Follow along as Anchel Krishna shares her experiences as mother to Syona, an extraordinary toddler with cerebral palsy.
Dilip is an awesome dad and husband. He’s always been really hands-on when it comes to parenting Syona. We’re equal partners and we do our best to divide up duties in a way that is fair, makes sense and allows us to have as much fun as we can. Weeknights after work mean that I usually take care of making our lunches and cleaning up, while Dilip gives Syona her bath and puts her to bed.
Last week, Dilip headed out for a much-needed boys night. I was happy that he made plans to catch up with friends he doesn’t see often enough. But I am not going to lie… I was terrified of taking Syona through her evening routine.
The thing is that it’s such a routine between them that “No mommy. Daddy, please” is a common phrase from Syona. And if I even try to attempt to put her to bed instead of her dad she will cry, scream, protest and refuse to sleep.
But I had a plan. Syona and I spent the whole day together the same day that Dilip had his night out planned. We played, read a book, had her physiotherapy session, she had a nap and we enjoyed a leisurely lunch. Throughout the day I told her that we were going to have a special “Syona and Mommy” night because Daddy was going out with friends. I was so nervous about how she would be in the evening that I even resorted to making up a song. In case you’re wondering it went, “Syona and Mommy, yay, yay, yay. Syona and Mommy love to play, play, play.” (Watch out music world, here I come!).
Dilip took Syona out grocery shopping before he left for the evening. It was some nice one-on-one time for the two of them and allowed me to get a bit of a break. Once the groceries were in the fridge, Dilip was out the door for a night of freedom.
Syona and I sat down to a dinner. She refused to eat the sandwich she’d requested and I ended up making her French toast. Breakfast for dinner is fun, right? Bath time was a breeze and then we were on to my biggest challenge of the night: bedtime. It took about an hour and half and I ended up falling asleep beside Syona. I woke up a little while later, crept out of her room and headed to bed myself. I was so tired.
When Dilip did get home I think I mumbled an incoherent “I love you and thanks for what you do,” before snoozing off again.
I know that people sometimes look at Syona in her wheelchair and wonder how we do it. The truth is that it’s manageable because I am lucky enough to be married to Dilip. He’s a great man, a wonderful husband and an even better father. And you do it because it’s your life and you love it. I know a number of single parents. I even know a few single parents of children with special needs. And they are all awesome parents and wonderful role models. I don’t know how they do it, but their kids are amazing and thriving.
And Syona and I, well, we’re already planning our next girls night in.
What are your solo parenting tricks?