Stay at home Dad: Day One
Jan 06, 2014 • ∞
With Lindsey going back to work1 starting this week, we decided to help the transition by having me take the week off. Starting next week a combination of my mom most days and my father-in-law on wednesdays will take over, but I have enough vacation time that if I don’t use some of it I will stop accruing new time. So here I am, playing stay at home dad for a week.
Today is our seven year anniversary! Its been a crazy few weeks so neither of us has really had a chance to get out and pick up gifts for each other. However, since I’m taking the week off to watch Kaitlyn I have the advantage. If I understand our schedule correctly, for the rest of the week Lindsey won’t have to go in until mid-day, but today is a “work-day” for the teachers so she had to be there by 9 AM for meetings. She fed Kaitlyn before leaving, so I figured I had a small window of time before she would need to go down for a nap. As the saying goes, fortune favors the bold so as soon as Lindsey left the house I got up and got Kaitlyn dressed quickly and we set out.
I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to get Lindsey: a few little gifts from a department store to go with flowers and a card, so we stopped at the department store first. I thought if we were fast enough then we would be able to also get the flowers and card and stop by Lindsey’s school to surprise her before the nap. Fortune may favor the bold, but that idea was perhaps a little bit TOO bold. By the time we finished at the department store Kaitlyn was definitely fading fast. She wasn’t really upset yet, but she was starting to get fussy and I could tell by her eyes that she was tired. While I was loading everything up into the car to leave the department store I forgot to pull a blanket out of the stroller before collapsing it. Fortunately a nice woman getting out of her car with a toddler noticed and said something. Since Kaitlyn wasn’t too upset yet, I decided to press my luck. So it was off to the grocery store for the card and flowers.
Surprisingly Kaitlyn was much happier at the grocery store then I expected. She pulled her blanket up against her face and actually started falling asleep! Anytime I stopped moving the stroller, she stirred and was a bit upset, but as long as we kept moving she seemed fine. We didn’t take too long since again I knew right where I was going and what I was looking for. As we got to the car I began to have hope that we would complete the expedition successfully without major incident.
When Kaitlyn reaches this level of tired and is placed in the car, things go one of two ways. Either she screams unceasingly until we stop and pick her up, or she goes to sleep. Fortunately this time she chose the latter and so I was even able to make it through the McDonald’s drive-thru on the way home to get a late breakfast for myself. As I write this we’re back home and she’s still asleep in her car-seat, going on about 45 minutes total sleeping, 30 of them here at home.
Shortly after waking up, I exchanged texts with Lindsey and since she was inbetween meetings we packed up and went to visit. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to deliver the flowers we’d purchased earlier! Kaitlyn wasn’t quite as happy about loading into the car this time but overall she handled it fairly well, only a little bit of crying as we were backing out of the driveway. Once we were on the road she was good to go.
Once we got to the school, as I was unloading Kaitlyn from her carseat and re-loading her into the stroller I reached for the diaper bag, only to realize I had left it at home. Rookie mistake. Fortunately there was a random neon green bib on the seat in the car so I grabbed that and stashed it in my coat pocket.
The secretaries in the office “oohed” and “aahhed” over Kaitlyn while I exchanged some more texts with Lindsey to figure out where she was. At this point I realized I had forgotten to grab the flowers off the front seat. Rookie mistake number two. I didn’t really feel comfortable asking the women in the office to watch Kaitlyn while I ran back to the car, so I jog-pushed the stroller to and from the car. Once back on campus we went to Lindsey’s classroom.
I think visiting Lindsey was a really good idea for a number of reasons. It was definitely good for Lindsey to get to see, hold, and smell Kaitlyn part-way through her first day back at work. Kaitlyn seemed kind of hungry, so Lindsey fed her there in her classroom2 which was good for Kaitlyn AND good for me. Lindsey found this blog post which is a great read for any new parents3. One line that stuck out to me:
Being at some else’s literal beck and call will lay you low. It will rob you of a sense of self that can take time and tears to rediscover in this new identity of mother.
The idea that you’re becoming someone and something new really resonated with me, and I think that visiting Lindsey at school and getting to connect those two parts of who she is becoming can only help with the process.
Now we’re back home and Kaitlyn has been sleeping in her rocker for over an hour. I feel bad so far since she has been much easier on me than she usually is on Lindsey. Maybe the other shoe will drop later this afternoon/evening, or maybe it’ll take her a day or two before she decides to let me have it. Either way I’m going to try and enjoy it as much as I can while it lasts.
As a result of the trauma that went along with her birth, I was the first one to feed Kaitlyn, and it was from a bottle. However as soon as she and Lindsey were brought together, the rest as they say was history and she no longer wanted me to feed her. Fortunately a month or two ago she got better about taking bottles from me, so this afternoon when she woke up from her TWO HOUR nap in her rocker, I wasn’t too worried about our first feeding alone.
Fortunately she was happy, playful, and talkative so I was able to put off the feeding to be sure that she was really hungry. Whether as a result of the trauma or not (we’ll never know) Lindsey’s milk supply hasn’t been as robust as we hoped. That coupled with (and possibly the root cause of) Kaitlyn’s slow weight gain has meant that we’re supplementing formula with every feeding. So I wanted to be REALLY sure that Kaitlyn was hungry before heating up some of the precious stockpiled breast mlk that Lindsey had pumped and frozen.
While just hanging out I put Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home on because I couldn’t remember if I had finished it. Before I went back to work Lindsey noticed the blu-ray boxed set Star Trek Original Motion Picture Collection and was kind enough to tell me about it. I tried to watch all six of the movies before I went back to work, but since Lindsey’s not a real big Star Trek fan I didn’t have the time. The point of that digression being, at the end of Star Trek IV, there is a scene with whales singing. Lately as Kaitlyn is finding her voice we’ve commented that she sounds like she speaks whale. During those scenes she rolled onto her side to see the TV and seemed very interested and then proceeded to talk back to the TV. I should’ve captured it on video because it was ridiculously cute.
Before too long she got fussy and so we heated up a bottle of the breast milk, which she drank ravenously. This was followed by 3.5 ounces of formula and we just hung out for a while. She played with toys, with varying and then waning levels of interest until it seemed like she might be willing to take a nap again. So now she’s back into her rocker, and Lindsey is on her way home. It looks like I have survived my first day as a stay at home dad without too many scars. Depending on how well the next several days go I will try and document them in a similar fashion.