Daddy Time

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Melissa is at the NSGC conference this weekend.  This is the longest she has been apart from Everett, and the longest I have ever watched him solo.  I feel both excited and apprehensive. I’ll try to keep this updated as the weekend progresses.


T minus 4 hours:

Melissa is scheduled to depart at 6pm tonight and we will be taking her to the airport.  She has already made food for us to eat and written detailed instructions on Everett’s care from the moment he wakes up until his bedtime.  This was ostensibly for our favorite babysitter who is taking care of E tomorrow, but she only has to take care of him from 10-3 so I think there are a few reminders for me in there as well, which is completely fair considering Melissa is with him all day every day.  Besides, I would like to have some navigation tips in case any rough spots arise.


We drop Melissa off at the airport.  E is pretty cranky the whole ride home.


E eats homemade quiche for dinner along with some banana.  I make a pizza and let him eat all of the black olives off of it.  Taking bites of food off my plate is a huge pet peeve, and I would never let anyone else do this, so I take it as yet another piece of evidence to support my theory that babies emit some kind of mind control pheromones over their parents.  After dinner we play the Hi game, which involves saying “hi” about 100 times a minute at close range until you are out of breath.  The rest of the evening Everett makes the sign for more and says “More? More hi?”


Glow in the dark bath, then play and story and bed.



E wakes up and immediately wants to know where Mom is.  I show him the empty bed and tell him she is away until Sunday, which he seems a bit confused by.  I have many things to get done before Molly arrives at 10am.  As I try to accomplish these things I recall Melissa saying “Don’t plan on getting anything productive done while you are watching him.”  I eventually give up on most of my list and we watch the Num Num video seven times.  Why are children’s songs so catchy?  This is going to be playing in my head the rest of the day.


Molly arrives and I leave for work.  Everett seems particularly upset that I am leaving.


I return home.  After Molly left, Maddy and Joseph watched E from 3-5 pm and after they leave the house is strangely quiet with just the two of us.  E is not quite his normal self and doesn’t eat much dinner.  We Skype Noni and watch Andrea Bocelli sing goodnight to Elmo.  Then bath, story and bed.



Everett wakes up and asks for Mom several times, and I try to explain that she will be home tomorrow night.  We watch some Sesame Street videos with Elmo.  I’m not sure where it came from but E certainly seems interested in Elmo and asks for him repeatedly during the day.  What is surprising is that Elmo became a part of E’s vocabulary with almost no exposure – Elmo toys are not something we have around the house.  It must be something about being red and furry with a high pitched voice and a giant head.  Quiche breakfast and then Skype with Gabby and Gabby.


We visit the Audubon nature center where they are showing one of their resident owls.  These are fascinating creatures and E seems pretty interested, at least judging by the number of times he points and says “owl”.  We spend some time looking around the center, then climb the watch tower and then hike down to the beach.  Everett tries sand flavored Pepperidge Farm goldfish for the first time.

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Skype with Mom, during which E is pretty quiet but he eventually gets into it.  Then we eat lunch and walk around outside a bit followed by a nap.  There are a couple places inside our house where if you set a bowl of water out during the winter it would freeze solid.  I decide this will probably be one of the last days this year that I can address these problems and take apart door thresholds during his nap.


Everett sleeps for three hours and I need to run some errands before the day winds down so at about 4 I encourage him to wake up.  I prepare a snack of dried mangos, Cheerios and goldfish and a cup of water (we have been out of milk since yesterday) and we hit the road first for groceries and then the hardware store.  I have to go to the bathroom at the grocery store and I wonder how parents, especially Moms, do this with kids.  Without getting too graphic, a number one for a man with one child seems manageable.  Beyond that I don’t know how people do it.  I recall a product called the Baby-Hanger which was endorsed in the Dave Barry holiday gift guide.  The first time I read it I thought it sounded ridiculous; now I think it’s an idea that is at least worth considering.  Our errands proceed and everything is going great until about halfway through the hardware store when E decides he has had enough sitting in the stroller.  In retrospect this is when things started to unravel.  I try carrying him but he wants to explore and the hardware store isn’t safe for that so we get going as fast as we can.  He throws a fit when I put him in his carseat.

