Single dad weekend
Ever wondered what we get up to with the kids? Here’s the unvarnished truth.

16:30: Pick up Hannah, followed by drive across town to collect Maddi from pre-school.

17:00: Arrive home and am immediately surprised that Hannah and Maddi have decided to go into their room, and remain there for 30 minutes, playing together without fighting. I capitalise on this unexpected period of calm by cooking their favourite dinner – fish fingers, my special mashed potatoes, and beetroot.

17:30: Dinner is spent discussing the day. Hannah’s decided to play football at school. Maddison drew a huge face with eyes, nose and mouth, apparently a significant achievement, according to her teacher. I am frustrated that two of my clients have not responded to my quotes. My daughters tell me they will respond and I should relax.

18:00: The rest of the evening is spent lying together on the floor in their room watching Stardust. It must have been a busy day for them because by the end of the movie they’re both in dreamland already. Luckily I don’t have far to carry them to their beds.


02:45: Maddison lets out a loud scream: “No, no, no, I don’t wanna!” I wake up in a toestand wondering what’s happened. In a flash I realise she’s dreaming again and give her a minute…Soon she settles down and all is well.

06:00: I hear the kids stirring in their rooms and my brain struggles to engage.

06:35: I get the bejeezus frightened out of me when Maddison bangs my door open, and jumps into the air before landing on my groin with both knees. My eyes squeeze tight in pain. “Good morning Daddy, I love you” she says. And I growl through gritted teeth: “love you too baby.”

07:30:  After my brutal wake up call I persuade the girls to whip up some breakfast. Hannah loves doing it, I’ve taught her to do bacon and eggs in the microwave without using any oil.

08:00: I get breakfast in bed, including coffee and a freshly picked flower from the garden.

09:00: I suggest to the girls that they have a bath while I shower. And that’s when the first fight starts. Hannah doesn’t want to bath with Maddi because she pees in the bath. Hmmm, well, I can’t argue with that one. But I have to marvel at Maddi’s cunning. She’s perfectly capable of making a wee in the toilet, but she doesn’t like bathing with Hannah either, because Hannah likes to boss her around in the bath, so hence the tactical release of pee pee.

10:30:  We all hop into the car. I have a tennis game with my sister. We’re playing at a friend’s complex which has its own court, clubhouse and swimming pool.

11:45:  Hannah and Maddi announce that Maddi needs to make a poo. “Okay, go up to the house and Des will open for you.”

12:05: Hannah and Maddi come back to the tennis court. “Too late, Pappi,” Hannah says. “Hey, what do you mean too late?” I shout, already knowing the answer. I drop my tennis racquet and rush over to Maddi. She’s wearing one of those full-body costumes, with short sleeves and legs. As I turn her around I spy the telltale bulge stretching the fabric around her bottom. She is clearly not happy with the situation and is sniffing back tears. “Don’t worry baby, it’s okay, I’ll have you cleaned up in a sec.” I say soothingly.

I get her out of the costume, which lets the offending stool drop to the grass. We have no access to toilet paper. So I take my really cool sweat towel (you know the small one with the zip to keep your keys and stuff in) and wipe her bottom. I also use the same towel to relocate the poop from the grass to the thick hedges around the corner.

12:20 The kids are back in the pool and I’m up one set to love.

18:00: Home again. Hannah emerges through the patio door on the stoep, announcing that a home-brewed production of Cinderella is about to begin. I sit through Cinderella and Snow White and the one Dwarf. I enjoy seeing my 3- year-old daughter take direction from my 8-year-old daughter as they express their creativity. I’m fascinated by their attention to detail, the costume changes, and not a little unconcerned about the laundry afterward. Each act is introduced, the audience applause is demanded and announcements are made about switching off cellphones and access to the parking area. My fatherly pride knows no limits. I say a silent thank you to the big guy for my blessings.

19:00:  We find a suitable children’s movie on one of the local TV channels and once again by around 20:30 they’re both asleep.


08:00:  It seems we all slept late. There are stirrings of life, but no one is up yet.

08:15:  Maddi spares me the ball-breaking entrance by sneaking into my room and crawling under the covers. I pretend to be asleep…Soon little fingers are peeling back my eyelids and I hear her voice urging me to wake up.

09:00:  We’re having friends over for lunch. So we hit the shops early and buy supplies. I pop a side of beef and a whole chicken into the oven for roasting. The girls lend a hand by chopping vegetables and cleaning the house. Hannah has this fascinating habit of cleaning the entire house from top to bottom without me asking her or for no apparent reason. Maddison is happy to sit on the kitchen counter breaking lettuce for the salad while chatting to me.

12:30:  Our guests arrive. It’s a lovely day and we set up the table in the garden.

17:00:  We lie around talking. Maddi drifts off into her own little world. She has this habit of just tuning us out and going off to do something on her own. I admire her independence, but wonder where she goes…I watch them interact and I see two motivated and equally driven little people who are probably going to end up in very different places in their adult lives, with nothing to keep them together save their biological connection. I hope the family bond will be strong enough to keep them friends and not just sisters.

19:00:  After dinner and bath, it’s bed time. This time they chose Rush Hour 3 to help them along to dream land.

21:00:  Everyone’s asleep and a good weekend was had by all.


06:00:  Up and at ‘em! “Hannah, Maddi, time to get up. Hannah your shower’s ready, Maddi get your butt in the bath.” I prepare Hannah’s lunch, Maddi is fed at her pre-school. By 06:45, we’re in the car. Maddi’s still not quite awake and has been giving me grief about brushing her teeth and what clothes to wear. Hannah is, like me, a morning person, so no dramas there.

07:00 I kiss Hannah good bye before she walks into the schoolyard. Then it’s off across town and into the mind-numbing traffic to deposit Maddi at pre-school. And so ends a typical single-dad weekend.

How was your most recent weekend with your kids?

Read more by Marlon Abrahams.

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