So what's the deal with Alice’s work/stay-at-home dad? Why does this guy post random nonsense on Facebook at four in the morning? I know this is these are questions you’ve all been wondering. Well, Alice’s dad here, guest-blogging on Growing Up Senge.
Well, the short answer to all of that is I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home and care for Alice during the day. I work for an extremely accommodating and wonderful little company based here in LA called Alfred Music Publishing. Those of you who learned to play the piano as kids likely learned from the Alfred’s Basic Piano Course.
I work as a music engraver for the department that makes music for school and church bands, orchestra, choirs, handbell choirs, marching bands, and jazz bands. Based on that job title, I know you're envisioning me with lead plates and chisels *tink tink tink-ing* away music notes, but it's all computerized now. I prepare music for publication. I make it all look correct and nice. It's a pretty solitary gig, so many of us in the company work off-site.
My work day begins at 4:00 A.M. with a hearty amount of coffee and the East Coast feed of NPR’s Morning Edition. I generally enjoy being up before everyone else, so this wasn't that big of a shock to my system. That said, getting up a 4 A.M. never gets easier, even three months later.
For the next six or so hours, I plug away on various projects I have in the queue. The big one is a beginning school band and orchestra series. I've spent 95% of my work life on for the past 2 1/2 years.
Those of you with kids, keep that book cover in your mind, your kids may eventually learn to play an instrument out of it. At least that's what we’re hoping!
At 8:30, Erin leaves for work and Alice is already sawing logs in her first nap of the day. She usually wakes up around 10:00 or so and then it's time to put my dad hat on. Bottles, Applecado Sauce, diapers, stroller walks, running errands with the rest of the world's moms, and endlessly rolling around on the floor. The real fun has begun (truth and sarcasm both implied here) now that Alice can, as they say, "creep." Don't keep up with the parenting lingo but reading this baby blog anyway? "Creeping" is a slightly more advanced skill from the early stage of dragging one’s self by the forearms. It’s a lot like that, but involves the feet and legs and much more intent and control. Just imagine army crawling—without the barbed wires and M-16 in hand. It’s a ton of fun now that she’s more interactive and giggly about stuff. The flip side of that is the constant hovering and need to stay one step ahead all of the time she's free on the floor. She doesn’t so much care for anything that contains her for very long. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a dream when there's no other alternative for her - like out in public she rarely makes a peep. But when the living room floor is in sight, that’s the place she wants to be.
We spend the next couple of hours together doing stuff, listening to music, reading books and playing with toys until the noon feeding. A good helping of the delicious baby food concoction du jour, vitamins and a clean diaper, then it’s off to bed for another two-ish hours and back to work for me. Repeat all of that once more and that’s my day. When I put her down for her 4:00 nap my day is basically done. She’ll typically sleep from 4 until we wake her up after dinner, but then Erin’s back on duty. Beer me!
Before I started this, I thought it was going to be much more difficult to manage it all, but Alice has been a dream of a baby. I don’t have any other experience with kids, so this is all I know, but I can imagine her being a lot harder to take care of. She’s pretty independent and content most of the time. Barring any actual problems/illnesses/teething issues there are only three things a baby needs and they all happen every day, usually in the same order at roughly the same times of the day. If that's a schedule, fine, but even off a schedule the same three things are going to happen day in and day out. Based on our experience, my advice to parents is just pay attention to those three things and work with them instead of imposing your own will or alternatively being completely unaware of your kid’s cues to you. Alice is on a pretty great schedule that seems to work for all of us, but that changes week to week at this age, so as her grandparents like to say, we “stay agile.”
I feel like the luckiest guy ever with this little life I have with my wife, little girl, and cats. I love nearly every second of what I’m doing and cherish more than anything else, all of this time and first experiences I get to share with Alice. I’m not sure what the future holds, but I do hope this starts the two of us off on a really positive father-daughter relationship.
In case you were wondering, Applecado Sauce is home-made apple sauce and avacados. Alice loves it.