This is awesome.
Today was my wife, Susan’s first day back to work. We’d been talking about this moment for weeks now, alternating between “it’ll be OK, he’ll be fine” to “mommy stays home and daddy gets a second job!” We’d spent time looking at daycare, looking for nannies (both subjects that I’ll write about in future posts), figuring out our logistics for the morning and the evenings, division of labor to make sure everything is ready for Nathan and his nanny when the ‘rents aren’t around, and worrying about how much he’ll miss his mom (and then about how much his mom will miss him). Still, we had a heck of a time getting ready this morning despite all the pre-planning we did last night.
Last night, we wrote out everything that we needed to do this morning and laid out all the materiel that we’d need so we could execute on our morning plan with military precision. We restacked all the frozen bags of breastmilk and reorganized our freezer for maximum accessibility and ease of finding the right bag with the right date on it (use the oldest ones first). We wrote out the instructions for our nanny and we wrote out instructions to ourselves so we’d remember to do them when we woke up and were all groggy and sleepy. We set our alarms for 6am and then went to bed.
This morning, Nathan wakes up at 5:30 in the morning, and as we planned we pick him up out of his crib at 6am and start our new morning routine. Things were looking pretty smooth when all of a sudden we find a big leak from the apartment upstairs causing water to drip from the living room ceiling. So we scramble to contact our landlady, and then the upstairs people, and then to catch up to our morning plan since Susan has to get ready and try to get to work by 7 so she can leave early in the afternoon. Needless to say, we did a lot of rushing and running around and going slightly crazy to make sure that my wife left on time, that we had everything ready for the nanny’s first day by herself with Nathan, make sure he’s fed and entertained for the morning, and get myself ready to go to work.
OK, that was the madness that was our morning, and on the my drive to work, a couple of things struck me. First, last night while we were doing our prep work, my wife had a micro-breakdown where she cried a little about leaving Nathan. She quickly recovered, but truth be told, today really was the first time that she wasn’t with the baby 24/7 or leave him with a family member. This was her first return to her “old” life, the first day of the rest of her life when she would have to leave the boy at home and go to work. I totally felt for her, felt bad for her and felt bad for Nathan, and although she didn’t see it when I held her, I teared up a little too. I think when I went back to work after my 2 week paternity leave, it was too short for me to really feel the break so strongly, and it was too early and Nathan too young for me to really get a good feel for him as a person. Now, of course, Nathan has a distinct personality that I can relate to and he’s much more interactive. I also felt my pangs this morning, after Susan had left, when I watched him sit in the living room playing with his toys while I got ready myself. How would he do with this nanny all day? Will she play with him and give him the love and attention that Susan or I or his grandmother would give him if we were staying home? Would he miss us?
The second thing that struck me was that this felt all very surreal. I felt like I was part of a TV show or a movie – I had seen this scene before, the one where the parents are scrambling to get ready for work and get the kids ready for school and suddenly this or that happens…and hilarity/drama ensues. I remembered that I had had this sensation one other time – when Nathan was first born and I held this little creature in my hands. I wonder if this is something that all parents go through, this weird sense of “this can’t be my life, right?” every time some new threshold is crossed with the kids. When Nathan goes to daycare or kindergarten, will I have this sensation again?
By the time I got on the freeway, I suddenly felt like my Dad. I don’t mean that I felt like I knew my Dad better or understood what it was like to be in his shoes or anything prosaic like that. I literally mean that I had a weird sensation of being him as he dropped me off to school oh so many years ago. Kinda weird and really hard to explain, but it’s the closest thing to an out-of-body experience I’ve had in my life.
Nathan, this kid, he’s bringing some very unexpected experiences and sensations into my life and mind. I can’t wait for the next big jolt.
I’ve never formally made New Years Resolutions before. And I know, I’m publishing this a month late, but it’s taken me a month to really think about what I want to resolve and so publicly declare. So here they are:
- Lose 20 pounds by August.
- Learn to code by December
- Pass PMP
- Write (at least) the first draft of my Book
- Master Major System
- Master Trachtenberg
OK, let me enumerate why I chose these and why I’m making a public declaration about them.
