After six weeks of Tag-Team Parenting Esther’s maternity leave was over. Returning to work meant it was time for me to fly solo. Although my newborn crash course taught me much, this was a new challenge.
I’m no stranger to challenges. I’ve run a dozen marathons and two ultramarathons, and managed a complicated trading-system installation for the U.S. Treasury Secretary but taking care of my six-week old son had me a little nervous.
Esther did her best to ease this rookie Dad’s growing pains, packing the diaper bag, leaving three matching outfits, onesie, pants, and socks per day and posting care instructions that rivaled nuclear launch codes. Turn your key now Frank.
Cristian and I drove her to work on her first day back. Sure there was some crying and carrying one but before long Esther was ok. I kept her in the parental loop texting pictures and updates several times a day.
Why Is He Crying-A crying baby usually means one of three things, I’m hungry, diaper change, or nap time. Of course it’s never that easy. A few times Cristian wasn’t hungry, had a dry diaper, and wouldn’t go down for a nap—he just cried louder. This was usually when Chico wanted attention. Why are you ignoring me Frank? Now what? Keep your cool— don’t pull your hair out, don’t throw the baby bottle across the room. Stay calm. Put him in the swing, walk him, or take him out in the stroller.
Sleep When They Sleep-I’m convinced whoever offered this advice never took care of a baby. Maybe the nanny cared for the children, or they’ve forgotten how demanding babies can be. Feel free to contact me if you want to relive those memories and I let you change a few diapers.
When the baby napped, I’d scramble like a contestant on a game show. I sterilized baby bottles, folded laundry, and prepped dinner (I’m not just another pretty face, I cook), take a quick shower and if I’m lucky shave before he woke up.
Baby Friendly Programing-Like many new parents I was introduced to Sprout and the Baby First Chanel and searched Netflix. We watched Curious George, Peppa Pig and Sid the Science Kid. You know you’re watching too much of it, when you’re singing along with the songs. I’d cringe when it was time for Susy to sing, but she kept Cristian entertained for 20 or 30 minutes so I dealt with it.
Motion Is Your Best Friend-Whether it was riding in the car or cruising in his jog stroller while I ran (that’s a different post) motion lulled Cristian to sleep. Taking advantage of this I took him everywhere, grocery shopping, the post office, and off to Grandmas. It served a dual purpose of getting me out of the house and getting the baby a nap.
Thinking back I realized I’m pretty lucky. Cristian’s a happy baby, he’s easy to take care of (despite my growing pains) and watching his daily development gives me unspeakable joy. Although I’ve needed to de-stress from time to time when Esther came home from work I can’t imagine doing this another way.