Time for daddy to go back to work


When my daughter Keira was born on Feb. 20, I had planned to take a couple weeks off work so that my wife Megan and I could get used to life as parents.

At the time, those two weeks off felt like they would be an eternity after pretty much not taking any time off work for the last year in preparation for this momentous event. Yet many people told me that time would start flying once the baby arrived.

They’re half-right. It’s felt like I haven’t been at work for a long time, yet I also feel like these last two weeks have flown by, with Keira at the helm.

Time became measured in feedings and diaper changes. During many of those feedings, we waited as Keira took her time nursing. We’d be amazed that one or two hours passed by the time she was full or fell asleep while still attached to Megan; that time spent nursing felt so short to us.

Once we tried to move her around to get her to bed or take a nap, however, Keira often woke up immediately and fussed. Another two or three hours would be lost there trying to get her tired again, cradling her, swaddling her, putting her down when it seemed like she was asleep only to have her wake up again in five to 10 minutes, all agitated again. And thus the dance started over.

But it’s a routine I’ve gotten pretty used to, and it’s given me a chance to really bond with both Keira and Megan. So I’m sad that starting tomorrow I’ll have to be gone 10 to 12 hours at a time, depending on my work shift. Right now it feels like such a big chunk of time to have to spend away from them after being with them both continuously for 18 days.

I know I won’t be able to spend that much time with them until at least we have another baby, which probably would be two years from now if everything works out. Any time spent away from work would be for about a week per the usual vacation time, or possibly for two weeks if we plan a big enough event. (I don’t know if I could burn that many vacation days all at once–I’d like to space them out over the year so I don’t burn out. This past year was an exception because of Keira’s impending arrival.)

It’s kind of crazy to think that any amount of time off work like I’ve just had may not come again until I’m retired. By then, Keira and any other children for the most part will be grown up and won’t want to spend all that time with dorky ‘ol Daddy.

But I think I made the most of these past two weeks with her. For sure it’s been a challenge making the transition to life as a parent. I’m so used to figuring things out and getting the hang of things quickly that it’s been a harsh reality to learn that this isn’t the case when it comes to another little human being. What worked one day (or earlier in the day) won’t work again. Until it does, sometime later. If they allow it. That’s because Keira’s her own person with her own personality, even as a baby. And because her traits came from me and Megan, we both know she’s going to be a handful.

Megan’s going to take another six weeks off work to take care of Keira, and after that we’ll have a system and schedule set up so that we can take turns watching her while the other one is at work. Megan’s mom, who has spent a lot of time here with us the last couple weeks, also will help us out on a regular basis, which we don’t mind at all, because Grandma has a blast with her little girl and would do it full-time if she could!

It’s definitely going to be a team effort to raise Keira, just like it has been since she arrived. But with all the things we’ve gone through these last two weeks, I feel prepared now to take care of her on my own such as when Megan’s working or out running errands, just as Megan is when I’m gone. And even though I know I’m going to have to start spending more time away from her, I look forward to those days when I come home and Keira will welcome me with open arms and a big smile.

Those days are probably going to get here a lot faster than I think.

~ by davidllee on March 9, 2010.

2 Responses to “Time for daddy to go back to work”

  1. These are precious photos of you two! I can’t wait to meet her.

  2. I know what you mean, the two weeks go so fast!!

    Great blog and congratulations!

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