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A Dad's Guide to Being Alone With His Son While Mom's Away

I like to think that my wife and I co-parent our four-year-old son. I'm a modern kind of guy and I feel that I have really tried to take fatherhood a step up from the "Mad Men" generation of my father. I was wrong. I was terribly wrong.

And I recently found out that I have no idea what I'm doing.

A week ago, my wife had to travel to Dallas for work for approximately 36 hours. I would be the sole adult in our two-bedroom apartment. The life and well-being of our son would be completely in my hands.

And with that realization, my wife went insane.

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It all started with a handwritten list:

This is serious. This is the actual list she gave me. Read it carefully. This is how my wife rolls.

I won't go through this list point by point. Let me just say, COME ON, REALLY?

She wanted me to scrub the shower and the toilet?

If I'm going to be totally honest with you, which I totally shouldn't be,I need to tell you that I spent my entire 20's living by myself, and I don't think I scrubbed the shower or toilet a single time. So I think I could go 36 hours without doing that.

The problem is, my wife left quite a few things off the list. Since I am easily inept at being a father, I ran into quite a few dilemmas. The entire 36 hours of single parenting just kept going downhill.

The following are notes to my wife, Lara, about all the things she missed telling me to do that I kindly posted on Facebook for her to enjoy.

Lara left for the airport on Monday afternoon at 10:00 a.m.

She arrived back in New York at 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday evening.

And here is how I survived.

Monday, 10:30 A.M.

Dear Lara,

You left this coffee mug in the sink. This wasn't on your list, so for the life of me, I have no freaking idea how to handle this. Please advise.

Monday, 10:35 A.M.

Dear Lara,

After pondering this for four minutes, I decided to take it upon myself to put the coffee mug in the dishwasher. You did tell me to run the dishwasher on your list. However, there are very few dishes in said dishwasher. I'm not sure what I should do. I hope I have not disappointed you. Waiting impatiently for your trip to end. Only 35 hours and 55 minutes remaining.

Monday, 11:33 A.M.

Dear Lara,

More problems. There was nothing on the list about how to handle the laundry situation, so I just took half of it out and dumped it on the floor. Then grew tired. I hope I correctly handled the situation.

Monday, 5:45 P.M.

Dear Lara,

I gave up on the bath idea. Things are getting difficult. Lucas is eating pizza in front of the TV without broccoli. I know you insisted I make him broccoli, but the smell makes me nauseous. And I hate it. Broccoli is just the absolute worst thing in the world and I think it's about time our child learned that. Seriously, would you rather live till 95 eating broccoli, or live till 80 not eating broccoli. I think we both know that answer.

Monday, 6:59 P.M.

Dear Lara,

I forgot. Was I supposed to put Lucas in the bath or the toaster before bed? Or should I just put Lucas and the toaster in the bath????? Again, you left this off the list. #childcareishard

Monday, 7:15 P.M.

Dear Lara,

Lucas is in the bath and I came into the living room to do some cleaning. I have some terrible news. Monko and Pluto (Lucas's favorite stuffed animals) have gotten into the liquor cabinet. They are having a drinking contest and then will be participating in a knife fight. Sh*t has gotten real. I will keep Lucas in the bath until the fight is over. I hope you're having fun on your business trip.

Monday, 7:55 P.M.

Dear Lara,

I'm getting ready to put Lucas to bed. All hell has broken loose. Monko won the knife fight and Pluto is a terrible bleeder. I'm figuring out a way to explain to Lucas why Pluto will not be sleeping in his bed tonight.

Also, I can't find pajamas for Lucas. I'm dressing him for school tomorrow now so I don't have to do it in the morning.

Biggest problem, as you can see from the picture, is that Lucas and I are trying to vacuum. Neither of can remember if the power cord or a metal fork goes in the light socket. I wish you'd answer your cell phone to explain. Let's hope we correctly choose.

Tuesday, 12:05 A.M.

Dear Lara,

I woke up just past midnight and found Lucas and Bailey fighting over a toy. I decided to go back to bed. I'm exhausted. I think they're both mature enough to handle the situation.

Tuesday, 7:05 A.M.

Dear Lara,

The outfit Lucas wore to bed got ruined in the epic Bailey/Lucas toy fight from late last night. You didn't leave any instructions on where I can find the rest of his clothes. So I dressed him in my clothes. I hope that is okay. Can you get on an earlier flight? Please, for the love of God, come home.

Tuesday, 12:45 P.M.

Dear Lara,

Since bathtime went so poorly last night, I was thinking I should just throw Lucas and Bailey in the Hudson River and give them a bar of soap? We are lost without you.

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Tuesday, 2:45 P.M.

Dear Lara,

Bad news. We ran out of money. I took Lucas to a fountain to scrounge for loose change. Nothing so far. Please advise.

Tuesday, 4:30 P.M.

Dear Lara,

We decided that since we are now safe and sound at home, we are not going to get off the couch until you walk through the door. Please never leave us alone again. I forgot to follow your list. I know nothing of parenting. You are the boss and I cannot be trusted. I need a nap.

Photographs by: Joshua Adler

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