TL;DR: When life gets harder it’s because you’ve just leveled up. I certainly hope so because this week made the first week look like a walk in the park. Novelty of a new stay at home parent has worn off, reality has set in. 

I started the week with a lot of ambition. I thought I knew how to handle Sempi. So I voluntarily decided to level up my duties as a stay at home dad.

I decided to clean the house while he was at school. Putting away the toys and vacuuming took nearly two hours. It’s not my first time, but it is my first time doing it without any help. After that I had time to eat some lunch (I didn’t have to prepare it, since my mom took care of that) and then it was time to go get him from school. There was no downtime, which I thought I could catch up on the next day. Five days later I’ve accumulated more downtime debt than I can pay off.  How do people manage to do this without help? The saving grace is that it felt amazing after I cleaned the house. It was satisfying and I felt proud of my work. This lasted a whole day before everything was back to it’s disorganized mess and the floors started getting grimy. I started pondering “What’s the point of all of this? Why am I doing this?". 

Around this time Sempi decided it was time to push the boundaries with me during bedtime. The bedtime routine is breaking and he tries to run to Yoshi when I start being strict. In the afternoons he insists on staying home and I can’t force him to leave the house. This sometimes leads to Sempi interrupting the baby’s nap. I’m unable to entice him with playtime and toys. I have run out of leverage and he can smell the desperation. 

I started inventing new ways to use the existing toys. For example, Legos/Duplos are now allowed in the bathtub. I built a submarine which I found was incredibly difficult since they raise to the top due to the air trapped between the blocks. The trick is to build it underwater and make sure you let the bubbles escape before joining two blocks.

Aside from the existential pondering, we achieved some important milestones. Sempi and I biked to a park that was 2 miles away. We both took separate bikes and I’m proud to say we made it all the way to the park. At one point while pushing up his bike through a broken sidewalk he said in a very serious tone “This job is hard work, I don’t think I can do it again”. I cracked up when he said it, which was met with a stern angry look. We took the bus back, since the way back is almost entirely uphill.

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We went to Dozer days on the weekend which gave Yoshi and the baby a break. But waiting in long lines for a 2 min ride in a bulldozer or an excavator wasn’t nearly as fun as I remembered from last year. It could be the pouring rain that soaked us wet or it could be Sempi’s last minute change of mind to not go on a ride anymore after having waited in line for 20mins.

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Sempi started serenading his brother with a song about garbage trucks when he was crying. It was the sweetest thing until he wanted to do it again when the baby was sleeping.

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I got to bond with the baby a lot more since he decided sleeping was so last week. I got to rock him, walk him around and let him sleep on me while I sit in the couch. It was nice.

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As we enter into the last week of my paternity leave, I’m hopeful that I can rebound from last week, but I’m worried for Yoshi. All this time she has been providing me with support when I needed a break and pulling in the extra load when I start to slack off. But how is she going to do it all when I’m at work? I know parents around the world have done this billion times over, but I can’t help but feel a sense of panic.