We do not have a natural daily support network. We live in a very small apartment. We have no car.
Usually, none of this matters, as Daddyland, read Sweden, provides more than enough leeway to wiggle through a tough winter day. You got cheap daycare, good parental leave, all these “open” preschools and more buses, trains and subways than I can keep track of.
Then your kid gets sick, and it all evaporates. It is the worst when the kid is only a little sick – no benefit from them knocked out on the couch. Daycare is out. Open preschool is out. You can’t drive anywhere, immobile on a freezing, slushy February day. You can’t be outside (I tried that yesterday and turned around too late and spent 20 minutes holding a screaming baby and singing to a sick toddler while pushing a three-wheeled stroller through the slush with one hand).
You spend five straight days with two little people in a shrinking space.
We have two sets of marks on our windows. The first are from playing with the baby as he presses his face against the glass. The other are scratches of screaming horror as the Wiggles goes on for the 41st time or as one kid wakes up the other from their nap.
I exaggerate, of course. The toddler has hit a lovely stage of politeness and saying “I love you.” The baby laughs a lot when he is not crying. We are not watching the Wiggles, thank the Lord. They just make for the best worst case scenario (people get really worked up about the Wiggles – a post for another day, I suppose).
Still, for all the exaggeration, it highlights our dependence on Daddyland and brings back all we did not have in the exurbs of New York City. The result? I shake my head in wonder once again that we actually sold our house one week before the real estate bubble burst, and I get a little scared that they will make me take the house back.