This week marks the first week of ten weeks of travel, as we’re now on the road in Philadelphia. It also marks the first week of mostly primary parenting. I say “mostly” because my wife will still be helping out a ton, as will her parents for about a week, and of course the legions of babysitters across the land that will hang out with him. But I’ll be the primary, as Jenny is working on a bunch of really cool projects both on the phone with her agents and directors, and on the ground.
Speaking of which, we just found out that we’ll be covering a new piece of ground, as she was selected for another development project, this one in Chicago. The only time available to do it was the two weeks between our time in Waterford, CT and Seattle, WA—which is exactly where it fits! So now we’ll be doing four playwriting development series in four states (but with only one toddler, thank god). Holy logistics, Batman.
In other news, Jeni and I got our respective families together for an afternoon of lunch and dolphins in Baltimore! It was a great time to hang out and catch up a bit — we haven’t seen each other for about 10 years! — plus I got to meet Jia and Jeff. The kiddos loved the aquarium, but I think we may have had as much fun as they did. For anyone who hasn’t been, the National Aquarium is definitely worth it, though you’ll want to spend at least 2-3 hours there seeing all the exhibits. Hopefully we’ll get to meet up in the fall in their neck of the woods, and do a Smithsonian museum!
So this week Jenny is at rehearsal five days this week, but luckily they were mostly half-days, though with the one-way 2-hour commute, they might as well have been full days. But between some great napping on Gabe’s part, some babysitting, and those half-days, I’ve had a pretty “light” week. Though it’s still very tiring. There’s something about watching a small, mobile yet uncoordinated child that is just absolutely exhausting. Even in this exhausted state, I still learned a few things:
- I didn’t realize it until this week, but meal times are actually a chance to catch my breath. He’s stuck in his high chair; he eats slowly; he loves picking up individual pieces of food. So why not dump out a few hundred pieces of rice and let him eat them individually while I make myself a salad? Self-feeding is a skill that needs to be honed. Plus it’s improving his fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination! Win-win.
- Another thought on eating: I love it when he finds a new food he likes! He tried some zesty sautéed chickpeas that I made for a salad (with smoked paprika and chili powder). He loved them. The bonus is that it’s yet one more food that he must pick up and eat individually, buying me more time, so that’s great.
- A third thought on food (am I hungry?): Making dinner for your partner while watching a baby/toddler/small child is a serious undertaking. You (and I) should prostrate yourself (and myself) at the feet of your (and my) partner and thank them until they tell you to stop and get up. Then we should probably give them a bicep, shoulder, and back massage, because they (most likely) held said child for at least 50% of the actual food prep. This past year I’ve tried to be thankful to Jenny whenever I came home to dinner on the table, but it’s hard to be really thankful when you’ve had a full day and you’re thinking about the next day.
- This one is about dogs. I brought Gabe to the dog park near us because the kid is crazy about dogs. He has three words right now: mama, dada, and da (“dog”). So we went and he got to see at least 15 “das.” And between blocking various das from getting to close and personal and between asking various owners if they mind if Gabe pets their da, I end up talking to the da owners. What I realized is that some da owners seem to treat and see their das like children, which I guess I knew, but is odd to see in practice. When they ask how old Gabe is, I say 13 months. When I asked one woman how old her da was, she said “Four months and a week.” To be honest, I don’t think I’d remember the correct age after about a month or two. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m thinking I’d say “a few months?”, with a vocal lift at the end to show it’s a question and I’m not very sure. I definitely wouldn’t know it to the week. I guess I’m glad the owner didn’t say 17 weeks. So it just seems weird to see what I think of as a baby thing (knowing age to the week) at the da park. But really, I guess I was the only guy bringing a toddler to a da park, so I was in their world, where they care deeply about das. They didn’t come to a daycare so their da could get pet by some 27-month olds. Anyway, just an observation. Not meant to get anyone’s dander up (pun intended).
- Don’t do the very dad thing of straining your back while you’re the primary parent. I may have got a bit overzealous in my workout kettlebell workout and may have strained my back. Now I can only lift with my legs, which is a great reminder and good to practice for form, but very annoying when a certain kiddo needs to be picked up.