Nine months of hell. No — a *different* nine months.

by doodaddy on January 19, 2009

Boo looking angelic

Boo looking angelic. Just wait until the guests leave.

As we enter the waning days of maternity leave, I am more and more frequently visited by the realization that I am totally screwed.

Here’s the setup: Stay-at-home dad to a three-year old and a newborn. No day care or local grandparents. Not even a playgroup (although that’s kind of my fault).

Said three-year old is studying up on methods of sibling rivalry and regression. She’s already learned to pitch a royal hissy whenever her desired parent (which, since I’ll be the only parent around during the day, will be me) is holding the baby. And she frequently refuses to wear clothing sized above 18 months: she wants (for reasons that are painfully clear but painfully unfixable) only baby clothes.

I foresee much takeout. Video time approaching criminal levels. And — and this is probably most painful for me — I expect to rarely see my friends until that happy day when nursery school starts in September.

So, for nine months, I will be filling 40 hours a week with entertaining and enriching experiences, looking after the feeding of a big girl (who wants to be an infant) and an infant (who wants to be a big girl), arranging two or three naps a day, and oh, keeping the house in order. (Hah!)

How exactly do y’all make this work?

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in behavior,clothing,the future ·

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

AMR January 19, 2009 at 8:19 am

Mine are also three years apart and a little over one year ago, when I began this stay-at-home parenting business, Xav was four and Mar was one. I too thought I was screwed.

And, on some days, I was. It was brutal. But between the local pool, museums, picnics at the park and naps (this is so important — keep that girl of yours napping!), the day will often move along briskly enough.

Yes, there will be those days that drag (like, say, today for me — no kindergarten for Xav, Mar in the throws of the “Terrible Twos” — I laughed when I saw you were watching a lot of the inauguration coverage; I glanced at my computer for a moment before continuing on my search for a plastic piece of bread that Mar insisted I find!).

A word of encouragement — your infant will be pretty easy for the first few months. He’ll be a load, to be sure, especially when Boo wants to be carried as well (nothing like joint pain in both elbows!). But overall, he’ll eat, sleep and be still (immobile). Like you, I feel absolutely awful when the kids watch more than a show or two a day, but it happens. This leads me to the one piece of advice that has helped me more than any other — don’t beat yourself up when you’re parenting grade for the day is in the C-/D+ range. Self loathing is what makes stay-at-home parenting most difficult. If you can avoid feeling guilty every time you pop in a DVD or feed your kids processed foods (or even, gasp, a Happy Meal!), you’ll be much happier.

Ok, what a ramble. Xav is telling me about the catapult he’s constructing (nothing like heavy wooden blocks flying through the air). Mar wants more. More juice, more raisins, more everything.

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Michele Shores January 19, 2009 at 8:39 am

Sarah did this every time I went to breast feed so needless to say I gave up. Other reasons too. Anyway, I would encourage you to tell her how much fun it is to be the big girl and the older sister. We did this with Sarah and she did not see the need for being the “baby” anymore. We made being older more appealing. My girls are 4 1/2 years apart. It did help that Sarah was in preschool right after Hannah was born but it will be ok. Hang in there. If there are a few dirty dishes, or dust on a table while you are getting adjusted so be it. You will have your good days and bad but things will get better and boo will will adjust.

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Michele Shores January 19, 2009 at 8:45 am

TV was a godsend for me. The above comment is correct. It will not hurt them for life and sometimes you have to have your sanity. Make sure Boo is still taking naps or at least having quiet time in her room. It will help you just to stay sane. Nap time is my favorite. Sarah is in school but summers are crazy because Hannah does not get her toys to herself so the fighting begins. If you try to spend a little extra time with boo she will grow to love her sister and they will be close. My girls are very close but they do have those crazy, insane moments that make me want to go on a mommy vacation.

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New-Dad-Blog January 19, 2009 at 9:24 am

Good luck with that man. . . I guess there is some stuff that they don’t tell you about being a stay at home dad.

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Super Mega Dad January 19, 2009 at 4:30 pm

Oh, I remember those days!

My 3 year old son decided he needed a bottle again when my daughter was born. He also decided that he needed to breast feed his stuffed animals. That was REAL fun when we went out in public and he decided to breast feed Winnie the Pooh.

He waited a few years to get into the whole sibling rivalry thing. Now it’s like Friday Night Fight Night at home every day.

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Amber January 19, 2009 at 5:52 pm

If you figure it out, let us know. 🙂 Our son will be 2 when the new baby’s born in July. I’ll go back to work after 6 weeks, and my poor husband will have two to take care of!

Many people act very concerned about me… 2 pregnancies so close together, and its like, seriously? For me, it will be over after several hours… for my husband day after day… 🙂 I do believe he is looking forward to it though… in a strange masochistic way. 🙂

Anyway, we’re following your adventures very closely…

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Jerri Ann January 19, 2009 at 10:48 pm

have you ever heard the phrase “a woman’s work is never done?” well, this is another century and that phrase should read “a parents work is never done”

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doodaddy January 22, 2009 at 9:16 am

@Jerri Ann – Yeah, but what about my state-mandated 15 minute break every four hours? C:

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doodaddy January 22, 2009 at 9:21 am

@AMR – Oh, we’ve given up on Boo’s naps. It was hard, although we still do “quiet hour” in her room, and she’s perfectly fine with that. When she was napping, she would stay up until 11 or later every night — it was just crazy!

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doodaddy January 22, 2009 at 9:32 am

@New-Dad-Blog – They don’t tell you *anything* about it!

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