I arrive home and after following some cries of distress realize that one of our cats is locked in the garage.  This is odd because they are indoor cats and I didn’t let them out.  She must have left the house when I was working on the door thresholds and been in the garage when I closed up to run errands.  She goes in the house, and at this point I have a car full of groceries, a dog that is going berserk and a hungry, clingy baby.  E wants me to hold him but I can’t do that and unload the car and prepare dinner.  He cries and I console him until he remembers that he can now get into whatever he wants.  As recently as two weeks ago we thought our house was babyproof.  It is not.  Everett can now open the refrigerator, cabinets, drawers and doors as well as climb onto the sofa and the bed and who knows what else.  He decides to go through the spice cabinet, which is not great but I let him until I discover one of his newfound abilities is to unscrew the caps from bottles.  Within a couple minutes the floor of the office is covered in peppercorns.  Finally I put on a baby video and he settles down until dinner is ready.  We’ve had a fair amount of quiche so tonight the boys eat tacos with cheese and avocado and black olives.  We have bath, playtime and E goes to bed a little before 8.



E wakes up screaming, which is weird.  I put him in bed next to me hoping that he will go back to sleep.  This has never worked before but for some reason I remain hopeful.  Eventually we get up, have breakfast and head to the hardware store to find plumbing parts.  This is virtually impossible for an 80 year old house but again I remain hopeful.  After that we go to the zoo for some closeup viewing of Happy the hippo and the giraffes, then home for lunch, during which our neighbor Dennis stops by.  He and his son Henry are headed to Green Bay soon for the Packers-Cowboys game.  Dennis is a Packers fan.  Henry is a Cowboys fan and decides to wear his Dallas jersey until Dennis’ cousin persuades him not to, partly with the aid of a $20 bill.


E goes down for a nap and I resume work on the house until he starts stirring around 3.  While working on the house I consider becoming a Packers fan.  Because I have never really followed professional football I am unencumbered by any emotional allegiance to another team.  Also, I like beer and that seems to go with football.  Once E wakes up we watch a few minutes of the game but my attention quickly wanders and he wants to watch the Num Num video.  As a test I ask him if he would rather see Num Num or Elmo and he responds Elmo, so we watch a few videos and then go for a walk with Kyra.  I’ll have to practice being a better fan.


E has an early dinner and we head to the airport.  I note that he is getting less and less tolerant of his carseat and stroller – now it only takes a few minutes for him to get restless and unhappy.  I  begin to wonder if this is because of his development or my parenting style or Mom being away.


Melissa arrives!

We return home where E has second dinner and we have our first while talking about the weekend.  Melissa’s conference was hosted by her professional organization, the National Society of Genetic Counselors, which for some reason is more than 99% women, many of whom are Moms away from their families.  Apparently Atlanta experienced a huge spike in bubble bath usage over the weekend.

When I was about 10 years old one of my Mom’s friends from college said to me “There are only two good things about being an adult: you get to drink, and you get to go to bed whenever you want to.”  She was being a little facetious but I think I understand her motivation.  Freedom and responsibility seem to grow in relative proportion to each other as we get older, but at times it feels like the number and magnitude of responsibilities we face as adults and parents have taken over a disproportionate part of our lives.  After a while this starts to feel normal until brought into contrast by the carefree innocence of someone who is new to this world (one current reminder for us is Everett’s habit of waving and saying hi to every animal he meets).  Everett’s motor abilities now provide him a lot of independence and provide us with a sign that parenthood is transitioning from the physical heavy lifting phase to the emotional and intellectual heavy lifting phase.  It was nice for each of us to have some time to ourselves this weekend and for me to have some time with Everett.  It is much nicer for everyone to be home together to share the joys and responsibilities of raising him.

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