You probably ALL know this but TCON is the Tennessee State Thespian Conference. It’s now held in Middle Tennessee (at MTSU) after years and years at Germantown High School (doesn’t it make more sense for a state conference to be in the MIDDLE of the state?). Anyway….
I could write this kind of post every week but this one has been extraordinary. Five externally women have helped take care of the kids while Mom (Becky) was away at a conference. So a big thank you again to Jenn Sanders, Patty Twaddle, Andrea Maguire and Arlenda Flannel and Keshia Williams. I wouldn’t have kept my little amount sanity without you.
Note – the week in question was back in January. I had both kids solo for the long MLK weekend and most nights the week before while the wife did rehearsals for both her spring musical AND a performance at said conference.
No one ever told me how hard the second kid would be. Even if L had been like E, I think it would have been hard. But this is just something else sometimes.
Two hands and one kid – they fit. I never know how much of a hands-on Dad I was. Verbal communication isn’t always a strong suit of mine when I can just grab and do. I can multi-task for days but trying to get one kid to get their shoes on while spending 15 minutes rocking the other to sleep or feeding a bottle – not my strong suit. Goes without saying that the almost 30 minute screaming fit we get EVERY SINGLE DAY from L is just draining.
There are moments still when I wonder if I am the right Dad for my boy – moments I never had with the girl. And it’s a wonder because I so strongly wanted the boy first. God, are you laughing up there? You gave me this kid so I will love him through this and raise him the best that I can.
It’s only natural I guess for working parents with children to have a discussion about daycare. One of the first thing that comes up is the cost. I think we should change the narrative up a bit and talk about the “care” part.
I’ll divulge some personal info – for E, my 2 1/2 year old, the cost comes out to about $32 a day for up to 9 hours a day. That breaks down to about $4/hr. Find me even the most desperate of teenagers willing to watch a child for that amount of money. Granted, it’s not perfect. They may give her milk when we would have given her water. They may change her diaper a half hour too late. They may forget to fill out her daily info sheet or any other small trivial thing. They are not her parents – we are. They are just trusted shepherds during the day. We wish ours had a microwave to make a bit fresher meals but understand the liability and space issues around that. Plus, imagine trying to heat up and cool down 20 microwaved meals all with different instructions. I know my kid is special but I Know she’s not the only one there too. Do we wish they were open just a TAD bit later so it didn’t affect B’s play rehearsal and my ability to pick her up sometimes. Sure. Again, small potatoes. For E (and soon L) to be at school with Becky all day has so many benefits. Becky can check on them whenever she wants and there is only ONE place for us to drive in the morning – even for me, it’s right off the interstate so it’s a small detour to drop them off.
But back to my main point, E has been with Ms. Eagle, Ms. Summers and Ms. Thaxton (amongst others but these are the primary people so far…) ever since she was a little over 4 months old. She loves them and they love her. She is learning an insane amount there. Just in this Year 3 of daycare, the phrases and songs she has come home with that were not taught to her by us have been remarkable in scale and number. Even with long breaks for summer vacation, fall, spring and summer breaks, they are a big part of her life and upbringing. During the week, she spends more awake time with them than with us (a sad realization). The other day I stayed around daycare just a bit longer. I think I was a little tired and wanted to make sure I had everything dropped off – lunch, milk, snack,etc. I proceeded to watch 5 of the little girls have back to back to back meltdowns. Some were on the ground sprawled out, some yelling, some of their faces were scrunched up in frowns that looks to be permanent. You couldn’t pay me enough money to have stayed another 15 minutes. But these ladies do it for people who aren’t even their blood or kin.
All this to say, be thankful for the people watching your kids. If you don’t like them, change the situation. I’m excited for L to be there with his sister soon.
Thank you to all the childcare professionals out there.
I normally am not on my phone when I’m with the family. It’s just something I consciously try to avoid so they get as much of my attention as I can give them. That often puts me working late at night or catching up on person emails after hours but it’s a sacrifice I am glad to make. If I could, I’d go back to the days of the flip-phone. Remember when you had an answering machine and someone couldn’t get a hold of you while you were away from home?
Anyway, E and I were playing with her kitchen garage yesterday. I was catching up on a mix of Facebook and some work emails that I thought were important. The kid was mixing up some imaginary concoction with a spatula and a cup. All of the sudden she looks at me and says in the most serious tone “phone up daddy”. This from my kid who I’m pretty sure would watch Peppa Pig or play Fisher Price Little People apps or watch YouTube videos (that she can navigate herself) all day.
You wouldn’t believe how quickly that phone went into my pocket and didn’t come back out until after bedtime.
There are some things that happen now that I never would have imagined as a single man or even a non-parent. I thought I’d start a little list here and maybe update it over the years as E gives me more and more to laugh about.
I hope this strikes a chord with some other parents out there
Nap time is cool again – for parents
Bathroom door locks are a good thing
Doors must be opened very slowly
Gates are your friend
Two parents are much better than one…heck, three might even be allowable!
Getting up at 6:30 in the morning was EARLY
You could go to the bathroom by yourself
You got to listen to YOUR music in the car
Walks in the parks didn’t require a stroller and a snails pace
You could exercise?
You were able to leave home with just your stuff
Overnight trips didn’t require 7 pieces of luggage
You could use your own cell phone without a tiny pair of hands all over it
You finished a conversation
After bedtime, the house didn’t become like a library (shhhhh)
One thing I have learned about parenting is how plans can fall apart so quickly. It’s almost better to have no plan at all sometimes.
A baby with a fever that has to be sent home from day care AND must then stay home the next day = finding a sitter on really short notice…or taking a day off from work on REALLY short notice. And what do parents do when a snow day is called and their kids can’t stay home by themselves yet? Which parent takes off?
Baby didn’t nap for the day and realllly needs one…well, cancel that coffee with a friend in the late afternoon and put that kid to sleep!
Guys night out at the movies and baby had a not so good day – better get that movie on Netflix in a few months!
I get envious of my friends who have family that live in the same town as them from time to time. It must be nice to be able to lean on a loving grandparent who lives a few streets away. Granted, they probably still have jobs too but anyway to spread the support must help out. I have never wanted to move back to Memphis (nor Becky to Michigan) but this, in addition to wanting E to be around more family as she grows up, has put the very notion on the table. It’s still a .000001 change but that’s more than it ever has been.
We had an awesome visit with GiGi (Brian’s Mom) this past weekend. We barely left the house except to get some food but we had an awesome time! Come back soon. I’m so glad we were able to share Emerson and all of her new “tricks” with her!
It’s football time in Tennessee! We have had a great time cheering on the Tennessee Volunteers and Tennessee Titans to unbeaten records. I’m sure it’ll all change soon but time together with family and friends is what is gonna make this a PERFECT season (cheesy? who cares!)