This is it, our final weekend of Parenthood Phase One, the one where Kristie stays home with Blanche all day, sending me photos and videos throughout, and dreading this coming Wednesday: her first day back at work and away from Blanche. In reality, Kristie and Blanche have been ‘together’ every day since early July, and they’ve been at home each day since mid-January, when Kristie was put on bed rest. It’s going to be a very hard day for all parties.
Luckily, I get to stay home with Blanche for the first couple days without mommy, hopefully making the transition easier for baby and keeping mom’s worries under control. I know the second of those hopes is likely an unattainable one, but Kristie (I think) knows I can handle being alone with my baby for a day. I think I can too, but as the day draws nearer I’m less sure of myself. Here are the obstacles that immediately come to mind.
1. Nothing soothes like a boob. Perhaps you’ve noticed, but I ain’t got none. There are several other ways to calm Blanche down, and I’ve mastered some (though you can never really master the art of calming a baby), but the one that never fails I cannot perform. I do give a mean bottle, however, and Blanche does well with them, so here’s hoping those plastic nipples soothe as well as the real ones.
2. It’s OK to be a slacker. I struggle with this. When I’m home, especially on days off from work, I want to be productive. I already have a laundry list of mental tasks for the few days I have approaching. But here’s the thing: no chore comes before a baby, and many of them are difficult to accomplish while watching one. I don’t think she’d particularly enjoy riding along in her Baby Bjorn as I mow the lawn. I can’t imagine she’ll share my love of spending an afternoon rearranging the kitchen cupboards or color-coordinating the towels. So, some things won’t get done. Luckily, to this point she has shown at least a moderate tolerance of dishes, which are daddy’s go-to job.
3. My arm strength and stamina isn’t there yet. This is something that mothers master quickly, and I’d guess I will too. But as of right now, even at 10 pounds, Blanche tires me quickly. Holding, rocking, bouncing–can’t I just set you down and finish my sandwich? I’ve dared, and the consequences can be brutal. By the end of the week, I’m confident I’ll have the tricks of holding, balancing and bracing down. And sculpt those farmer-tanned arms at the same time.
4. I don’t do Days of Our Lives. But Blanche has watched it religiously since birth. We’re aware of the morning and evening ‘fussy times,’ but will there be a midday one if I somehow neglect to tune in? We’ll soon know.
Am I nervous about being a full-time daddy for a few days? (And basically every Saturday from here on out). Yeah, I guess I am. What if I can’t calm her down? What if she won’t look at me out of spite? What if she, in fact, doesn’t like doing the dishes? The potential horrors! In reality, I’m quite confident in my parenting skills and, more importantly, ability to adapt. And whatever hell I’m going through, it certainly won’t compare to the withdrawals mom will be having away from her. Frequent picture and video updates will help.
We’ll all adjust. A year ago, we weren’t expecting a baby. Three months ago, we didn’t have one. Today, we can’t imagine what it was like without her. And three months from now, we’ll have forgotten what the life of a stay-at-home mom was even like.
Really, all three of us are quite lucky.