Round about the age of 13 months, my wife’s mat leave ended, and we were challenged to come up with a creative solution for child care. 13 months was simply too young for her to be put in a daycare centre (for which, at any rate, we were still awaiting a seat, on a very long list), or with hired help (which we couldn’t really afford). So we negotiated hard and worked out an arrangement with our then-employers and mum’s mum (hereinafter “Baba”, which is what the daughter calls her). Mum and I each had her 2 days a week and worked 3, and Baba took her for the remaining weekday.
When it began she wasn’t yet walking, which shaped our first days together. It was summer, though, and I spent a lot of time hauling her around in the front-facing harness – to parks, to drop-in centres (where I was typically the only dad), to the library, Science World, the Aquarium, and so on. As noted in a prior post, her vocab was advancing rapidly at this point, and we went through no shortage of books. I recall that Baby Duck’s New Friend got extensive, repeated coverage (just one off the top of my head).
She was also a terribly difficult napper, partly, I think, a product of the co-sleeping/attachment parenting, which came sorta naturally to us. Sometimes we’d lie there for two hours in the afternoon before I just gave up. So I guess we’ll tough it out until 7 tonight, ugh. I really needed that extra hour or so in the afternoon – to exercise, answer work emails, or just stare at the wall on some days. While the girl is a sweet kid overall, the attention infants/toddlers require when they’re in a single-caregiver situation can be terribly exhausting.
It was simply one of the best times of my entire life.
Sadly, as the Fall approached I became consumed with work demands such that I could no longer do my “daddy days”, and so we juggled Baba and mum around. We also started hiring nannies, which turned out to be one disaster after another (we’ll save those for another post) for a while. By 19 months we got a spot at the university daycare centre, which arguably ended the era. Some historians might have a different reading.
The last two years of my life were far too complicated and busy to contemplate doing the “daddy day” thing again. Until last week. Money matters have forced our hand – we need to cut our expenses or get out of Dodge. So the full time daycare is getting scaled back, and the coach is putting me back in the ring for 2 days a week. A silver lining. For me, and hopefully, for you.
In other news (more on this later this week), the girl and I wrote a song together. About fairies.