Parenthood

Grace and poise

1:07 PM

I am a seasoned veteran at this game, and it should not be that hard anymore, so when DH left for the airport to go on a business trip to China for a week last Sunday, I knew the drill. I mentally prepared myself to being on double shift duty, planned my weekly menu to take into account the exhaustion factor, and vowed to myself to handle it with the grace and poise a BTDT (been there done that) would be expected to have developed.
DH left Sunday night after Ishita tired us the whole day nagging her to buy her a new cycle (which we refused to do), we negotiated having the seat of her old one raised once DH comes back, and on these comforting words she goes to bed. DH gives me the details of his itinerary, we relax and watch TV before her leaves, and once he did, I handled the dog’s hissy fit and shoe hostage taking like the pro that I am…so far it plays by the rule book :

Dog being pissed: CHECK

Next step is dragging myself to the bedroom after feeding said pissed dog and figuring out if the airline company has a sms alert feature to be told when the flight arrives. They do, and I request an alert from them and head to bed as it is already past 10pm. I end up tossing and turning a little that night…again it plays by the rule book:

Wife getting prone to insomnia due to lack of snoring: CHECK

Comes 6.30 and I realise I never got the sms alert from the airline regarding the Hong Kong bound flight, I do not allow myself to freak out, and grab my iPad to check directly online. Just as I do so Ishita barges in the room and before even saying good morning ask “Where is Papa?”, I reply that he is in China, which prompt her to go into super whiny mega mode asking “I want a big cycle”! Nope she is not missing her dad, she is just disappointed that her wish for a bigger bicycle didn't get granted overnight. That is not part of the rule book, and I try not to be rubbed the wrong way being screamed at a request for a two wheelers while trying to get a flight status update…Grace and poise…I shall handle this solo parenting stint with grace and poise. Breathe in…and breathe out. The flight has landed, the next one departing soon, and I didn’t get a call from DH telling me he missed the connection…all is well!
Time to get out of bed, make a cup of tea, serve some milk to the kiddo, and let her watch her favourite cartoons while I gather all my semi functioning neurones preparing for a Monday that will see her not going to school, but instead have us going to the end of term PT meeting. I can do this…yes I can. I even planned an easy lunch for that day: salad and chicken nuggets…see I got this all covered. Grace and poise, I rock, we are doing great!

The maid comes on time, does her chore, and I feel like things are going smoothly, until said maid ask me if she should throw it out, speaking of a silver earing she swept. Alarm! I know the only way that earing is out is because Ishita raided my wardrobe at one point in the past few day, and sure enough its twin is nowhere to be found. I sternly scold Ishita reminding her that my wardrobe is off limit, she nods, I go in the bathroom to breathe in and breathe out. Only to have Ishita launch the usual Spanish inquisition at me: Why you went in the bathroom? Why the earing is lost? Where is the other one? What are you doing?…breathe in…breathe out…
I head to the kitchen to drink a glass of water and throw some stuff in the dustbin while I left Ishita watching TV. I turned my back for 2 minutes and come back to an empty living room and Ishi hiding her face in her room. That can’t be good. And it wasn’t the instant I got a glimpse of her face all grace and poise of the seasoned pro went out of the window. Her face was no longer clean, it was tattooed entirely with a black ball point pen, leaving more black than flesh visible, and not only has she been able to achieve that in 2 minutes, she also started scribbling her legs, hand and shorts. All I did was leave her alone for TWO minutes to go hydrate myself and throw a few papers mind you. The scolding of a lifetime followed, with a great deal of decibels and a daughter trying to defuse it with some giggling before realising that I was really mad. We were to leave the house by 10.30 and at 8.30 she was sporting a face tattoo that had to come off not to have me being questioned by her teachers…gah! 
So the scrubbing began, with a damp terrycloth towel and some sobbing and screaming from Ishi. Sobbing that didn’t even induce sympathy in my barely caffeinated body, grace and poise? Screw it!

