Thursday, June 17, 2010

Daddy at Home - Day Four: Going Solo

Going solo is a bit misleading.  I am not solo, I'm taking a shift.  It's a solo shift, but it lasts about nine hours and then we're back to being a trio again. 

So, I'm not completely solo, but when most people get up and go to work, I begin the process of feeding and diapering a three month old.  (In this posting, we'll use his nickname, Turtle... or Dutch...)

I thought I knew how things would go down when the wife went back to work.  I'd probably hang out, feed Turtle, get in some X-Box, put him in his crib, get dinner started, bake some bread... it'll be easy.


The first day was exhausting.  I had no idea what his schedule was, no idea how much he ate at each feeding - we're breast feeding, which means he eats until he's full.  I had no idea.  And I've been around!  I've been here every day.  I've read countless books to prepare myself and still...  I was being treated to the same learning curve that my wife went through on her first solo day.  It's very different when you're working as a team.  Very different. 

He knew it was different as well.  I'm sure he could sense it. 

Which made him scream and cry.

"Where is my 24 hour buffet!?"

"She's at work earning money to keep you in this house with all these nice things.  You get me until 6."

...And cue the crying.

Feed him with what mom pumped.

Attempt to burp him.  (he does this very stiff legged, standing, leaning, arms flailing thing... and screams...  then he burps and feels fine.)

He falls asleep and I... lay here with him on my chest, helpless because every time I put him in his crib he cries.

But by day two, we had become old pros.  I had learned a few tricks.

1) Go to gym late at night and then shower in the evening.  Makes mornings more efficient.
2) Don't sweat the small stuff, like dishes.  They'll get done.
3) Thank God for World Cup Soccer!  I love watching it and he loves the lights and movement on the tv and the sound of the vuvuzela's, the buzzing white noise of a million futbal fans.  So we get all geared up in our orange and Dutch and I watch the Oranje and the US teams play. 

(How cool is it that my first month as a stay at home dad is during World Cup!)

4) Get out!  Seriously... get out.  Strap him in the mei tai and get out.  Take walks.  Explore.  Hit the market.
5)  VISIT MOM!  This one is very important.  We can easily take the train, get into the city and visit mom  at work where the 24 hour buffet will be open. 
6) Skype.  Call Mom, video chat, make sure she knows she's missed and is still needed.  Her voice alone soothes him. 
7) Poop comes from either formula or watching FOX news.  (I don't know... it's either an overabundance of shit or Sarah Palin's snarky voice...  I have not been able to figure it out.)
8) Poop is not something to freak out about.
9) Pee pee tee pees don't work if you've got a good solid stream... they fly right off.  It's hilarious.
10) If the Turtle falls asleep, let him sleep on you.  If you fall asleep, take it.  Your body needs it to keep up.
11)  Swoop him into bed.  If you try to lay him down slowly, his reflexes kick in and he flails and wakes himself.  Hold him firmly and swoop him in and he's fine. 
12) Read to him.  He finds your voice soothing and hilarious at the same time.
13)  Try to get one thing done each day... one non-baby related thing. I meant to write this blog posting on day one... but didn't.  However, I have today, so I'm done for the day!  Bring on the poop and soccer!
14)  Kids love the grocery store.  Lots of colors!
15)  Use that sling/mei tai/baby bjorn at home!  Go hands free.  (I now know four different carries for my mei tai... tummy to tummy (legs out and in), facing front, on the back (which he's too small for but will be ready for soon), and the side carry.  All are haaaaaandy... or haaaaaands free, as the case may be.
14)  Relax.  It's not as if these early months will influence the rest of his life... oh... wait... 

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