Being a stay-at-home mom in one of the hardest jobs I can imagine. No, I’m not saying this merely to get brownie points from my wife…which I will…but watching an infant for any extended period can be trying and deserves a kudos now and again.
I bring it up as I had the privilege of watching our 18 month old alone twice in the past week. Now one may assume a father should be more familiar with the daily routine of his own child, but unfortunately I am away working most of the day while my wife takes care of our little gentleman.
That means the things she has learned and the structure our child needs is a bit lost on me. I know when I leave in the morning he’s already up, and I usually return right before his bedtime. What happens in those hours in-between is now becoming much clearer.
The calm-ish baby I see is just one side of our little boy. Apparently, he has an alter ego that comes out in the middle of the day. An alter ego that says nothing but “NO” and causes more trouble than I ever knew.
I’ll begin with Saturday. Christy had a baby shower to go to, so Eric was mine for the afternoon. I’m not sure why a baby wouldn’t be welcomed at a baby shower, but I digress. Although Saturdays for most folks is just part of the weekend, it’s another day of working several jobs for me.
After careful planning and schedule shifting, I settled in to hang out with Eric for the day. He really was well behaved, but even at his best, he can be tough to keep up with. Eating schedules, diaper changes, snacks and entertainment all must be addressed. Although she was only gone for a few hours, it felt like an eternity. Not having another adult around makes things much, much harder. I ended the day with a new found appreciation for everything that my wife does.
Fast forward to Tuesday night. My wife and some of her fellow Moms decided they should have a “ladies night”. Knowing how Christy lacks that adult interaction from day to day, I agreed it was well called for. After a bit more schedule juggling and adjusting, I settled in for an evening with Eric.
My mom was also out on a “ladies night” of sorts with my aunts, so Eric and I headed over to have dinner with my dad. After making a mess out of some pizza, Dad and I decided that giving Eric some Oreos and Kool-Aid would be a good idea. Turns out the sugar enduced high would be my downfall.
After running around like a mad man for a few minutes, I noticed the familiar smell of dirty diaper. I took Eric into the other room to change him, which is always a battle. After 5 minutes of chasing him, I finally got him cleaned up and changed. About 10 minutes after that, I noticed him playing on the floor in a pool of water, which actually turned out to be baby urine. Apparently the diaper was not as securely attached as I thought. I cleaned him up again and decided it was time to head home. Instead of his normal 7:30 bedtime, Eric was up until 9pm.
I felt like a pretty crappy father until I recounted the story to my wife. She laughed and assured me that I was not alone. She too had faced these same little issues and relished the fact that I had experienced them too. I can’t imagine my life without Christy and I’m thankful she’s the one in charge of Eris’s well being. Somehow I doubt he’d make it too long on Oreos and Kool-Aid.