when daddy works from home

back when ramona was only a couple of weeks old, i was feeling shitty about something i don’t remember anymore. jared tried to cheer me up by telling me i was “mom of the week”. i felt vaguely insulted. “the week?” i said, “isn’t that setting the bar a little low?” he tried to explain that ramona was only like two weeks old, so i was actually doing great. i’d only been up for the prize twice & was already winning! anyway, it became a running joke between us. whenever we’re feeling like we’re not making a complete hash of this parenting business, we comment upon how we will surely win mom or dad of the week this week.

well, it’s only tuesday but i think i’m definitely out of the running this week. it started off okay. i packed ramona up & decided to take her on a little picnic in the park. i even remembered to bring a quilt to sit on & a sampling of toys to distract her. we took a little detour to the fancy baby boutique downtown because ramona has outgrown all but two of her sleepers & really needs at least one more. but i refuse to pay $45 for one, which is how much the only sleeper in her size costs. come on! she’s only going to to fit into it for like two months, maximum. we’re just going to have to make the trek out to the salvation army one of these days soon. who the fuck is dropping $45 on baby pajamas? seriously.

i went to my favorite sandwich shop & got a sandwich & a soda. then we walked over to the park. but i tripped as i was crossing the street & managed to drop the sode on ramona’s head. (it was just a little plastic cup, not a can or anything–don’t worry.) it spilled all over her & she screamed like she was being murdered. & i couldn’t stop laughing. had it gone an inch in any other direction, it would have missed her. instead, she was dripping wet & our outing was ruined. even though i got her mostly dried off with the aid of a burp cloth, she was still kind of sticky & i didn’t want her getting swarmed by bees & ants. so we went home.

jared decided to experiment with working from home yesterday, so when we returned from our outing, i found him napping in the bedroom. i was HIGHLY DISPLEASED. i honestly don’t remember the last time i took a nap. i don’t have time! even when ramona naps, i need that time to eat, or shower, or pump, or clean, or work on my computer (which i can no longer do with ramona around because she tries to gnaw on the power cord or do other dangerous things so she can get closer to the computer). it would be easy for me to nap if i didn’t have to pump around the clock & if i had someone looking after the baby for ten hours at a stretch. i don’t do that so he can nap. i do it so he can WORK. so when ramona started screaming bloody murder again, i did absolutely nothing to try to quiet her down. that’s right, ramona. daddy wants to work from home? he’s going to have to actually BE AWAKE.

anyway, jared cleared out & went to a coffeeshop. he offered to pick me up a coffee & i agreed because i thought he was going to be out for like an hour. coffee at 12:30pm? why not? but by the time 4pm rolled around & he still wasn’t home, i knew i should call him to cancel the coffee because who the fuck drinks coffee at 4pm? i sat ramona on the bed & ducked back into the living room to get my phone out of the diaper bag. it had been maybe five seconds, & i heard the very unique sound that is a baby hitting the floor, followed by a wail.

yup. ramona fell off the bed. she’s still not crawling, but she’s getting faster & faster at scooting backward. even when there’s nowhere left to scoot. she had scooted right over the edge of the bed. she was fine. she had a little bump on her noggin, but she was smiling & giggling again within sixty seconds of being picked up. but i felt kind of bad. first i spill a soda all over her, then i let her fall off the bed? maybe i could hire an anaconda as a babysitter or give her a power strip to play with, just to really complete the bad mommy triptych.

jared came home soon after to find ramona rolling around in her crib playing with her stuffed cat toy & me laying in bed next to her, alternately reading & chatting to her. he was all, “i don’t know if it’s a good idea for her to play in her crib. it’s a sleep place & i think it’s better if she only sleep there.”

okay, dude. why don’t YOU watch her ten hours a day & try to find new & interesting ways to keep her amused & safe without completely losing your mind & that way she will never be in her crib except for when she is asleep? but i’m having a not-so-great day & am going to do things my own way! i just needed a little breather where i knew she was somewhere where she couldn’t fall down or pull anything on top of herself or be menaced by my beverages.

later i buckled her into her bouncy chair & gave her a book to gnaw on while i raced into the kitchen to speed-clean her bottles. she was making content noises, & yet, jared unbuckled her & brought her into the kitchen to sit on her quilt. “why did you bring her in here?” i asked.

