Monday, January 23, 2023

Phew! Solo weekend!

 You know, you would think that solo parenting would get easier when kids get older, but really? Being down a driver is a real detriment to a busy weekend. Like, even without the toddler, a weekend without Ben would be a logic game I could never conquer by myself.

Ben went to Naples, FL, to surprise his mom for her 70th birthday on Friday early early early, and he came home late late late Saturday night. So, like, he was gone less than 48 hours and still! We needed to send Cooper out of town to hockey with friends.

Friday night Coop had a hockey game about 40 minutes away, so he went with a teammate. I could have taken him, but Minnie’s bedtime is a sacred space LOL. Harry probably could have taken him, but it has been really snowy, and this is Harry’s first winter as a driver, so I worry. On the other hand, if he doesn’t learn to drive in the snow, he’ll never be able to drive in the snow, but still **shrug**

 Meanwhile, Harry and Jack bustled around the house getting ready for their first speech tournament of the semester. It was fairly traumatic (LOL) since Harry hadn’t tried his suit on since the national forensics competition in JUNE and he is not the same size he was 6 months ago (which was a surprise to no one but him, but he ignored many, many, many suggestions to try his stuff on before 7pm the night before the tournament, so what could I do?) and since he also ignored Ben’s suggestion that he choose a tie before Friday so maybe Ben could help him tie it. We watched SEVERAL YouTube tie tutorials, you guys. I thought the knot we settled on was fine, but Harry has needs when it comes to a VERY FLAT KNOT that feels a CERTAIN WAY and a big WHATEVER from me— I will never help tie a tie again hand to god. Also one of his shirts (THE ONLY ONE HE REALLY WANTED TO WEAR) would no longer button at the neck, and he needed to make a Target run for a very particular kind of undershirt. Jack, meanwhile, got this stuff out (he picked a tie on, like WEDNESDAY), moved his grooming products to my bathroom so he could get ready Saturday morning without encountering Hurricane Harry, shined both of their pairs of dress shoes, made breakfast sandwiches on English muffins for both of them that they could heat up on their way out the door to eat on the bus, packed bags for them with pens, note cards, and snacks, and even asked me for a damn Tide pen to bring along just in case. A tale of two brothers, for sure.

Coop came home late fresh off a loss and without his wallet and the $10 I gave him, and he and Dorothy both stayed up past their bedtime. Minnie played in her crib for an hour because she needs Ben to come in after I tuck her in, and he wasn’t there, which displeased her. 

I stayed up way too late with the boys while they practiced their speeches, and they begged me to set a 5:30 alarm so I could make sure they were up to make it to the bus at 6:30– something I did VERY RELUCTANTLY.

Minnie woke up Saturday morning at 5:09 am. It’s important to note that now that she has her OK to wake cock, she sleeps until 6 no problem (GREEN MEANS YET she says, and red means NOT YET), but anytime she wakes up to a red clock, it is just the middle of the night in her mind. SO I was able to nurse her, and she slept until 7. I, though, was just UP for the looooong solo parenting day at 5:09. 

I made the best of it by watching Emily in Paris and helping Jack button himself, etc. (COLLARS ARE HARD).

Harry skidded upstairs mere second before they absolutely needed to leave the house to make it to school on time, where he found his car scraped and started (Jack) and his breakfast sandwich hot and wrapped in foil (Jack again). PHEW! (They left an unholy mess behind, but what are you going to do?)

Dorothy and Minnie and I had nothing to do but hang out and clean the house all day, and Coop got a ride with the same friends to 2 more hockey games. (Normally, I could have solo parented hockey with Dorothy and Minnie, especially with a big kid along to help. But I was down 2 big kids AND the tournament was held at 3 different rinks all about 25 miles from the WI Dells, which is about an hour away from us. Too many moving pieces for me, so I called uncle and focused on getting the house ready for a busy week so we could all go to Sunday’s game with Ben.)

Coop found his wallet in his friend’s car and spent the $10 on enough candy to break 2 brackets on his braces. He used the other $40 I sent to play a candy claw machine 80 times (LITERALLY) and leave a $7 tip on his chicken tenders and cherry coke tab, even though gratuity was included since the whole team went to dinner in a huge group. Which is why tweens shouldn’t have cash. 

