dave headed off to finland sunday afternoon until late on saturday. thus, a week of single parenting.
in essence, dave went off to begin the new phase of his career by attending a three day long meeting in finland. i stayed behind with X in order to hold down the fort. in the end, things went well for both of us.
this was only my second single parenting stint ever. the last time was when dave went, ironically, to sweden for a job interview when X was 7 months old. that didnt go horribly, but for some reason i kept expecting the days leading up to the solo week to be filled with dread or terror. not so. i had prepared as much as possible by making a meal plan, grocery shopped for all the non-perishables of that meal plan, and thought of activities to keep us entertained each day. i was also lucky enough to secure daycare for every morning of the week. having a few hours each day to myself to accomplish grown-up work was very helpful and refreshing.
as for how we filled our days, well, we just took it easy and i watched to see what she wanted to do. blissfully, she was super focused on reading, basically to the exclusion of other kinds of playing, so we read a lot of books and visited the library most afternoons. even when she played on her own it was to read books to herself or her animals, or to unload her bookshelf. i didnt have to get too creative.
there were two days when she took no nap, but it worked out. also, she had some pretty terrible night sleeps the first few days after dave left, waking up a bunch without knowing what was bothering her. that wasnt awesome, but again i managed, better than i would have if dave were home in fact. it was kinda weird actually. the only flare ups of my temper/patience with X occurred in relation to a new behavior she discovered...that of devilishly giggling while running around throwing things off of shelves, counters, dressers, and/or into dirty tub water. as these satanic occurrences usually do, i was thrown off guard and didnt know what the best course of action was, but by the time dave was to arrive home i had figured it out.
basically, the week passed relatively quickly, relatively easily. i kept waiting to feel overwhelmed or to be dying for dave to come back and relieve me, and that just never came. now, i was very glad to have him back, and i definitely do not want to be left alone for longer than a week, but im glad to know that even with no help, i can manage just fine, for a while, without dave.
actually in some respects, i felt more content and calm than i had in previous weeks. i thought about why that might be. i realized i have been too bored and perhaps idle lately, just waiting for the move to come. i think the anxious waiting is what was previously killing my afternoons with X. i was antsy and indecisive and so ready for dave to come home each night. but with dave gone we pleasantly passed our time doing nothing much at all. the difference was that i always had to solve the puzzle of how to take care of everything our day required without any outside help. i had to keep up on X, the house, cat, car, food supply, dinner prep, cleaning, work, and myself. it meant consciously running through a check list multiple times a day to fit all the pieces into the puzzle before time ran out. ive always loved the challenge of organizational time management (yes, im a freak) and i think thats what did it for me. it certainly cured the boredom, and i think thats what made me more calm and content during the week. as usual, i think X was then able to absorb the more chill vibes i was putting out.
so, what was dave up to while we were in halifax?...
-getting there flights (halifax-boston-london-helsinki): his check-in in halifax wasnt too smooth because they couldnt book his luggage all the way through to helsinki (they could only book it to london). his flight to boston was a bit delayed. then, in boston, his flight was an hour delayed. this was going to cut in to his time for re-checking his bags in london. but, when he finally landed in london, it was discovered that his bags were in fact still in boston but they couldnt do anything about it until he landed in helsinki to file a claim. in london (where he waited out another small delay), he also got an email that his hotel couldnt process his credit card. so now he was without bags and possibly without a hotel when he landed.
not to worry though, the heros in this story are from finland. when he landed in helsinki, the customs people said that they saw his residence permit card had been approved (that was FAST! its been like 2 weeks) and when he exited the terminal, he found his colleague, pekka, was unexpectedly there to pick him up. then he had another surprise, pekka had booked dave in to a room in töölö towers (where we are going to stay in january). this was an excellent thing because the hotel dave had booked himself still couldnt process his credit card. so, it all, kinda, worked out well in the end. i mean, dave had to buy a toothbrush and toothpaste and his luggage arrival day was unknown, but at least he was safe and taken care of on the finland end. now he just had to prepare for his talk the next day.
-work. poor guy couldnt sleep the first night he was there, before his big talk (he arrived on monday afternoon and was to give a before-lunch talk on tuesday). by my estimates he may have peetered off to sleep around 3a (local time) after traveling the whole day before! then, his alarm didnt go off and he woke up 25 minutes before he had to get on a bus (needing to eat and shower, with no time for practicing his talk some more). he ended up saying his talk felt too full and rushed, but im sure it was fine because he's always overly critical of himself.
after his talk was out of the way, he got to meet some new colleagues who will be starting with him in january. they are actually people who would be natural collaborators for him so its awesome that they will all be starting together and can hopefully support and motivate each other during times of stress. he may even have secured himself some early 2013 travel to sweden and norway to gives some talks and make further connections...kind of a "hello, nice to meet you, i just arrived in your neck of the woods and this is what i do. wanna team up?" tour. to me, this is so cool. hearing these tidbits from dave (well, more like pulling them from him), i felt like an academia groupie. i just find it so fascinating and alluring, clearly.
-finland impressions. he said the daylight hours and the weather reminded him of the blah halifax weather days of november-may. the neighborhood around töölö towers was very pleasant and easily accessible to other parts of the city, there was a nearby grocery store and the accomodations were spartan but quite adequate. he said it reminded him of the place we stayed at when we first arrived in rennes.
-welcome back. dave got home from his helsinki-NYC-toronto-halifax travel day at 1a sunday morning. X stirred when he got home and whined until i told him he should just go in and say hi. she sat up, stretched her arms wide, said hi and hugged him. she said a few excited things and then settled back down and went back to sleep. too funny. she was also very sweet to him during pancake time the next morning.