Monday, May 15, 2006

Top Ten Tips For Temporary Solo Dadding 

So here's the situation: my wife is going abroad to visit relatives for about a week and a half, so I'll be parenting solo for a little while.

But fear not for my children. One of the conditions Sharon laid down before she agreed to go was that I promise -- solemnly promise -- that I will give the kids vegetables while she is gone. I immediately reassured her that I would order every pizza with green pepper on at least a few slices. But Sharon knows I was kidding and has agreed to go anyway.

So now, less than 24 hours away from Sharon's departure, the start of my biggest parenting test yet, I've begun assembling a plan of action for how I'm going to manage this situation -- not that I expect it to be difficult or anything. If you've got any other ideas that can simplify the next nine days, I'm all ears. In the meantime, here's what I've got so far:
  1. Of course the moment Sharon is out the door, I'll sit my three little sweety-pies down for a little heart-to-heart, just so the girls and I have our ground-rules straight: no coming home from school with complicated Hebrew correspondence from the teacher that Abba has to understand and sign, no vomiting or getting sick of any kind, and no unforeseen emergencies. That keeps the whole task much simpler to manage.
  2. Summer time is fast approaching. Rather than waste time on bathing every night, why not let the kids scamper around on the lawn for a little while in the afternoon? I'm sure sprinkler water has lots of minerals and healthful gunky deposits in it so that conditioner won't be needed either.
  3. Popsicles for dinner. Fruit flavored, with genuine fruit juice concentrate. And maybe some pizza for dessert. There, that's fruits AND vegetables in the same meal!
  4. Time to stop spoiling the kids. All that washing and folding their clothes with so little appreciation. And for what? Just so they can wear a fresh outfit every single day? Forget it. This week, everything gets worn for three days or until it develops a crust, just like they used to do it in the old days -- the Mesozoic Age I think.
  5. Homework. Homework is good and builds character and all that. But there is also the possibility that it destroys young minds, squishing them under the crushing weight of oppressive conformity to the capricious whims of the educational establishment and its lackeys. Let's not play that game. I just want them to LEARN, and I'm sure there's lots of educational stuff on TV.
  6. Enough already with the driving to school and back. Kids in this TV-saturated, internet age need to get off the couch and get some exercise. My lone regret is that their school is only uphill one way.
  7. One of the finer points of proving my solo-parenting prowess is to ensure that my wife returns to a house that is every bit as clean as she left it: floors mopped, cabinets straightened, spice rack alphabetized. This I will achieve through careful adjustment of the cleaning lady's schedule, so that she comes about 4 hours before Sharon returns. And of course I'll give her a little bonus for hazardous duty pay and her complete discretion in the matter.
  8. Toothbrushing can be such an ordeal when three kids are whining and fussing simultaneously, resisting this simplest of bedtime chores. The solo-dad solution is obvious: reward them with a little candy afterwards, the power of positive motivation at work!
  9. Brushing and braiding the girls' hair? I'll just buy them hats.
  10. The biggest trick is convincing the kids not to rat me out, giving away all of my secret parenting tips. A judicious combination of threats and bribes should do the trick here.
Maybe I shouldn't publish this until after Sharon gets on the plane.

Nah, it'll be ok. It's obvious I'm only kidding. Isn't it?

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: