muchmorewherethatcamefrom

One Parent, Two Parents (But I’ll Take Three Parents, or Four)

In Medicine, Peanut, Tolkien on November 24, 2010 at 8:53 pm

First off, since that last blog post, that stupid Chipmunks-go-clubbing CD has been playing every single time we have gone to pick Peanut up or drop her off at daycare.  And her teachers actually told me blithely, “Peanut just LOOOVES this CD!  We start it over from the beginning every time she comes so she can enjoy the whole thing!”

(I’m looking into nunneries for toddlers.  Anyone with any info, send it my way.)

Anyway, we have had a lovely week so far here at La Maison du Peanut (why bother even pretending this house is anyone’s but hers.)  Tolkien has started his very well-deserved two weeks of vacation, and life is totally different!  As most of you know, we are doctors, and Tolkien is in the midst of his residency.  He has worked so incredibly hard since starting this program in June.  He wakes up at 4:15 AM each day, is out of the house before 5, and doesn’t get home till 7, 8 or even later at night.  Once he gets home, he has more work to do for the next day before he can even think about eating or collapsing into bed.  On top of that, a couple of nights a week he takes call, which means he doesn’t come home at all until the next morning.  On top of that, he also has to work a couple of weekends each month.  It is brutal.  I finished my residency last year, and seeing him go through this now is bringing back the memories of bone-deep fatigue and stress that I have happily repressed.

Because I’ve gone through residency myself, I thought I knew what to expect when T started this program.  But I definitely did not realize what it would mean to effectively be a single parent 85% of the time, since we were childless when I was a resident.  There are entire days that Peanut doesn’t see her dad because he leaves before she wakes up and can’t get home till after I’ve put her to bed.  And when he is home, he has to sleep or study, so there’s very little time just to hang out and enjoy life.  Forget enjoying life, even cleaning the bathrooms together is out of the question.  So this vacation has been a godsend.  T is well-rested, he has time to go to the post office or dentist’s with us, he can take over 50% or more of the childcare, and all sorts of little things around the house have been magically getting done!  (There’s a hall light in our house that burned out 3 weeks ago which you need a ladder to reach, so I’ve been fumbling around in the dark for that long, waiting for T’s vacation so it could be fixed.  And no, the inability to change the bulb has nothing to do with the fact that I was gifted with somewhat less height than many of you, because 6-foot-2 Tolkien needed a ladder to reach it too.  SO THERE.)  (And by the way, short people are the last to need umbrellas.  TAKE THAT!)

It’s been so incredible having lives like regular people, and having a partner back to help with all the things around the house and with the baby, that I fear I will get far too used to this Shangri-La and require some sort of medical intervention when T’s vacation ends.  Compare and contrast, for example, a day last week to a day this week:

This week:

We all wake up and I leisurely make coffee (because you have to have something to add to your chocolate caramel French vanilla creamer.)  T feeds Peanut breakfast and takes her to daycare.  T and I work efficiently on our now-actually-dwindling to-do lists.  We then head over to Peanut’s daycare to attend her class’ Thanksgiving lunch with the other parents, none of whom have ever met Tolkien prior to now.

Last week:

I wake up to an ominous odour and trace it to the nursery, where I find a huge pile of orange and green vomit in the crib and a baby who has apparently been attempting to use said vomit as hair conditioner.  Naturally, today is a work day for me.  Equally naturally, Tolkien is on call and I am alone on the warfront.  I strip the sticky baby, who is finding this whole situation inexplicably hilarious (well, that makes one of us) and rush her into a bath (she does not find this hilarious whatsoever.)  I scrub her thrashing self as best I can, finding the most random foodstuffs in the puke hiding in her bodily crevices (eg. corn kernels, and I’m pretty sure she hasn’t eaten corn in weeks.)  I get her dried and dressed and hurry down to feed her breakfast, at which point I drop a huge tub of yogurt on the floor, which explodes ALL OVER the kitchen and must be cleaned up lest ants take over our entire abode.  Half an hour later (during which P has screamed continuously because WAITRESS, WHY ARE YOU NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO MY NEXT COURSE?) we run upstairs while I try to occupy her while grooming myself into some semblance of a professional appearance.  Next I need to load up the car while toting a 22-lb squirming Screech-Bot back and forth.  On our way out the door for the final time, I get a whiff of something and my heart sinks.  The Peanut has had a blowout.  Of the fecal variety.  It’s back upstairs for another wrestling match in which I emerge semi-victorious, as Peanut has been successfully changed, but also semi-non-victorious, as my work clothes now smell like a combination of puke and poop.  (I’ll call it a draw.)  I throw us both into the car, feeling like I’ve already worked a full day before the full day of actual work I’m currently late for, and am halfway down the street when I realize I never even began to clean up the barf-soaked crib.

So yes, I’m thrilled that T is home.  And when he goes back to work, I’m going to need a staff.  (Yes, for one kid.  How do the Duggars do it?)

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  1. HILARIOUS! Thanks for a glimpse into your world and reminding me that we are not alone in this adventure of “single parenting”. Although my stints of SP are more sparsely distributed (Rich is usually gone 2-3 days/week and then takes longer 10 day – 2 week trips to Europe and/or Asia), I can totally relate.

  2. In my humble opinion, I think Peanut needs (a) little brother(s). I’m confident she’s ready for the responsibility. Also, your preemptive defensive strike re ladders would make Napoleon proud.

  3. Baby Howie, when you are willing to go through labour and delivery to bear said little brother(s) (!!!), I will be willing to raise them. Also, I’ve spent years cultivating my Napoleon complex. Isn’t it pretty?

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