1. Lose 20 pounds by August. Losing weight is probably the world’s most popular resolution, but I’m starting to feel hypocritical for writing so many posts on “why it’s so important to be fit as a dad” while being 20 pounds overweight myself. Really, I used to be fit, and I am going to claim that most of this weight I gained as what I am calling “sympathy” weight gain. And with Nathan starting to crawl and walk (he’ll definitely be walking by August), I want to be ready to chase him around the park and the beach.
2. Learn to code by December. OK, this one sounds a little weird, but I read this article on slate.com on why learning to code should be on the new year’s resolution list and it made sense to me. On top of which, as I continue to write for this blog and read other blogs and see how other people have configured and set up their sites, I want the ability to make modifications as I see fit without having to rely on someone else doing it for me or being locked into a format preset by the WordPress theme I use. Ultimately I want the skill so that I can pass it along to my son, since, as this article from The Telegraph says, coding is the future and the sooner we can get our kids started the better.
3. Pass the PMP (Project Management Professional) certification. This is more for myself, more of a professional goal. I do a lot of project management at work, have taken a number of courses, so I figure I should get certified. And it’ll help me (in theory) bring home more of the bacon, which is all for the little guy anyway.
4. Write (at least) the first draft of my Book. This one, I’ve actually had on my list (in my head) ever since college. I think I actually have more than two dozen completely different unfinished first drafts floating around on my hard drive somewhere. As part of my effort and promise to be a more efficient and productive dad, and to set a good example for Nate to follow, I will complete at least the first draft in its entirety. If I actually complete the final draft, then good for me, but I’m trying to be realistic here.
5. Master the Major System. In a previous post I mentioned mnemonics and memory training in general. In it, I made a promise that I’d relearn the art of memory and teach it to Nathan when he is born. Well, I wrote that before Nathan’s birth, and now that Nathan is here, it’s time for me to walk the talk. I figure I gotta get good at this stuff before I have any right or hope of teaching it to him, so I think I have about 5 years or so to get good at all of the various mnemonics techniques before he’s old enough for me to start teaching. Heck, if Josh Foer can go from novice to memory champ in one year, I gotta be able to do this in 5, and I’m not trying for national championship status. Incidentally, the Major system is a mnemonic method of memorizing numbers. I deal with numbers all the time so this ought to be the most immediately useful to me…I think.
6. Master the Trachtenberg System. I’m actually going to write a future post about Jakow Trachtenberg and his System of rapid mental calculation. It’s actually an amazing and inspiring story in and of itself, but I mention it here because in the same spirit that I bring up mnemonics and how I plan to teach it to Nathan, I plan on doing the same for this system. So again in the same spirit, I gotta get cracking on getting good at it first. It’s not a complicated system, and one year should be more than enough time for me to learn it.
They say that making a public promise increases the chances that you’ll actually keep that promise. It’s not necessarily true for our political leaders, but I hope it’s true for us new dads. I will periodically post on my progress, maybe once a month. Here goes and wish me luck.
So I had originally planned on going to my Krav Maga class (I have a voucher I have to use up) but ended up staying at work late. So I came up, with every intention of eating a light dinner, then working out – either running, or calisthenics, or some of my kung fu exercises, or at least play Kinect Sports. And then afterwards spending the rest of the evening writing another few posts, set them up to publish at a future date, and then go to sleep early.
But no. I have ended doing the exact opposite of what I had planned.
I came home, then had dinner, then had some cheetos and watched NCIS, then finished off the said bag of cheetos while watching Law and Order SVU, then had another bag of Pops chips watching Hawaii Five-O, and here I am, almost midnight, still not sleeping, not having worked out, and no writing the post that I had planned on writing (a series of reviews of baby monitors).
And I can’t even blame the baby, since Nathan’s been awesome and sleeping since 6pm. Man, my at home routine has become complete mush since Nate as born, but I can no longer use baby duties as an excuse for not working out and not being productive. This is one of my New Year Resolutions – bust my ass more, hustle more.
OK, tomorrow’s another day.
I don’t know why I thought of this, but I just recalled something my boss said to me while were chitchatting about life and kids. He’s a grandfather and the COO of the company, and he said that there are two things that you don’t truly know the meaning of until you have children. They are FEAR and LOVE. So right he is.