Today is finally the day: the day Kristie has, for the last three months, forced herself to believe would never come. Today she goes back to work, and leaves Blanche for the first time. I can think of a couple instances when they’ve been apart for an hour or so–never more–so the buildup to this moment has been incredibly emotional.
Thus, to attempt to keep Blanche and Kristie connected, I’ll be documenting my day with her, and updating this post throughout the day. Remember, not only is this a big day for Kristie, but it’s a big day for me as well! My first day alone with Blanche all day; I’ve mentioned my fears before, but mostly I’m excited. With my luck, though, she’ll pick today as her fussiest, poopiest and least smiliest. Nay, we musn’t pollute the mind with unhappiness. With that, let us begin the day.
7:00 a.m. I wake up as scheduled, but wait! I’m not alone! No more dressing in the dark, tip-toeing around the bed or wondering in the shower if I turned the alarm off or just hit snooze…Today we woke up as a family, and I got to play with Blanche in bed as opposed to my usual body-lunge over the edge of her bassinet.
7:20 a.m. After several minutes of play time, I change Blanche as Kristie gets ready. This will rarely be the routine, as I’m always out the door before Kristie in the mornings, but it’s good practice. It’s certainly not my first morning in charge, though. Virtually every weekend I’ve taken B in the mornings to let Kristie sleep in. I’m well-practiced. Kristie puts me in charge of choosing her outfit, though she can’t resist pointing me in a number of directions. It usually takes her a few times to get it just right, she says. I don’t know the difference, but my choice is met with positivity.
8:00 a.m. Blanche is sleeping again in her swing, her go-to comfort spot. I again play domestic dad, making breakfast and coffee while Kristie pumps. This whole bottle feeding idea is the part of the day I’m most unsure about. Kristie has a rhythm, and I’m afraid I’ll lose track of when she’s eaten, or screw up getting the once-frozen breastmilk slush into a drinkable form. Or forget a bottle when we go out (I have a convenient dentist appointment this afternoon). Or give her too much! Or not enough! Or forget to burp her and be confused when she screams because I didn’t burp her!
We know I won’t do any of these things. After all, in this relationship, one of us is regimented. Organized. On schedule. According to plan. And it’s not Kristie.
8:35 a.m. Kristie says goodbye to Blanche for the first time. It is a powerful moment, probably the second-most emotional minute since Blanche’s birth. The most emotional being a dramatic Twins win, of course. Kristie says she can’t remember struggling more with any other moment in her life. She feels “crazy bad sad,” she tells me as I walk her out to the car. I load the car; it’s an event now, with a diaper bag and breast pump accessories accompanying the usual purse, lunch and coffee. And then, she’s gone!
9:00 a.m. Blanche is still sleeping. This is easy! I’m surfing the internet, watching tennis, fighting allergies, texting–I can see how this might become a comfortable lifestyle.
9:23 a.m. Blanche stirs! Is it breakfast time? No. She’s back asleep by the time I get to her side. A Janell Monae song comes on the Current. I crank it up. Still she dozes.
9:35 a.m. The Replacements’ Kiss Me on the Bus comes on. I crank a little higher. Still nothing. This girl definitely got her dad’s sleeping skills. Maybe some clanging dishes will wake her?
9:54 a.m. Dishes do nothing. I check the cupboards for lunch options; I haven’t made lunch for myself on a weekday in quite some time, and our pantry is looking quite bare. I pull out a Hamburger Helper Beef Stroganoff. Expired December 8, 2005. I didn’t even know those things could expire! Canned soup is the favorite at this point.
10:11 a.m. Still sleeping.
10:20 a.m. I’m awake! And so well-rested and happy! After a few content minutes, I’m ready to eat. Here goes nothing. Oh no…she won’t take the bottle…breathe…maybe it’s too cold. I fill a cup with water and microwave it for a minute. Good job remembering how to correctly heat a bottle, dad. A couple minutes in the warm water and we’re ready to try again. Success! 3.5 ounces down! And we’re still happy!
