The Casual Father: Solo childcare is no ordeal, it’s football bliss

Casual Father

Casual Father - Credit: Archant

Waking at 2am to a screaming Elizabeth on the first night of a fully solo childcare weekend, the old saying; “You don’t know what you’ve got till its gone” ran through my head.

The Casual Father with Elizabeth

The Casual Father with Elizabeth - Credit: Archant

The wife, who would normally deal with such situations, was away on a hen do which left me fumbling around for milk and grumbling out loud to myself.

I have experienced solo childcare before, but only in much shorter forms, like a morning or an afternoon, when both Elizabeth and I were safe in the knowledge that mummy would be home soon.

From Friday night till past Elizabeth’s bedtime on Sunday night was going to be a test.

Was I ready for it? Could I produce three staple meals a day, bath my baby daughter, get the nap times right and manage to stay awake in the process?

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After the early wake-up call, Saturday passed without too much drama although I did manage to lose one of Elizabeth’s shoes as we walked back from a cold trip to the swings.

I refused to go back to look for it on the basis of the weather and the fact that we were both hungry.

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Elizabeth’s nap time fell perfectly in time for me to watch a large chunk of Manchester United v Arsenal and as the day wore on, I was beginning to wonder what all the fuss was about.

I didn’t mention that to the wife on the phone that evening however.

Bath time went well and I was nicely back on the couch to see my team Ipswich Town in action on the box in the early evening as Elizabeth toddled around and played happily.

I mean when was the last time I watched two football matches in the same day? Forget any talk of an ordeal, this was turning into bliss. It didn’t even matter that Ipswich conceded a goal after 17 seconds and lost 2-0 in a drab game. It was rubbish, but it was MY rubbish.

When Elizabeth started to stir at around 6am on Sunday morning having gone through the night, I thought my lottery numbers had come in. Once again I had a happy little girl who amused herself while I managed to get on with a few household chores.

I did cheat slightly by taking her to my mum and dad’s for a Sunday lunchtime roast but all in all it had gone like clockwork.

Determined to show the wife exactly what I was made of, I even cracked on with a few more chores after bedtime on Sunday night.

Arriving home, the wife was amazed and at first disbelieving. “Are you sure your mum hasn’t been round to clean up?” was the accusation.

I tried to play it cool and immediately regret my words. “I enjoyed spending time with her, it was no big deal really,”

“NO BIG DEAL?” annoyed, she looks me square in the eyes. “Right, it’s time you went to the next child care level.”

“Does that mean I can watch three football matches in a day?” I reply before heading for the nearest exit.

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