Reblogged from: My experience working at home for the first few weeks – @4dads1blog
It’s been about sixteen weeks since my new roommate, my daughter Lexie, moved in. It took about a day to realize that day care in one of the livable cities, Scottsdale, wasn’t going to be an option. Everyone works in our family, so we were faced with trying to solve a dilemma. How do avoid day care, work, and take care of a new baby. The solution ended up being that her mom would work at home two days a week and I would work at home three. This way we could avoid expensive day care and spend more time with our little one.
Luckily for the both of us we had working environments that supported the transition. I write code all day while she answers emails and phone calls, all of which could be done at home. So, it’s been about three weeks in, and so far here’s what it’s been like.
Effin’ Monkeys & Rangers
I started off thinking that all the grunting and whimpering Lexie would do would not be a problem, and it wasn’t. But, throughout the day I could see her getting bored. The grunting and crying would increase and then I found a magic bullet…TV. I figured out that she would actually watch and listen to anything coming from the TV like the rest of us. It soon became routine to pull up Curious George on the tube and let her be per-occupied with all the monkey sounds.
…until it started getting on my freakin’ nerves. For some reason a grunting baby doesn’t bother me, but the sound of a menacing monkey, who really isn’t that bright, started to drive me up the wall. It soon was replaced with Power Rangers, which she also found very amusing.
…until I realized new things about the show I didn’t before. Yeah, I guess my inquisitive nature was kicking in because all of a sudden I was thinking, “Why was the yellow ranger Asian, coincidence? Why does the Black Ranger break dance, was that necessary?” As a kid it was simple, people in colored suits kicking adult butt! So… it was distracting me to say the least.
Entertaining the baby had begun to lead to distractions for me. But, all was not lost. All hail the mighty iPad! I figured out I could set up the iPad in the crib with Lexie and she was equally entertained by the crazy monkey (and even music). Now thinking about it, I think it may have lead to her successes in rolling over (she’d lay on her side to veg out).
If you want to get anything done hanging out with a infant who can’t even figure out that those are her feet, you have to have a routine. Two naps. Two feedings. Play with a toy for at least two hours. Swing right before nap time. And, making sure you’re present at least every once in a while.
Right! Me and Lexie’s routine took a few days to develop, but I always try and remain consistent. As long as it’s consistent, I can’t say I’ve had anything to complain about. I also had to make sure I paid attention to her once in a while. A quick “Hey baby, soaked that toy with all your spit yet?” helped let her know her dad wasn’t just ignoring her.
Too Much Sleep = You’re a Dumbass
The one thing that’s super hard to not do is let her sleep too much. The nap time is the best time to get things done, and I’ve been far too tempted to let her just sleep. But…that kind of plan is going to kick you in the ass later…about eight hours later when she’s ready to party at about 3 am! Again, going back to the routine, I have to make sure she has some engaging things to do throughout the day so she doesn’t just fall asleep.
But, believe me, you’ll be tempted…and you will pay for it.
This is an addon to routines. Morning, when you’re the one staying home, are essential. You must get breakfast because as soon as your friend who kisses you leaves it’s all about work and, as we discussed, routine. You might not get that breakfast or coffee you need in the AM!
Lexie is a sweetheart. She rarely cries and only uses it to clue you into things like, “Dad I think I peed, I’m not sure, but please check it’s driving me nuts!” Or, “Dad, I’m starving. I’d get it myself, but that’s pretty much impossible…please feed me!” Sometimes I get the occasional, “I don’t like this spot! Or that one! Nope, I want to sit up!”
But, really, she’s a really good kid and not fussy for the most part (she’s just chillin’ in her bopie right now). That’s just blind luck! You’ll need some of that too!