I ended up getting her cleaned enough, then served a breakfast of sprouts, cream cheese and bread, which was preceded by a nice lecture on respect and the need to not scribble anywhere but on paper and not demanding new things all the time, lecture which had Ishita nod to and was concluded with her hugging me and saying sorry. It was short lived, she promptly decided that the bread was offensive and tossed it to the dog, imperiously saying she didn’t like it and didn't want to eat it (since when she doesn't like it, that is a mystery). I scold her again reminding her that talk about respect we had and make her clean her spot at the table and we go walk the dog before heading to school.
The meeting was shorter than the usual ones, and we are out of school by noon, Ishita begging for a mask, me to promise we will paint one once we get home, and her to whine about it. I head to the craft store to purchase a few things, Ishita tries to get more out of the deal on a whiny tone, and that is the exact moment I realised that my easy lunch of salad and nuggets was not going to cut it and that the idea of being trapped home with her fussing about and demanding things was not going to cut it. No I didn’t have it under control, and coping with grace and poise was really not going to happen…NO WAY
But I am a seasoned veteran at this game of solo parenting, and while I did crumble under pressure, I knew enough to call in for plan B. Lunch at home? who said it had to be that way? I offered her the option of going for dosa instead of home, she approved, and off we went to the nearest joint serving some. She even liked the dosa and ate almost all of hers. Then requested some ice cream, which again I agreed to, not only because she finished her food but also because, I was stalling the process of going home.
We made it home by 2pm, we made a mask in less than an hour, she played with some clay, and by 3 I announced that it was going to be naptime, not even caring if she agreed to it or not at this point as I was sleepwalking myself and knew I had to lie down to be able to just walk to the playground later in the afternoon. She sat on my bed while I slept and dosed off at one point, and woke up at 4.30 asking for the park…of we went.

We were back by 7 to her being cranky, throwing a fit at the idea of a shower (despite being all dirty from playing in the dirt), and I had to be stern again and scold her once more telling her to get cleaned up, just counting the seconds until her bedtime came at this point. She asked for yogurt and fruits as dinner, and i obliged because lets face it, it is easy, healthy and she can feed herself without supervision. Then off to bed she went only for me collapsing on my bed at 7.45, feeling like a total failure and too brain dead to even curl up with a book, I spent some time playing mindless videogames before calling it a night.

This morning she knew better than wake me up with a whiny demand, she actually said good morning and hugged me first, so what do you know, I might end up managing this coming week with more grace and poise than yesterday.

6 comments

  1. NaomiDaugherty3:01 PM

    Geez, she sounds like a handful! Lol. But looks like you have things under control:-)

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  2. Thanks, I feel a bit more in control today, and had a productive days. I could be back in the groove :)

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  3. Alexandra Madhavan4:07 AM

    I hate it when my hubby goes out of town, it just sucks. My hubby has gone for 2 weeks for a family emergency. I have been doing good except for a teething nightmare for two days. It is so easy to get exhausted as a solo parent!!!

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  4. Ouch the teething! I am glad to have that one behind me, it makes for shorter nights of sleep. Hang in there.

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  5. navya7:23 AM

    I don't know how you do it cyn with your hubby gone so many times. Perhaps it comes with practice. My husband has gone abroad this month and he is likely to return in December. The company considers it short term trip not sponsoring dependant visa. I think I walk around half crazy all the time.

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  6. ((((Hugs)))), I know all about these ridiculous company policies, been there done that! It gets somewhat easier with time, but even as a veteran I hit the wall regularly. Remember you are only human, take out will feel awesome many times and there is no need to feel guilty about ordering your food on a bad day. And most important of all remember to take care of yourself and acknowledge your breaking point, this will end up salvaging your sanity in a long run more than anything else. I also have many evenings I end up watching very silly TV when my husband is away, even more so now that it means me being a single parent on these trips.
    Hopefully there will be even less travelling with this new company than the previous one, which was already not sending him away as often as all the previous ones.

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