#SummerofDad Week 4: Travel, News, and Food

IMG_8833This 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.

  

2 Comments

  1. I can relate to so much of this. That is a lot of travel! Good luck. The first thing that jumps out at me is the last thing about getting hurt and having to care for a child. I did the same thing but separated my shoulder. Holding a toddler with one arm is not easy. Interested in hearing more about how the logistics go with traveling so often. Wonder if you will get a lot of use out of the baby carrier. In Europe it’s been very handy since so many places are tiny and narrow. Hopefully you do not have that issue in the states.

    Glad to hear you are finding all the little tricks to get stuff done while Gabe is awake and that you are getting help. Just a little help goes a LONG way. One thing to consider is if Gabe gets squirmy in his chair when you make him food is to have him sit close to you while you prepare it. Stays engaged and you can keep your eye on him. Soon he will be doing what mine does and trying to get out, and standing in the seat. Not good!

    Way to go Kyle! Glad to hear things are going well and props on the dog section. Very funny. Also can I request to see more pictures?

    Just wondering but can the comments default pic be male instead of female? Just curious….

    • Kyle
      Kyle

      June 26, 2015 at 12:01 PM

      Hey, Ben! Glad you enjoyed the post. So far we’ve been nearly drowning in travel and work-related logistics and have been trying to figure out ways to reduce the logistical burden. I may have to write a piece about that, as I think it’s something that so many parents go through, whether it’s because they’re ambitious, have odd work/travel schedules, or something else. Logistics can quickly take over your life and your relationships.

      As for the injury thing — sorry to hear about the shoulder, but glad it’s better. We could all probably benefit from more stretching, yoga, and knowing your limits. Hopefully we can all keep the injuries to a minimum.

      For the carriers, we haven’t used either a ton yet. It’s too hot in the summer to have Gabe so close with the Ergo (we become sweat bombs) and the pack is a bit bulky. I know what you mean about Europe being narrow — there was a similar problem in New York City. Everything is so old and small! Anyway, we just use the stroller.

      I love your idea about putting Gabe near the food-prep action. I think that could work really well. Maybe I can even get him a set of children’s utensils so he can help “prep” food with me.

      Will try to do more pictures! I often forget to take them because of juggling the other 10 things while I’m with him…

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