My wife traveling abroad
Every so often, my wife leaves me at home with our daughter for a week, as I’ve mentioned in the past, and this was such a week.
In general, these weeks are stressful for all of us. For me, it’s stressful because I have to be “on” full-time as a father while our seven-year-old is not at school. Also, this involves doing certain things that I’m just not cut out for – like brushing our child’s hair (I’ve never had long hair myself). Also, while I can get around in Hebrew in Israel (especially supplemented by my English & Russian), I feel irrationally insecure about my accent and not-incredible vocabulary. And parenting on my own means that all potential emergencies, phone calls, forms, etc… are entirely on me.
Anyway, we’ve done this plenty of times, and it’s hardly the end of the world; it’s just a bit stressful for me.
Full steam into single-parenting
However, this week, I decided to go full steam into my week of single-parenting and arranged a playdate for my daughter with one of her little friends (next week, she’ll be going over to this same friend’s home). Now, in my experience, being in charge of two 6/7-yr-olds is risky because they tend to need assistance with various games and activities, lest they get frustrated; but I was strategic in my selection of which friend to invite over – I picked a classmate with a pleasant, cooperative demeanor, whose mother is very invested in building relationships with other school families.
Relatedly, this little girl happens to have a twin sister (same school, different class),which I happen to think has a lot to do with how easygoing she is. After all, she’s had to share everything and compromise on all decisions with her sister since birth, right?
So, yesterday, I picked up my daughter and her friend from school, playing every bit the good parent; and we made our way to our apartment.
Long story short, the playdate was a ringing success. Whereas playdates with some other children were less than completely positive experiences because the girls couldn’t agree upon what toys to play with, yesterday, the two of them quickly settled upon weaving bracelets and playing with various stuffed animals and action toys; and they kept themselves happily occupied for several hours! It was easily the best playdate our 7-yr-old has ever had at home.
Of course, I played it calm as a cucumber, as if it were a given that the playdate would be fun; but, in truth, I went into the event with some anxiety. I didn’t want the get-together to be a disappointment.
Now that I’m writing about this, it occurs to me to mention a couple of other factors.
It’s significant to note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our daughter had no play dates for two years before entering elementary school; this is largely why she didn’t quite know how to occupy herself and the friends that she invited over before… She’d had almost no experience at hosting playdates in her home.
Also, while I give myself credit for arranging a playdate for my daughter with a lovely, easygoing little girl, I should also note that her playdates at home have been increasingly successful, as the months have gone by. Whereas there was a fair amount of frustration and boredom during her first playdate (some months ago), yesterday, the two girls played together almost entirely without any need for adult involvement at all.
Other than having to bring the children over to our apartment and order pizza for them, there was almost no need for me to be there at all… And that’s a very positive, encouraging sign.
And… This just in
Due to the war between Ukraine and Russia, my wife, who is currently in Moldova (south of Ukraine) will not be returning home to Israel tonight as planned – all flights from Chișinău have been canceled, due to concerns about accidentally getting shot down. Instead, she will be driving to Romania tomorrow and (hopefully) flying home on Saturday night.
I’m not concerned for her safety (there’s no war going on in Moldova), but it’s not going to be fun to shatter my daughter’s expectations of seeing her mother tomorrow after a week apart 😢