My last day of parental leave. The last day of three and a half months of full-time, professional dad-hood. Lessons learned:
Being at home is rewarding and fun and peaceful, but also it’s own kind of job. One that's fairly low stress, sure, but unceasing. It truly does wear you down after a time (though, I think at least for this stage of their lives, the worst is over. Next level will be crawling and walking - we'll see how THAT goes.)
It is a privilege to leave the house to work. As much as we bread-winners may whine about it, we get to - no, HAVE to - leave the house EVERY day, for 8-9 hours. Four months of house arrest helps one to appreciate this.
Pleased to report that my sense of self-worth and ego have been fairly unaffected by neither having a job nor a hobby. Now, there’s some caveats here. If I truly just didn’t have a job, say, I was straight up unemployed, it would be a different story. Same with the hobby - the break was a forced move, and it doesn't feel like 'giving up' or, worse, being straight-up kicked out of the musician club. But still, feel like 'myself', and it's reassuring.
As much as I tried to hold onto moments, drink them in and absorb them, etc, it’s still always just sand through the hands. You can’t grab a memory and hold onto it like a sandwich. It morphs and distorts and then fades, like a… sandwich. (Am I hungry?) And so I’m looking at these beautiful bright-eyed, alert and content babies and I already can’t really recall living with the twitchy, impossibly fragile preemies they were two months ago. With this in mind, I’m genuinely glad I’ve kept this journal.
We just got back from the baby shower. It was crazy bananas getting them out all out of the house and into the cold, but of course they were angels, and the lad was sweet as pie as well. Now he’s upstairs having quiet time in his room, and by the sounds of it, he’s happily tearing the place apart.
It really is staggering that we’re coming up on four months of having these little thingies. How can that be? Just yesterday it seems I was in another home with my wife and single child, living on a couch, trying to get through the nights with back rubs and episodes of 'Rick and Morty'. So much has changed in so little time.
Every morning now we wake up to smiles and coos. They love being changed, they love being about 2 feet from your face. They love to look at lights and grown-ups, they’re starting to clutch at blankets and will even occasionally hold a toy for a while. There seems to be some sort of rotation as to who is most happy - couple of weeks ago it was Martha, then Sadie and now Ellie.
The feeds are getting increasingly challenging. It used to be about as difficult as filling up a car with gas. Now, as they achieve greater and greater sentience, they don’t seem as engaged as before - sometimes they’re just watching us and smiling rather than trying to chow down.