10:40 a.m. Time to do one of our favorite things: sit in my Bumbo chair! Guess what I learned? If I rock my body a bit, I can make the rocking chair ottoman rock back and forth! This is so fun! Bumbo time lasts about 20 minutes, but then daddy has a bunch of stuff he needs to write on his blog. We transfer the bumbo into the sun room, where dad decides to switch it up and give Blanche a little time on her soft bear blanket…bad idea. Why move her when she’s content? Lesson learned.
11:10 a.m. Now I’ve really done it. Blanche is upset because I moved her. How to fix it. Pacifier. No good. Walk and bounce. A little better. Hold her and type with one hand. Difficult and unsuccessful anyway. The solution? Stash her in the Baby Bjorn, toss her a pacifier (I heard it called a wiggler recently and think I’ll be using that term. Way better than paci, nuk or whatever), bounce on the yoga ball and type away. Aaaaahhhhhh. That’s better.
11:45 a.m. Nothing like a noon shower. Guess it’s probably time to get out of my pajamas too.
11:55 a.m. Out of the shower, and despite my most cautious preparations, Blanche is crying in her swing. Lost her wiggler. Like a champion, I race downstairs, slide that baby back in, and she’s calm in seconds. What did parents do before pacifiers? I can only hold my finger there for so long.
12:15 p.m. Canned soup it is. And potato chips and dip. Hey, I’m not the one responsible for the baby’s nutrition. I can eat what I want. As a matter of fact, I’m going to have a can of regular Coke, too. A little too early for beer I guess…
12:40 p.m. As we get ready to leave for the dentist, my fears seem to be coming true. Blanche is in line to eat at 1:30, exactly when my appointment is. I don’t really know the protocol here; can I feed her while in the chair? Do they mind if she screams for a half hour? Can we just cancel this altogether and say i had no cavities? How often can I do this several-questions-in-a-row thing? Isn’t it getting out of hand at this point?
12:48 p.m. She’s asleep again after being awake but calm in her swing for the last hour. Maybe I can keep her sleeping in her car seat until my appointment is done…but first I have to put away the potato chips. Crap. I crumpled the bag and startled her awake. Nevermind.
12:53 p.m. Am I tweeting?
12:55 p.m. As we were about to leave for the dentist, I thought it might be a good idea to check her diaper. Good thing I did, because inside was a present potent enough to pop one of the snaps on her onesie. We were one spray away from a blowout, and I’d rather not have on in the dentist’s office.
1:05 p.m. We’re on our way, and Blanche apparently isn’t a huge fan of Arcade Fire. Probably didn’t help that the song Wake Up was playing. But, superdad that I am, I blindly reached back, found her wiggler and placed it safely back in her wailing lips. Crisis averted.
1:30 p.m. Just as she had with mom, Blanche sleeps the entire time I’m being probed. It’s a bit unsettling to be stuck in a chair, looking up at the ceiling, sharp things in your mouth, and unable to see what your baby is doing. Thankfully Anita was watching her and giving me timely updates. Everyone at the office was dumbfounded by her gentle giraffe, which played a soft and soothing waterfall as she slept. I wasn’t familiar with the old hotel beds the dentist mentioned that played similar relaxing sounds.
2:20 p.m. A visit to Hot Mama, where we were adored by customers, snuggled by mom and chugged a much-needed bottle. A quick visit to work and we were back on our way home.
3:10 p.m. Since it’s daddy’s day, I get to play whatever music I want and as loudly as I want to, so on the ride home, we blasted David Bowie’s Hunky Dory. I promised Blanche I wasn’t talking about her when I sang “Oh you pretty thing, don’t you know you’re driving your mother and father insane.” But I do agree with Bowie when, on a later track, he sings “If your homework brings you down, then we’ll throw it on the fire and take the car downtown.”
3:55 p.m. Get me out of this car seat! I’m crabby! Is this because we didn’t watch Days of Our Lives?
5:20 p.m. After an hour-long struggle, we finally fall asleep. And by we, I mean Blanche in her swing and me on the couch. This baby-watching stuff is taxing! I barely remember answering the phone at 6:30, when Kristie called to say she was leaving work. I’m sure I would have woken up had Blanche started fussing.
6:55 p.m. Finally, after nine and a half long hours, baby and mommy are reunited. No time for saying hello to dad! Must see my baby! Thankfully, I kept her intact and relatively happy. But I am ready for a beer.