Looking Back at My Year as an At-Home Dad

Audrey Zachary Classy Chair

So I got a job.  Yup, starts today.  I’m pretty excited about it too!  But I must admit there’s a significant element of terror involved.  Not just because the role is going to serve as a big challenge for me—which it will—but also because I’ve spent the past year at home, watching the kids and keeping the house from burning down (albeit just barely).  Needless to say, this week is going to be a monumental adjustment for this at-home dad.

But before taking the plunge, I afforded myself one final chance to look back on the past year of my life; the goods, the bads, and all the other lessons learned during my time alone with the kids.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

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Introducing the Men’s Only Reading Club

Zachary-Reading

As a stay-at-home dad, I don’t get a lot of downtime.  If my newborn son is asleep or chilling in the swing, my daughter is likely to be painting the walls with strawberry yogurt or balancing atop a rocking chair to reach an out of reach picture frame.  Conversely, if my daughter is down for a nap or watching Wild Kratts, my son is screaming for a bottle or whining about being in his saucer for too long.  It’s exhausting, and accelerating the graying of my luxuriant hair.  But every so often I do manage to get a bit of a break—even when little Zachary is awake.  So what did I decide to do with that precious time?

I created the Men’s Only Reading Club.

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My Daughter’s Unique Recipe for Eating Her Baby Brother

Audrey-Zachary Saucer

It cannot be debated that while babies look delicious, they should not be eaten.  This hasn’t stopped my 3-year-old daughter Audrey from hatching a plan to do just this, however.  She just can’t wait to harvest her baby brother for food.

AUDREY:  “Let’s eat Zachary, Daddy.”

ME:  “Oh yeah?”

AUDREY:  “Yeah!  Let’s sprinkle chocolate on him.”

ME:  “Oooh, that should make him tastier.”

AUDREY:  “Yeah!  First step is to sprinkle chocolate on him!”  (mimics sprinkling chocolate on the boy’s head)

ME:  “Great!  What’s the second step?”

AUDREY:  “Next we pour the butter!”  (mimics pouring hot liquid butter on him)

ME:  “That actually sounds pretty good!  What’s the third step?”

AUDREY:  (thinks for a moment then raises her finger triumphantly)  “Now some ketchup!”  (squirts imaginary ketchup then strikes a victor’s pose)  “Now he’s yummy!  Let’s eat him now.”

So it was then that my daughter and I sat beside young Zachary and pretended to pick pieces off of him and eat them.  We licked our lips, grunted like ravenous Vikings, and even debated Zachary’s tastiest bits (The belly—we both agreed the belly was the best part.)  It was a real highpoint for us.

Because there’s nothing like familial cannibalism to bring the gang together.

So I Interviewed My Young Daughter About Santa Claus…

Audrey-Candy Cane

My 3-year-old daughter has never fully understood Christmas.  Sure, Audrey enjoyed the presents, treats, and lights in the past, but there was no real anticipation for her.  All the fun just happened, and that was enough.  Now that she’s three however, a strong sense of excitement has set in.  She knows Christmas is coming.  She knows she will get presents.  She knows she will get candy and treats.  And she knows Santa Claus is coming.  It’s fun!  But it also got me wondering…

How much about Santa Claus does she really understand?  I sat down with her yesterday to find out.

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I Am a Big Antisocial Weirdo Around Other Parents

Audrey-Window

An at-home parent typically has one choice every day:  leave the house or stay at home?  Staying is nice because you can go without pants all day and watch The Price is Right.  Going out is nice as well because, you know, nature.  But while going out often involves diaper bags, strollers, and frantic store aisle chases, those unpleasantries aren’t the worst things about leaving the house.

It’s the fact I’ll have to speak with other parents.

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Lessons in Fatherhood as Taught by Eighties Movies

Zachary-Spider

It was only after I said to my daughter, “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything,” that I realized I just quoted Back to the Future.  I must admit I was a little self conscious about it at first, but a 2-year-old doesn’t know a McFly from a Tannen.  And the sentiment certainly isn’t bad advice to impart on anyone.  In other words, an eighties movie just taught my daughter a life lesson.  Interesting.

This got me thinking:  What other wisdom could I glean from the films of my childhood?  How could the movies of the ‘80s shape me into a better father?  And these are pretty stupid questions, aren’t they?

Yep.  But let’s see what I uncovered anyway.

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