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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Pumpkin Snacks

Halloween-Audrey

The following exchange takes place EVERY SINGLE MORNING:

“Daddy, I want pumpkin snack.”  “How about a ‘Good Morning’ instead?”  “I want pumpkin snack.”  “Let’s start with breakfast, okay?”  “NOOO…I want PUMPKIN SNACK!”  And off she runs.  Whee.

So what are pumpkin snacks?  Pumpkin snacks are candy.

And they have infested my daughter’s brain.

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My Newborn Son Hates My Guts

Thinker-Zachary

It started when my wife left the room and said, “Mind watching him for a few minutes?”   Oh, sure!  No problem.  Newborns can’t move, after all.  They’re pretty much helpless.  I can handle this.

And then he pooped.  One of those long, drawn out, grunty poops too.  It was unpleasant to be sure, but fine!  Poop, as they say, happens.  So I took care of it.  Such is the awesome father that I am.

The next day I was holding the little man.  You know, gently and with love.  Such is the fantastic dad that I am.  And my wife left the room again.

Right then he pooped again.  And grunted.  And gave me a look that would shatter glass.  Suddenly it hit me:

This kid hates my guts!

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The Spray Park: America’s Great Bacteria Frappe

Spray Park-Audrey

I had never been to a spray park until recently.  Oh sure, I’ve driven past them, but frankly they always seemed like some place I had best avoid.  All the spraying “water” and frolicking children…they just looked like giant bacteria frappes.

But now that I’m home with my 2-year-old every day, it’s been over 90 degrees outside with high humidity for what seems like forever, and there just happens to be a spray park right at the end of my block, well…

I decided it was finally time to try the frappe for myself.

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Oh My God the Terrible Twos Are Even Worse Than I Could Have Possibly Imagined

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I don’t know what happened.  She was…fine!  I mean, she says “No” too much, she’s a messy eater, and she has a nasty tendency toward biting me on the neck sometimes, but Audrey was never a monster.  Certainly not ever a snarling beastly thing with pointy teeth, cold eyes, and a banshee-like wail to wake the dead.  But she’s like that now.  And to think that after over two-and-a-half years I thought I was out of the woods.  Que lastima.

The so-called Terrible Twos were upon us.  But ironically, it took a little while for my wife and I to realize it.  The signs in and of themselves were just the typical instances of a precocious young child struggling to adapt to this crazy work-a-day world.  But all added up, the picture soon became clear.  This infamous stage of toddlerhood was upon us.  God help us all.

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So I Decided to Give My Daughter Pigtails…

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I have never–not once–beautified my daughter’s hair in any way.  When it’s daddy-daughter time, her hair is typically a post-apocalyptic mess.  Just a big ol’ fuzzy mop.  Part of this stems from the fact that my wife usually takes on this daunting hairstyling challenge.  The other part I can safely say…

Is FEAR.

I mean, I’m a man.  I might be hairy, but I sure as hell don’t know what to do with any of it.  Do I cut it?  Do I comb it?  Blowdry it a little?  I don’t know!  And that’s where the fear comes in.  We fear what we don’t understand.  And I don’t understand hair.

But being a man also means stepping up to the plate and taking on challenges we don’t wish to face.  And giving my daughter pigtails was going to be a challenge.  So yesterday–finally–I stepped up to that proverbial hairy plate and took a big, meaty swing.  Did I hit it out of the park?

Let’s find out.

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