Adventures in Fatherhood, Part 2

By ben  

Both kids were up around 6:30 on Sunday morning, April 6. Too early for me, but I managed. With a clean house, I was able to get through the morning routines fairly quickly (get dressed, eat breakfast, pack up stuff for church), with a little help from Fireman Sam, a British kids cartoon that Eliana has been watching a lot lately.

With everyone ready to go a bit earlier than expected, I kept things moving by heading for the early (9:00 a.m.) service at church. I missed the first song and the announcements, but I successfully dropped each child off in their respective child care rooms. Jonas always gets pretty upset, but there was only one other kid in the nursery, so I had a feeling he’d calm down fairly easily. Eliana was already playing with toys in the 2-4 year-olds room before I could say ‘bye’. It was nice to relax and enjoy the service. I missed Jenelle, but I was happy for some kid-free time.

Eliana's church outfit (she picked it out)

Eliana’s church outfit (she picked it out)

Jonas' church outfit

Jonas’ church outfit

About ten minutes into the message (sermon), I got a text to come and pick up Jonas. This had never happened before. The basic response from the nursery staff was that they were unable to calm him down. While I was hoping they would have kept trying, given that I provided a bag full of diapers, water, snacks, etc., perhaps he was a bit out of sorts from a mommy-free weekend. So, I took him and walked around the building with him for a while. He seemed to enjoy that. I didn’t pick up Eliana until the service was over, so that she got the full amount of playtime with her friends.

On the way home, the much-hyped trip to the bakery was a success. Eliana had her purse and her money, so she treated us all to donuts. She did a great job telling the clerk what she wanted, handing her the money, and saying ‘thank you’. So cute.

With the weather fairly decent, my parents invited us over for a cookout for dinner. When I mentioned this to Eliana, she was ready to head over to Bubba and GrandPat’s house right away. I think it had something to do with the fact that they have a pink Power Wheels jeep that she can drive around their yard. The kids stuff was already packed for a trip. I added enough to get us through the whole day — including toothbrushes, pajamas, and an overnight diaper for Jonas — and we made our way over. I also packed my bag with running clothes, as the neighborhood where my parents live is pretty nice for a relaxing jog.

I include the next paragraph in an effort to be a bit more transparent about the daily challenges of parenting. I did pretty well while Jenelle was away, but here’s an example of where I have room for improvement.

When we got there, for a reason I can’t explain, Eliana ran away from my parents’ house and toward a small hill that we sometimes use for sledding in the winter. It was strange and confusing, because nobody was over there, and she moved rather quickly. I was in the process of getting Jonas out of the car, so I handed him off quickly to my dad. I sprinted after Eliana so that she wouldn’t get too far past the hill. I eventually caught up to her and scolded her in a typical freaked-out parent voice — you know, ‘What were you doing’ ‘You scared me!’ ‘Don’t run away like that.’ — which of course, made her upset, because she didn’t see the big deal with playing over there. It’s pretty far from the road, and she’s gone over there before. Anyway, I think I could have done a better job of talking to her about it more calmly, so that I could learn why she darted away.

Anyway, Eliana was still ready to drive around in the jeep, so I chased her around the house a few times. She still hasn’t quite gotten the hang of steering this or any other vehicle, but we’re hoping to make great progress in the weeks ahead. Jonas tagged along for a while. My dad made french toast and bacon for lunch, which the kids enjoyed.

Cruising around in the jeep

Cruising around in the jeep

Getting Jonas to nap in the crib at my parents’ house is no easy task. I think it took 90 minutes or so of on-and-off holding him, leaving him to cry in the crib, consoling him a little more, leave him again, etc. before he finally fell asleep. As you can imagine, we were close to giving up, but with the beneficial 3:2 adult-to-kids ratio, we were not overly frustrated.

Eliana was having fun both inside and out, so we didn’t even bother to get her to nap. While Jonas slept, I got out for a nice ten-mile run. It was a bit windy, but otherwise conditions were near-perfect. I had planned for twelve miles, but Eliana was starting to miss me and went walking with Bubba to find me in the subdivision. So, I stopped and walked back to the house with the two of them. This gave Eliana the opportunity for a “swing” ride where she holds one hand of each adult so she can be lifted up in the air and swung back and forth. Fun times.

Dinner was wonderful — hot dogs, chicken, and plenty of other things to make sure the kids get their fill. Again, the presence of two other adults makes meal time much simpler. Before heading back home, I made all preparations for the kids to fall asleep (pajamas, brush teeth, all that). However, Jonas’ nap ended up a bit late, so I was not surprised when he remained awake. I was surprised, though, that Eliana did not fall asleep, since she was up early and didn’t nap at all.

Jonas' Sunday night pajamas (a gift from Gail & Mike)

Jonas’ Sunday night pajamas (a gift from Gail & Mike)

Bedtime was pretty easy. Jonas took a bit of extra consoling, but Eliana was out in moments after her books, prayers, and songs. I went to bed fairly early, ready to take on Monday, which would be a more challenging test of my abilities, since there were no plans to visit my parents or any other helpers. Two days down, two to go!

Funny conversation from Sunday:
My mom: “Do you think you’ll be okay tomorrow?”
Me: “Sure, Jenelle does it all the time.”
My mom: “You know, if you need to go to the bathroom or something, Dad can stop by your place after work.”
Me: “Um… nah, I’m just going to hold it all day. Thanks, though.”

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