As I have mentioned, there were a couple weeks this summer when Carol was away at college and I got to play what is quaintly referred to Mr. Mom. (Did I see that film? I have vague recollections of it.)
It was not too bad during the week. I would drop her off at daycare in the morning. On Monday/Wednesday/Friday, my friend who has a daughter slightly older and a son slightly younger than Lydia would pick up the daughter and take her to their house and I would pi her up from there. On Tuesday/Thursday, I’d leave work early and pick up Lydia from daycare myself.
This meant truncated workdays. I don’t know about your work habits, but mine has a certain rhythm which involves getting through the e-mails, and doing some of the tasks therein before working on reference questions. It was not an optimal situation but it was doable.
The weekends were trickier. It was daddy being “on” for 15 or 16 hours. Not only did I need to do her hair in the morning (and preferably at night), and give her all her allergy medicines at night, I needed to entertain – read more than the evening books, play various games inside and out. On a weekday evening, by the time I made supper, cleaned up after supper, did her evening routine (which involved her 30 minutes of television per day), then got ready for bed, there wasn’t all that much time. On weekends, it was a LONG period.
Fortunately, there were birthday parties for Lydia’s classmates each of the two Saturdays. The first party was in a suburb of Albany called Clifton Park. The father of the birthday girl picked us up. It was one of those combo bouncy bounce/video places; it seemed very LOUD. Of course, we had to wait to get a ride home until after the clean up, but this was not at all a bad thing as it ate up the time. If I were using a baseball analogy, it would be like a workmanlike pitcher eating up innings.
The second weekend, the party was in another suburb, Latham. This time, I was determined to find a way to get us there without help. Plan #1, taking the #29 Cohoes bus was out; it doesn’t run on Saturdays. What I discovered, though, is if I got to the uptown SUNY campus (via the #12 bus), there is a #90 bus that goes to all the malls in the area, including Latham Farms, near where we were heading. It meant leaving the house at 10:15 to get to the party at 11:30 (a half hour early) and staying a little longer to catch the right buses back. But since we were at Chuck E. Cheese, this was not a problem.
The biggest hassle, actually, was getting from the Latham Farms bus stop to the Chuck. To say it was not designed for pedestrians would be a gross understatement. There were trees by the side of the road that jutted out in a way that it was impossible to even walk on the lawn; of course, there was NO sidewalk to speak of.
Did I mention that I HATE the name Latham Farms? There are few to no agrarian features.
I hadn’t been to CEC since 1995 in an Atlanta suburb. It’s more tech oriented now, with our electronic hosts Justin and Kelly (really – but not the folks from American Idol) hosting the gig on a half dozen TV screens until the rat, er mouse, came out.
On the ride back to SUNY, there was a woman with her eight-year-old coming from Troy to SUNY. Her daughter was getting antsy, so it was mutually beneficial when she got to read to Lydia. We got home at about 3:15.
If we had gotten a car ride there and back, we would have been gone from 11:30 to 2, 2.5 hours. Since we took two buses each way, we were out a total of FIVE hours. This is a GOOD thing. It was an adventure. Lydia is good riding buses, and this was new to her.
I’ll admit that maybe she watched a little more television than is generally allowed on the two Sundays, but she survived. As important, *I* survived.
Photo by Ray Hendrickson