When Dad’s away, life at home is anything but a vacation

My husband went to China for work. Contrary to what our 4-year-old would tell you, he wasn’t on vacation. But here at home, we had loads of fun.

The very first day my daughter threw up all over the stairs at the doctor’s office. It even hit her fluffy pink boots. I stood there, paralyzed for a second, and then begged a random passerby to get us paper towels.

On the stinky ride home, I gripped the steering wheel tight. Uh-oh. What if my son and I got sick, too? I reached for the hand sanitizer.

Luckily, my son and I stayed well. But my daughter threw up all over our leather couch and became too ill to drink water. After 48 hours, we rushed her to the Seattle Children’s Hospital emergency room. Anti-nausea medicine helped her finally keep liquids down.

The next few days were a marathon of Disney movies that have scarred me for life. If anyone — and I mean anyone — sings the soundtrack to “Frozen” in my presence, I’ll stick Olaf’s carrot where it doesn’t belong.

Finally, by day five, my daughter was healthy enough to leave the house. We went to Costco and bought the three C’s: coffee, cookies and calzones. I officially gave up cooking.

A couple of days later I earned the “Worst Mother of the Year” award. My son got a splinter in his hand that I couldn’t get out even after considerable poking with tweezers. I sent him to bed with a Band-Aid. Fortunately, my mother-in-law came over the next day and removed the splinter with a needle.

On day nine, my daughter assaulted the leather couch again. She accidentally spilled smoothie right next to the puke mark. I tried to clean things up with soap, water, Lysol and baking soda. The couch smelled considerably fresher, but one side became permanently crunchy.

My heroic moment came on day 10. The toilet started running at 11:29 p.m. and I figured out how to fix it all by myself. A piece of bleach tablet had gotten stuck under the flapper. I’m glad that worked because turning off the water and abandoning the upstairs bathroom was Plan B.

Throughout all of this, my husband kept up with our adventures via Skype. Our son was a Skype natural, but our daughter kept asking “Daddy, what am I wearing? Can you guess?” Taken out of context, that would be creepy.

On day 14 we cleaned up the house because Daddy was coming home.

Except he wasn’t.

His trip got extended two more days! The kids and I ate frozen yogurt for dinner. Compared to single parents, I’m a wuss.

When homecoming finally arrived on day 16 with hugs, presents and laundry, it was very sweet.

Parenting just got two times easier.

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at teachingmybabytoread.com.

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