Being a Stay-at-Home Parent is Easy

…if you only have to do it for two days.

Bachelors for a Weekend
Bachelors for a Weekend

Eva took Talon on a weekend getaway to the Garth Brooks concert in Portland, while I stayed home with Atlas. We had a lot of fun and bonding time. I even took care of some chores, so she could come home and relax a little.

We started the weekend with and empty house. Literally. I woke up to an empty house, less Atlas and me. I was expecting to get a goodbye, but I’m betting that Eva wanted me to get some extra sleep, which I really appreciate.

Anyway, I woke up to Atlas making some crazy noises. I think he was yelling at his stuffed animals, then consoling them. Weirdo. So I got him out of bed, changed him, fed him, yada yada.

Then the magnitude of my ignorance began to shine through. I thought, “Eva left me this list of housework to accomplish, so let’s get started on that!”

[Stay-at-Home Parents, this is the part where you get to chuckle and nod because you know what’s coming.]

Atlas was having a good ol’ time playing with his toys, but just as I was about to start a task, he was right at my feet or undoing whatever it was I was doing. If that didn’t work, he would get into whatever mischief he could find.

The thing that baffles me is that if I was doing nothing but watching him play, he was a perfect angel that wanted nothing to do with me. Trust me, I tested it.

Speaking of perfect angels gone bad, what’s with dirty diapers? When it’s full of pee, he lets me change him like it’s no big deal. But if it’s full of poop, he kicks and squirms and makes it nearly impossible to clean him without getting it on something. It’s like he’s on a mission to get it on as many things as possible before I can finish.

I tried to finish as many things on the list as I could, but I wasn’t very successful because I had to wait until he was either taking a nap or having a bottle. After I laid him down for the night, I took a movie break and decided that I should work on a “Welcome Home” present for Talon. It took me a couple hours, but overall I was happy with it. I’m not sure if she liked it yet, because I was asleep when they got home. Here’s a photo of the finished project. It randomly blinks bright/dim/off, but I couldn’t get a video in the right format to show you.

Cloudy With a Chance of Dreams
Cloudy with a Chance of Dreams

The next day, I tried to get back to cleaning and crossing things off the list, but Atlas was a little more needy. I just don’t know how any one person can accomplish so much during the day with a child constantly at their side or destroying what was just done. And yet, my wife does it every single day. Thank you, My Love. So much.

In conclusion, I went into the weekend with a semi-realistic notion that I wouldn’t be able to finish much on my list of chores, and came out with a much better understanding of what Stay-at-Home Parents have to deal with every single day. I know my experience wasn’t perfectly accurate because I didn’t have to do it for more than two days (day after day would really add up), but I now have a tremendous amount of respect for any and all Stay-at-Home Parents.

Thank you for working so hard with no pay to keep our home and family looking and feeling somewhat normal.

-Ryan

P.S. I purposely capitalized “Stay-at-Home Parents” because I respect them that much.

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My Son Knows [Almost] Nothing

It’s been a week since my last post and so far I’ve written a total of…zero stories. I haven’t even started a post until now (12:30pm). I can’t seem to accomplish anything without there being a deadline, so I’m going to self-impose a deadline: I want to have at least one post by midnight (Pacific) every Friday.

What should I talk about today? I’m not sure I could finish a story. They usually take about 1-2 hours to write, and I don’t have that much free time left in the day. I’ll talk about something that’s been on my mind the past couple of weeks. It’s something that’s fascinated me about my son.

He knows nothing…almost.

I can’t remember exactly when it hit me, but I remember looking at him and thinking that his whole world right now is sleep, food, and a little interaction. He can’t talk, walk, or even gesture. The most he can do at this point is smile and coo.

But what really got me, was the fact that he doesn’t know anything about air. His life depends on it, but he has no concept of what it is or how it keeps him alive. Think about it: the keys I’m using to type this very post mean absolutely nothing to him. Basic movements like kicking or opening his hands are beyond his conscious control.

The only emotions he’s been able to portray so far are pain, frustration, and happiness. He feels pain when he has gas or acid reflux, frustration when he’s hungry, and happiness when certain people or activities are in his presence.

I know this is a short post, and I don’t even have a profound life lesson. It’s really more of a rant of my befuddlement. I just can’t get over the fact that ideas and objects we pass off as common–if we even give them that much thought—aren’t even within his scope of comprehension.

Wow.

Dear Atlas

You’re almost here, and I’m almost crazy with anticipation. As much as I like being patient with most things, I think you’ve made me wait long enough. Grandpa and Grandma are here to see you, but they’re leaving next Friday. They want to see you and play with you before they leave, so you should hurry up and get here.

I’ve heard that babies tend to develop better if they’re in there a little past full term, but you have a pretty good head start.

For one, your mom is incredible! She’s super funny. She’s also the most beautiful woman you’ll ever see. Don’t think that’s all she has, though. She’s really smart, so don’t try to get away with anything. The best thing to do is always tell her the truth. You can’t out-debate her. Believe me, I’ve tried.

And your sister is a genius, too! She’s already reading and doing math way above her level. Get ready, though, because you may have to endure a few tea parties and dress-ups. She has a super big heart, so prepare for lots of love! You have to be careful, though, because that big heart of hers is also very sensitive. Give her lots of love and protect her when we can’t.

Outside the home, we live in a nice neighborhood with lots of kids for you to play with. We even have a race track right next to an airport! It’s a small town, with a little lake right down the road. We’ll take you there for swimming, tennis and the awesome playground!

I know you’re super comfortable and get “womb service” (that’s what your sister calls it), but there’s a lot out here to see and experience. Sure, it gets cold and hot and rainy, but that’s what helps makes this world beautiful! You’re gonna get bumps and bruises, too, but that’s all part of growing up and becoming You.

You haven’t heard “Love” yet, at least not outside the womb, but there’s a lot out here for you. You and Mom have had a long time to bond, so come out and let me have some time with you. I’m a little jealous. I want to add all my love to what Mom has already given you. I already know you’re worth it.

I Love You,
Dad