Monday, August 22, 2011

John on: "Staying at home with Jack"

On Saturday I took off to spend the day with my friend Leigh in what was the longest amount of time away from Jack ever. I was gone 8 to 5 and, while I missed him terribly, it was nice to put on earrings and a shirt that wasn't stained with spit up or dry crusted pea puree. I also got to listen to my own music for the long drive (no lullabies) and got to eat a lunch with two hands. I never really worried about how the boy was doing though because I know he loves his daddy. Still, to be a fly on the wall for John's first "stay at home dad" experience....

On a daily basis, I leave Lisa and Jack standing in the doorway, waving goodbye. Saturday, it was Lisa driving away from me and the boy.

Probably my first day as father and son tearing up the town together should have been more momentous. Throwing rocks at cars from the freeway overpass, teaching him to hold a chaw in his lip, betting the superfecta at Hollywood Park, something along those lines. But knowing Jack’s aversion to change I went with keeping it simple and playing to my strengths.

Music is my go-to move usually. I played him a record. He watches it spin. I let him pound on the piano. He’s not a big believer in having a tonal center yet. I put him in his crib and let him kick while I strummed my gee-tar, seen here:

I’m hoping extending his tongue means he likes what he hears.

This got him through to his first nap. Our goal is to keep him down longer than 30 minutes. He woke up at 30 minutes, and when I tried to get him back down, the kid actually laughed in my face. He’s lucky I love him.

Our big outing was to the Do-It Center where I Bjorned him as I knew I’d need two hands and a non-yelling kid to root through the screws and bolts section of the store. I immediately got smiles upon entering, all from the ladies. It is certainly obvious in a hardware store the different perspective men and women have of a baby. Women smile and swoon. Men grunt and move on. I turned the corner to head down the main aisle, an elderly woman spotted us from what felt like half a klick away, and said, “Can I see your baby?” (I hope my reaction didn’t come across as appalled or put off, because she followed with “I won’t get too close, I promise.” Maybe I have the same naturally pissed off face that my wife carries.) And as she approached, another woman came from the other side with a hello and smile for Jack. They were a mother-daughter tandem, who were about to become a grandmother and great-grandmother for the first time in December. In addition to cooing at Jack, they wanted an up-close look at the Bjorn. We left it at “Get one for your daughter” and “congratulations.” A sweet, nice moment.

Countered by a male sales clerk smirking at me as I left them: “Don’t you wish you had one of those when you were single? Total chick magnet, right?” Yes, a great way to pick up expecting grandmas. Like I said, the male/female perspectives have their differences.

In the bolts/nuts/screws aisle, Jack was incredibly excited, kicking and cooing away. My dad is happy to know that the hardware store appealed to his grandson. Of course, so does getting his own foot into his mouth.

By the time we left, and took a walk down the street to the bank and back, Jack was getting close to his second nap. The plan was to get him home and put him down. The plan didn’t make it out of the parking lot. I looked back once and he was rubbing his eyes. I looked back a second time and he was out cold:

He went down so fast, that I fought a serious instinct to pull the car over to make sure he was breathing. Then I did something I never thought I’d do: Travel two towns over to go through a Starbucks drive-thru to delay having to try to move the kid from his car seat still slumbering. (This is where I checked to make sure he was still breathing. I held out for a 15 minute car ride.) I relied on Starbucks having the least efficient drive-thru service in America to extend his nap as long as possible. I was not disappointed. However, I was inevitably disappointed by my inability to move the kid from car seat into the nursery without waking him up. Again, he laughed in my face. But the laughter did reconfirm the whole breathing thing, so that worked out.

I don’t know how long blog-posts are supposed to be, but I’m more verbose and do far more self-editing than my wife (*understatement of the decade), so I’ll just end it saying, generally, it was a bump-free day. Downright enjoyable. He allowed me to get a tri-tip sandwich at the Handy Market. I got to even sit and eat half of it before he started airing his grievances. Very thoughtful boy. Lisa sends me pics and video during my workdays so I don’t feel like I’m missing anything, so I tried to return the favor for her. Here are the remaining highlights I texted/emailed her throughout the day:

Waking up from his long nap of the day. Dazed, confused, and questioning who the hell I am and why I'm not mommy.

He's becoming more and more comfortable with his instinct to rip the glasses from my head. This is him eyeing them up towards the end of our day. Or looking lovingly at me. One of the two.


  1. Great post John. Love the story.

  2. yay lisa for a well deserved day off! and i'm feeling for john in that starbucks drive thru. how is it possible that it takes so long? the downside is when the baby wakes up and there's no escape.

  3. I love Lisa's blogs but this one from you when Mom was absent just made me howl. haha

  4. nice to hear your perspective, John. Sounds like you boys a had pretty darn good day.