Ben’s flight was delayed on the way home, and he sat next to a family with a terrible cough (so awesome **eye roll**), but he had a lovely time in Florida. His mom was delighted to spend her birthday with both of her brothers and both of her kids, and Coop’s team won both their games Saturday with Cooper getting goals in both games) and got to play for the championship on Sunday.

They lost in overtime due to a penalty shot (that the refs should NOT have given the other team- it was seriously awful officiating, but also it was 11 year-old hockey, so who cares? HARRY does. He screen-shotted relevant pages from the USA hockey manual (he’s also a ref) and made them available to Coop’s coach in case they want to challenge the game which of course they don’t because IT IS CHILDREN’S HOCKEY. The irony here is that Harry’s speech is about toxic youth sports culture and people taking games too seriously (among other problems)).

So glam LOL

She needs a lot of peripherals to watch hockey

Dorothy was faking it

He got a hive from wearing this tight shirt for less than 3 minutes

Second place medal!!

Hockey fans

Packed library= MASKS

She almost came for a walk with me then realized she’d have to wear a coat and stayed home.

She liked make your own pizza night but mainly ate topping and sauce at the counter

Have bento. Will travel.


Ready to go!!

How they arrived home

So cute!! Tiny hockey players.


  1. Your boys look so handsome in their suits! And wow, Jack has his sh*t together! He's like a mini adult! Isn't it mind boggling how the same 2 people can produce wildly different kids? Genetics are fascinating!!

    The solo parenting challenges are definitely different when you have busy big kids - and yet you still have Minnie, too! I imagine you had to employ what you called in comment "benign neglect" when solo parenting! You also said you kind of parent her like a grandparent and that is totally how my parents were with my little sister. She was the 5th and final child, born 7 years after me - and they thought I was their last child. She just kind of had to roll with the punches and I think she was pretty easy going overall - maybe because she had to be because my parents didn't have the bandwidth to deal with a challenging toddler??!!

    1. It is SO MUCH easier to be with her AND some of the older kids because they can help her play. Even Dorothy has unlimited (or close) patience for Minnie.

  2. Wow, I love how helpful and organized Jack is! What a great support for his brother (and you). The suit/tie debacle made me laugh while also rolling my eyes in empathy. And yay you for surviving what sounds like an extremely busy couple of days on your own!

    1. SO BUSY. Ben is out buying a bigger suit or two for Harry to try on right now because I had to do it last time and it is sooooooo not my turn.

  3. I had a terrible day today (I'm solo parenting all week - trying unsuccessfully to feign sympathy for my husband's jet lag while I'm stuck home with sick kids, rain, and completely overwhelmed with work). Reading this post was the highlight of my day. I grabbed the first line of text that made me laugh to paste here and say: "this made me laugh" and then I gave up because it ALL made me laugh. It made me feel so good I read it TWICE and that is high praise because I am exhausted and want to crawl into bed right now (it's 7:12 pm) and emerge in...March? But this needed to be read and enjoyed twice, my friend <3
    So, thank you. I know it wasn't all actually funny to experience but you certainly pulled out the humorous aspects of the experience and made me realize...chaos and consistent all part of parenting.
    I suddenly feel less alone in my wallowing over juggling things solo!

    1. I am a wimp about it though because we are talking one night away. You are amazing at the solo juggle, and I know that it takes a toll. I hope your week finishes strong. Glad my whines could make you laugh.

  4. My husband has two older brothers. His dad taught all of them how to tie ties when they were like three so that they could look presentable for church (no pre-knotted ties for the boys in that family!). But my husband grew up and learned that he didn't like the way his father taught him and he started knotting his tie with a different style and his father FREAKED out, claiming that X newfangled knot was inappropriate for church and so now whenever I hear about people trying to teach boys how to tie ties, I just laugh. At least you didn't accuse your child of trying to bring down the entire Catholic church with his newfangled knot ideas.

    1. OMG this made me laugh so hard. I had no idea that a knot could be so… fraught.

  5. Holy mo, there is so much going on in your house at any given time. Solo parenting through all of this sounds... exhausting.