I have had to myself all day.