The post was written by Dan. He stayed home with Aiden while I was on a business trip this summer.
Melissa had a meeting in Dublin, Ireland for ten days so I experienced the life of a single parent, watching Aiden who was eight months at the time. Melissa has had business trips before where I watched Aiden by myself, but not for that long and Aiden was no older than three months during the previous trips — so he slept a lot! This post is how I *tried* to maintain normalcy…and my sanity while mama was on a business trip.
Step 1: Stay the Course
The most important thing was to keep Aiden’s schedule as routine as possible. The days weren’t too bad because Melissa usually works and I am at home with Aiden so there wasn’t a huge adjustment there. Bedtime was a different story. Leading up to Melissa’s trip to Dublin, I was working the midnight shift and then moved into a swing shift (5pm-3am). Melissa had Aiden on a regular night time routine so I had to adapt to that. You can read about Aiden’s bedtime routine here, but here are the highlights:
- Late evening walk with Aiden in the stroller before his night time bottle.
- Night time bottle, followed by a homemade puree or left overs from dinner
- Bath Time!
- Bedtime story
- Sleepy time (hopefully!!)
The only thing I modified was after pjs I would call Melissa on Skype so Aiden could hear her voice and see her face. Aiden loved this so much he started to recognize the Skype ringtone and would get extra excited when he heard it. You can read more about how we stay in touch during a business trip here.
Step 2: Keep him busy
Step two was all about keeping him busy and distracted and tiring him out. We live in the suburbs of the DC Metro Area and I will say that there are many great parks to walk around in. This was perfect for me, because I didn’t have to drive very far. I could walk to get to one of the many parks around us. I am definitely glad about not having to drive because at the time I was terrified to drive Aiden more that forty-five minutes by myself. This was a great way to get him out in the fresh air and wear him out!
In addition to the parks, within a twenty-mile radius of our house, there are three fantastic petting zoos. Aiden and I visited all three! I wanted to keep feeding into Aiden’s curiosity and getting up close to animals is one of the best ways. We would easily spend one and a half to two hours at each place. Aiden would usually fall asleep in the stroller or baby carrier before we even left. Here are the petting zoos we visited:
- Roer’s Zoofari: They have a large petting farm area, to get very close and feed a variety of animals. Roer’s Zoofari has one of Aiden’s favorite attraction of any of the petting zoos. They have an aviary full of Parakeets that you can walk into and interact with the birds. If you but a feeding stick be ready to have one to five Parakeets land on you to feed! Note: Children two and older have to pay.
- Leesburg Animal Park: The Leesburg Animal Park is great because they have a different variety of animals for Aiden to look at, feed, and pet. They also have a show and tell set up for children to look and pet different animals they would not get a chance to see up close. We met a very talkative Parrot that Aiden tried talking to! There was also a monkey that if I stood too close to his cage would have taken Aiden’s Wubbanub out of his mouth (I think it may have had to do something with it being a monkey stuff animal!) Note: Children two and older have to pay.
- Frying Pan Farm Park: This is about a twenty-minute walk or a five-minute car ride. This park is free for both adults and children of all ages. This is an operational historic Virginia farm. When you walk into the farm, you walk past typical farm animals like goats, sheep, cows, horses, and chickens. At 4pm every day, they milk one of their many dairy cows, and they will teach you how to milk a cow! I did not milk the cow but I got Aiden next to the cow so he could pet her. Behind the farm, there are many trails for you to walk around which I took advantage of to wear Aiden out.
Step 3: Document
With all this activity I had to make sure I captured everything to to keep Melissa updated and in the loop. From the normal day-to-day stuff, to helping me teach my yoga classes to our fun adventures, we used Snapchat and sent pictures by text/email to keep in touch during the day.
As much as I enjoyed having Aiden all to myself for a few days, I was definitely very happy to have Melissa come home from her trip.