The boy is almost nine months old and since I’ve been back to work after paternity leave, I’ve been flying weekends. Although airport Chick-fil-A is closed on Sunday it is nice to work weekends and steal the Sunday NYTimes from sleepers in the airport. I play a game of whack-a-mole where I rotate newspapers. I’ll take a Times and leave a Post or slip in an Us Weekly after finding a People.
Working weekends means I’m a stay at home dad most of the week. I’m working trips that start late Friday night to return Monday which gives me four days of full time daddy duty. Essentially, Momma Stork and I split the week in half and tap out like wrestlers when one of us goes to work.
Sometimes you’ll hear an air traffic controller briefing the replacement during a shift change. “This guy is slowed to 270 and I’ve got them on a heading while this one is holding for spacing into Chicago.”
We offer up a similar briefing. “He ate at 8 and 12 and had two dirty diapers before lunch… he was last changed an hour ago. You’re in!”
The boy and I have developed a pretty nice weekday routine. Well, I have… he plays along. In the morning we sit on the porch in our jammies and eat breakfast while the morning commuters honk at each other. Eight hours later we eat a snack outside and watch them return. Typically, we take a couple walks a day with one of the dogs and make sure the neighborhood is in check. We watch a little TV… “Two hours a day maximum, either educational or football. So as you don’t ruin your appreciation of the finer things.”
I imagine how the advertisements would differ if it was men who typically stayed home with the kids? It would be foot odor powder and beer commercials in between westerns and Seinfeld reruns.
A couple times a week we walk to the grocery store. I have to make several trips because I can only fit so much in the stroller and backpack I carry. I made the mistake once of putting the bread in the little storage bin under the stroller. A few bumps on the walk home and our bread had a little baby butt print in it. I thought about using it as a plaster mold and saving the resulting sculpture next to the failed baby foot project.
We typically go to the store at the crack of dawn when it’s just us, a few other red-eyed moms with their kids and the store shelf stackers.
I try and hustle back for naptime. Nappy time is happy time because that’s the time I play Xbox with the volume up really loud. I’ve got the house, as well as the neighborhood to myself. I spend a few hours online playing Call of Duty with kids skipping school, the unemployed and the occasional dad. I can always tell because we’re the only ones who have no choice but to leave the game even if the round isn’t over. You’ll hear a baby cry over the headset in the background and then a “Well guys… gotta go.”