When my wife first announced that she’d be away for the weekend I had no problem with that. She deserved a few days off, especially as it was in aid of a very good friend’s hen do. In any event, I’d just take the boys round to my parents’ house or invite them over to help out.
But there was a giant flaw in the plan – my parents would be on holiday. So, it transpired, would my ever reliable in-laws.
With my brother making a dash for the coast on a hastily arranged stag do, I was starting to wonder whether this would be so easy after all.
And then the final revelation – my wife was taking the car! And with that went the ultimate backup plan – a trip to soft play where I could sit back and relax while the boys tired themselves out on a complex series of ramps, tunnels and slides.
Still, I work daily in an office predominantly full of girls. They talk in urban speak that I don’t understand, furiously type strings of instant messages at a speed that I can’t possibly hope to keep up with, and chat endlessly about the latest viral videos that I will never find time to check out. A weekend with a set of boys who just want to play cars, watch some CBeebies and laugh when they break wind would surely be far less challenging.
I won’t anger my wife by saying it was easy – mainly because it really wasn’t. It didn’t quite go all Lord of the Flies, but it did go a bit like this…
Wife departs to collect the hen. She’s clearly expecting the first of a set of desperate texts from me within minutes of her leaving. That, I’m determined, is not going to happen.
She’s left late so I haven’t had to do the school run with all 3 boys. I’ve read enough of her blog entries to know that this is a RESULT!
The good fortune continues – my wife has already prepared the dinner and has even left me beer and cookies. This weekend could be ok.
Except, maybe the following also happened…
- The twins are still toilet training and this is my first time on my own with them with no nappies. I’m sure I spot another few grey hairs as I pass the mirror in the hall. Twin 2 is quick to put me to the test with the first soiled pair of pants of the weekend.
- Within minutes of my wife heading off Twin 2 (usually known as Not-Quite-So-Much-Trouble, but definitely causing trouble on this occasion) wrestles Twin 1 to the floor.
- Chaos precedes dinner as Twin 2 decides that the beeping of the hob timer is his cue to need a lengthy stint on the toilet.
- Basketball suddenly becomes a contact sport as the game’s three shortest players go to war over everyone’s favourite ball.
- Bathtime is truly exhausting pandemonium, which seems remarkable when only one out of three children ended up in the bath.
I’m sure my wife will be overjoyed that I got to experience at least a few of the above.
The boys are awake by 5.30am, but thankfully give me 30 minutes grace before vaulting over their stairgate and appearing out of the darkness.
We make it through breakfast (aka the Crystal Maze challenge) and I glance at the clock, exhausted – surely we must be a good way through the day?? But no, it’s only 8am and there are almost another 12 hours to get through – the equivalent of 8 consecutive football matches.
However, midday meltdowns, a disaster of a dinner and best not discussed bath time aside, Saturday was not as tough a day as it could have been. Thankfully, I was not totally abandoned and visits from my grandma and a friend were very gratefully received.
It feels like we’ve nearly made it and the boys haven’t yet gone feral. Sure, the twins are jumping on the furniture and running round with no trousers on while I resort to raiding the cupboards for anything I can snack on, but according to my wife that’s normal.
The eldest boy has a party to attend, but with no car, no grandparents to babysit the 3 year olds, and the 5 year old reluctant to go along with anyone who isn’t mum or dad, this has proved to be a big logistical challenge. A very brave friend volunteered to come and watch the twins, leaving me free for the party. I hope for the best but am more than a little anxious as I leave them to it.
I needn’t have worried – she was brilliant and of course the 3 year olds are (almost) model citizens for anyone who isn’t me or my wife. The afternoon is a success, and before I know it my wife is home and normal two parent led chaos resumes…
So, to my wife – yes, it was tough, and yes I am knackered, and yes, I understand how hard it can be for you doing the same amazing job day after day. But it was fun too, and nice to spend some time with my boys and yes, I’d do it again. But next time, just leave me the car!
Also – about that boy’s trip to Vegas….
Finally, huge thank yous to our visitors and helpers for helping to keep the small people diverted and me sane; and to Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer and the entire cast of Top Gun for a chilled movie night with a few beers for company.
And if you think I was tired by the end if the weekend, you should have seen the boys…