Over the past several Saturdays the routine has now been the same; we wake up in the morning, get Robby out of the crib, and my wife leaves me?
What is this? I think at first.
But soon I realize that this is my reality for the next several months. That's right, my wife is a student again. At least for now until she finishes earning her teaching certificate.
So where does this leave me. Well for the majority of Saturdays a single father with my son. I have to admit that at first I was a little thrown off and so was my son Robby. We both had blank faces like, "Where's Mom?" Like anything knew there is always an adjustment period. For me it's something that I have looked forward too, but also felt apprehension.
Having father-son time for me is a bit of a rare occasion, with only little flashes of it here and there throughout the day. For those that know me they are aware that I am currently living at home with both my parents, sister, and brother. So it is hard to get these moments to ourselves without being anti-social, but with my wife starting back at school I now finally have a great opportunity.
Getting breakfast together is relatively easy; a bunch of cheerios, one yogurt, and a baby granola bar. Nothing to complicated here. Heck I don't even have to prepare anything. Just open the wrappers, box of cereal, and we are good to go. What I have come to love is my ability to sit and just watch my son play. I have always loved observing things, and there is nothing more satisfying or interesting than watching my son learn.
A habit of Robby's that I am really enjoying is his desire to read books. A quick glance at the book section is all it takes. My son knows what he wants. He wobbly leans over to grab his book of choice, and stumbles his way towards me. Several quick pats on my leg, and I know he wants to get into my lap. I pick him up book and all, place him in my lap, and we are off reading. His favorite book is The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and a picture book of animals. We both know the routine now; read at a quick pace, and slow down when I get to the fruit the caterpillar eats through. We need to touch each and every hole, and then do it all over again. For his picture book, well let's just say that he has some favorite animals. It goes Sheep, Dog, nothing on page 3, a Puffer Fish, Lion, nothing on page 5, Butterfly, Dog, and then Butterfly again. We occasionally jump around, and recently he is starting to show interest in other animals. It is still a work in progress, but I am confident we will get the other animals down.
After this is his nap, which I used to dread. Perhaps it was the fact that I had such a hard time getting him to sleep when he was much smaller? But now I know he will fall asleep for me, but sometimes I get anxiety when he puts up a tough fight.
After his nap we start his routine over again, but this time with lunch. A grilled cheese, smoked turkey hot dogs, apples, applesauce, bananas, or really pretty much anything that is a fruit, string cheese, and anything that is typical of a basic lunch. This time has become a lot easier for me now that Robby no longer eats mush, and he can feed himself mostly everything. I just pull up my captains seat and monitor the situation. Robby likes to get over ambitious, and shove everything into his mouth if you are not paying attention.
What I have come to love in these moments are the simple quirks that make my son who he is. There are very subtle actions, looks, smiles, and laughs that make him so special to me, and I love watching him do them over and over again. When he finally learns something knew, or picks up a new habit it is exciting, but I know that it is the beginning of the end for an old one. For those who are not parents yet, or simply don't have any experience with babies this is the most maddening thing of all. Children grow and change so fast that you can literally blink and miss something new or watch an old behavior end in an instance.
Our son did this when he was learning to feed himself. For the longest time he could not pick up anything and feed himself. He would try and try, but he just couldn't put it all together, that is until one fateful moment. He woke up one morning like any other unable to feed himself, but it was cute watching him try. I kissed him goodbye and went to work. At lunch time after his nap my wife called me to let me know he can now feed himself. He went to sleep unable to do it, and woke up feeding himself like he had been doing it for years. I was excited but sad I missed this moment. That is why I have enjoyed the Daddy Daycare so much. I feel that I will no longer miss any moments for at least one day, and I hope that if does make any changes I will be there to see it.
So for now our Saturday's will continue on just the two of us, but like everything else with my son this will come to an end too. And when this moment happens I will be sad, but excited for us to start a new chapter in our father-son time.