“i thought you wanted her in here.”

“what made you think that?”

“well, you were in here.”

“& you didn’t notice she was buckled into her bouncy chair in a different room? something that probably didn’t happen on accident?”

“i thought she’d be safer in here.”

no sooner did he leave the room than she fell over & banged her head on the floor & started screaming again. of course.

by the time her pre-dinner diaper change rolled around, during which she rolled off of her diaper no fewer than eight times while i was trying to snap it around her hips, i was ALL SET. in trying to keep her safe, i’d allowed her several hours of climbing all over me, pulling my hair, yanking my glasses off, sticking her hands in my mouth, etc. i didn’t even want to eat dinner; i just wanted to move into a cave somewhere where no one would touch me for a minimum of 45 seconds. (& jared wonders why his routine suggestion that a make-out session might be the perfect cap for a long day of baby care is not met with confetti & parades? i am all set being mouthed by people, dude.) jared was doing his usual: slooooowly washing dishes & watching a red sox game on his laptop while i am left to entertain the baby for yet another hour. seriously, sometimes i just stand in the doorway holding ramona & seething with jealousy over the fact that it’s not ME washing dishes & not being drooled on for five minutes. ramona was sitting on her quilt on the floor. i started to say, “what can i do to speed up dinner that doesn’t involve taking the baby?” but as i said it, i glanced down at ramona & she was WAVING AT ME & smiling.

heart melted. i immediately dropped to the floor & spent the next twenty minutes waving at her. & over dinner, i was able to calmly communicate to jared that it’s cool if he works at home, but i really need him not to randomly move the baby from room to room without consulting me or lecture me for letting her play in the crib. (i didn’t mention the nap. but hopefully it will NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN.) & he observed that the next time he offers to bring me coffee, he should probably make sure i get it before 4pm.

here’s hoping i can make it through today without dropping anything on ramona or allowing her to fall off anything. the anaconda babysitter will be here at 2pm to give me a break.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

4 thoughts on “when daddy works from home

  1. I swear i could have written so much of this myself. Right down to the tumbling baby and the ragestroke over napping. Or moving the baby. Sweet fucking science! I love my little so much, but sometimes i need a break.

    (I gotta say – pumping is so hardcore. Finding time for that shit? How do you do it?! I’ve just started cooking – my partner has always been the chef here too – but between cleaning, cooking and general life maintenance, it’s a wonder I even find time to stuff a boob in her mouth. If i had to bottle feed, it would look like this: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DQdl1TFkTO0&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DDQdl1TFkTO0

    Here’s to tomorrow being better than today!! How does Ramona like the swings at the park? My kiddo is sooo stoked on swings and grass. She thinks the slide is for chumps, though.

    1. pumping sucks, no doubt about it, but think about how much time you spend breastfeeding. ramona doesn’t breastfeed AT ALL. so that frees up some time for pumping.

      my supply is established now to the point that i only have to pump four times a day, for twenty minutes at a stretch. jared deals with ramona first thing in the morning so i can get up, make coffee, & pump before i do anything else. i usually do another session during her afternoon nap (though i am sometimes forced to pop her in her high chair & do my best to occupy her with toys for twenty minutes in the afternoon so i can get it in), & another after her bedtime bath, while jared works on getting her to sleep. then i get up once in the night while everyone is asleep to pump again. it means that i don’t get to sleep through the night even though ramona’s been sleeping through the night for months now, but it’s kind of nice to have some quiet time to just sit & dick around on the internet or whatever while no one is bugging me. & since jared gets up with her, i can sometimes sleep in a little bit if i need to. sometimes.

      ramona LOVES the swings! you’re my FB friend now so you can see some of the photos & videos we’ve taken of her on the swing. she’s pretty non-plussed by the slide. obviously she’s not really old enough to go down by herself, & when she goes down on jared’s lap, i think she’s more interested in the fact that she’s being held & can possibly get to work on grabbing daddy’s nose than she is in the slide experience. i wish our playgrounds here had more stuff that babies can enjoy, but…she’ll be a toddler soon enough, i guess.

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