It’s the last Friday of my wife’s three-month maternity leave and we’re driving home from our week in Ocean City, making it the last day of vacation both literally and literally. On Monday, my wife will return to work in D.C. and I will start my new job as full-time dad for our three month old daughter, a concept my new neighbors don’t seem to be grasping.
“Oh, so you’ll be working from home?” No, I’m going to stay at home and raise my daughter. “Oh… so you’re going to work at night now?”
Upon returning home, Jenn (wife) realized that she didn’t have enough work clothes for her ever-changing body size. “I need to go buy myself some work clothes. Do you want to come?” Having already served my penance in the matter of shopping for maternity and baby wear, I thought my time would be better served at home. Besides, Mabel (daughter) had a whole week of NFL Live to catch up on.
The exact second that Jenn left the driveway is about when Mabel started crying. Maybe it was because she gets irritated in long car rides and was just getting around to complaining about it. Maybe it was because she couldn’t smell mommy anymore. Maybe she was sick of listening to Trey Wingo bastardize the word “literally” on national television. Either way, this lasted longer than normal. And none of the normal fixes were working. I tried feeding her. Not interested. I checked her diaper. Nothing out of the ordinary. I tried burping her until it just became gratuitous beating. Nothing. So I resorted to old faithful, walking her in the stroller. That seemed to distract her enough. For about three blocks.
Of note is that my wife left her cell phone at home, negating the possibility of any Hail Mary phone call I may or may not have been considering.
I got Mabel back home and tried putting her down. Still crying. I tried sitting her up. Even louder. I tried laying her on her side. The other side. The swing. The only thing that seemed to be working was holding her in my arms and walking around. This was going to get tiring.
Eventually Mabel calmed down. To keep her calm, we went for another walk. This time for longer and she slept through most of it. Finally. A calm and happy (or at least not currently crying) baby.
We got home and I put her down so I could answer an email. She started grunting. I continued to type. The grunting grew louder. She wanted daddy’s attention. So I bounced her on my knee and sang to her and I booped her nose seven or eight times while my email sat mid-sentence, with the blinking cursor mocking me. Every time a car passed by, I looked out the window in hopes that it was Jenn. I checked the clock. She had been gone an hour and 45 minutes.
Oh my God. How am I going to do this for ten hours by myself every day? Maybe we hadn’t thought this through all the way. Oh well. Wish me luck.