Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Daddy day care

When I was pregnant with Ava, a dear friend of mine who I like to refer to as "Supermom" shared a fascinating tidbit with me. When her husband keeps their four kids, they never refer to it as "babysitting."

"It's parenting," Supermom said, matter-of-factly.

Clearly, Supermom is the expert. And let's face it: she does have a point. Where is it written that Moms automatically assume primary responsibility for children? Is a Dad any less a parent than a Mom? These are all fascinating questions - none of which my husband is interested in exploring. In his mind, the buck stops and ends with Mommy. So the moment he realized that Ava's daycare would be closed for the same two-week period that he was off work for the holidays, he turned white as a sheet and looked as if he might pass out. I was worried for a minute there that I might need to administer oxygen (not that I would have had any oxygen to administer).

So I spent my Sunday evening typing out step-by-step instructions for Nick about how to care for our daughter -- when and how much she eats, when and typically how long she naps -- all the pertinent information.

I'm proud to say that when I arrived home the first night, at least on the surface, it appeared as if Daddy day care had been a great success. Everyone was smiling and relaxed and there was nary a tear in sight.

As I approached my sweet seven-month-old baby girl to pick her up, I realized she was still wearing the pajamas I put her in last night.

"Typically, when a new day starts, we like to dress our child in a clean pair of clothes," I explained to my husband.

He looked at me blankly. I reached down to pick up Ava and immediately felt that her diaper was the size of a basketball. (OK, I'm slightly exaggerating). "Did you change her diaper?"

"Of course I changed her diaper," he said, as if he wanted to add a "Duh" on the end.

"When did you change her diaper?"

"9:30 this morning," he said flatly.

Apparently my comprehensive instructions for Daddy day care were not quite comprehensive enough. I think I need another session with Supermom.

Rachel Raya is director of Internal Stakeholder Communications for Texas Health Resources and is the proud mom of a seven-month-old girl.

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