Five days with no pre-school.
Five days with no adult company.
Five days preparing every meal while two people sit in kitchen doorway asking 'what are we having for breakfast/lunch/dinner?' incessantly, repeatedly and increasingly loudly, no matter how many times you tell them the answer and then once you've made the meal having not one single person appreciate it.
Five days of showering with 'help' and then wondering how to deal (naked, wet, covered in shampoo) with the child who has an epic tantrum because while she was leaning into the bathtub to collect water from the bottom, YOU got her wet.
Five days of 'help' getting dressed, meaning that every day you have to explain that no, you will not be wearing the pink, silk, feathery mini dress today, and no, probably not tomorrow either.
Five days of having no one to reassure you that at least they like you, when your kids are making it perfectly clear that they think you are a total dick. Or to give you a hug when one of them punches you right in the face as you're tucking them in at night.
Five days with no one to direct your kids to for answers when they've asked you for the 17th time in the 5 minutes since you got up 'what are we going to dooooooooooo today?'
That said, we're doing okay. Granted, he hasn't been gone 24 hours, and yes, W&P had so many time outs* this morning that they spent more time out than in, and yes, I forgot to do any laundry last night and am currently wearing Spanx** because I don't have a single pair of clean knickers, but aside from that I think we're managing.
Looking after children full time is (needless to say) very very different from the two person juggling act that is parenting with a partner and running a business at the same time. It's more focused and although I miss Nye, my children drive me fucking crazy and there's no way I would want to do this ALL the time, it is nice to a) know that I'm capable of looking after them alone and entirely (about 90% of the time I am certain that we would sink if it weren't for Nye) and b) to spend a day doing one thing - looking after the kids - instead of skittering between work and family and self like a squirrel on acid.
I made a rookie mistake though; I played all of my good cards in the first 24 hours. We have done both messy crafts AND baking, and now they want to know 'what else?'. There is the play park but it's raining. We can't go to the library because I have books that are six months overdue. I'm not taking them on public transport because I'm just not. So, before I become the most hopeless parent in the world and google 'things to do with three year olds', I ask you, what else?
*'Time out' is ostensibly a way for them to learn that punching mummy isn't okay, in reality just an excuse not to have to deal with them for a few minutes while you breath deeply and slowly and tell yourself in a comforting voice that no, you can't have a glass of wine because it is 9.30am, but yes, you can have one later, once you have put them to bed.
** wearing Spanx on a school day sucks and does nothing for one's irritability levels. There's a good reason that they're supposed to be worn with party wear and that reason is liquor.