On Thursday, Sora leaves for the Philippines. She will be gone for 4 weeks. Nearly everyone who hears about this immediately turns to me and asks, “So you will be alone with 6 kids?”
I am not sure what to make of this question. First, having done it before over shorter stretches, I can testify that being with 6 kids is not at all like being alone. (I’m reminded of a British travel account in which some brave noblewoman ventured into the interior of the Congo “alone, with only her 6 native guides and a few servants.”) Talia is 13, and very helpful. Aedan is about to be 12, and is also quite capable. But even if they were all helpless, they are kids, not tigers. I’m not really a fit object of sympathy.
I’ve also noticed that when either one of us parents is the sole parent in the house, we tend to be more hands-on and diligent about our housekeeping, discipline, and ordering of our kids’ days. When we’re both around, we tend to hope/wish/expect that the other of us would do some thing that we really ought to be doing ourselves. (Anyone ever notice how toddlers become the presumed products of parthenogenesis as soon as they poop in their diapers? “Honey, your daughter is stinky!”) – whereas when only one of us is around, there is the knowledge that if I don’t structure the day, the kids will, and I won’t like that much.