A Bigger Change

So, as reported below, no more Diaper Telemetry. I’m sure the disposable diaper companies are glad it’s gone. They don’t want you thinking about how many diapers a baby goes through — it’s not good for their business. I’ve gotten a handful of emails/comments from site visitors who decided to go cloth or ecological or banana leaves after seeing how many diapers a single baby can consume.

For the benefit of new readers, yes, we used disposables. But before anyone yells at me for so far sending 3,500 diapers to the landfill, just hold on. Nothing went to the landfill. They’re all in a storage unit out on Highway-54 for safekeeping.

Anyway, that’s all yesterday’s news. The big news today is that I am no longer a 100% stay-at-home dad. Trixie is now in part-time daycare. She started last week on what was supposed to be a Mon/Wed/Fri full day. She went for a half-day Monday, a full day Wednesday, and started throwing up Thursday.

Much in the way Native Americans were decimated by the European-born smallpox, Trixie was no match for the daycare super-germs. Everyone told us it would happen, but I didn’t realize I would be able to set my watch by it. After a weekend of recovery, we started her back this morning. We’re now doing M-F mornings, so that she’ll have a regular day-to-day schedule. This way she’ll also get to take her nap at home where she feels more comfortable.

As for me, I’m still at home the whole day, but now I finally get to do some serious work on Trixie Tracker in the mornings. That was one reason that we needed to send Trixie to daycare. That and I was slowly losing my sense of humor. We’re also doing it to help with her socialization. She’s still not really talking yet, and we feel it would be a good thing for her to play in a group setting.

Lastly, I feel compelled to address all the insane wackos who have visited this site once and then gone back to their blogs and ranted about how I should spend more time with my daughter. Just to set the record straight, they finally have a leg to stand on. It’s finally physically possible for me to spend more time with daughter. But I’m not going to, just to spite them.

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29 Responses to A Bigger Change

  1. mom2four says:

    Good Luck with daycare! She’ll love it, she’ll be excited to tell you all about her day, you’ll get lots of kid artwork to hang on your refrigerator and she can do the messy crafts (fingerpaint, glue, making confetti learning to use scissors) kids love to do someplace where your house won’t get messed up while she’s doing them — and she’ll miss fewer days of school once she start Kindergarten, because she’ll alreay be exposed to kid germs. Stock up on tissues, Vit. C, and hand sanitizer — they will come in handy.

  2. Summer says:

    wow i can’t even imagine!! how is she dealing with that big change in her daily life?? is it somewhat sad for you since you’ve been with her since birth? i can’t imagine Autumn away from me, but, i understand why you’re doing it! hopefully it helps with things you need to get done. i, also, have felt like i’ve changed as a person. i no longer seem to have my sense of humor (for adults- i can make Autumn laugh a lot!)- But i don’t have much adult conversation so i feel somewhat sad that my personality has changed like that. that’s why it’s nice to “talk” to some people from here; it just seems like a break in my 24/7 toddler-talking days! good luck you guys.

  3. amy says:

    Congrats for taking the plunge–and strength to you and your immune systems. Trixie will love day care–as tough as it is for me to leave my little one there, I get a huge kick out of seeing her already have a best friend (really–at 7 months they’re inseparable!). Plus, it’s fascinating to watch/hear how she’s compartmentalized behaviors. But the germs are inescapable. And oh, so powerful. I could not sympathize more!!

  4. benmac says:

    I don’t really want to get into all the emotions. The crying, the screaming, the lying on the floor and kicking and stuff, because frankly it’s embarrassing behavior for someone my age, but yes, it’s hard and sad to let them go at first.

    As for Trixie, she really does love it. She’s practically euphoric in the parking lot, but calms down quite a bit once she realizes that I’m not sticking around. After she gets over that hump, she has a ball. Her favorite thing in the world are babies, and there are a lot of little ones for her to ‘help’ with there. BTW, if you happen to be the parent of one of Trixie’s younger schoolmates, just so you know, she doesn’t do this anymore.

  5. Gayle says:

    Have you ever thought of using baby signs? They’re supposed to speed up speech development and from what I’ve seen, they really seem to work…

  6. Summer says:

    “please” and “thank you” in sign language are really easy for babies to learn! Trixie could learn that in a snap. Autumn learned it at around 9 months old, and now says “please please please” (like Grover in “A Monster at the End of this Book”), but still uses the sign language sometimes. It’s like second nature to her! All it is, is her putting her open hand on her chest and moving the fingers up and down. At least that’s pretty close to exactly how it is!

  7. Tom N. says:

    My hat is off to you, Ben, for being a full-time SAHD for well over a year. I’ve always had Dorothy part-time (at least since she started daycare at 3 months old), and I’ve sometimes thought I’d lose my mind after just one day alone with her. Two in a row really drove me bonkers at times. I don’t know how I would handle it 24/7…

    As for socialization, we just moved across country, so Dorothy was out of daycare for a few weeks. We were a bit surprised to see how happy she was when she got to the new daycare and had other babies & toddlers to play with again. Or maybe it was just the new toys they had there. But I think that, even at this early age, having others her own age to play with is good for her.

    Just watch out for when she starts kissing boys (read the final paragraph there to see what I mean).

  8. haeshu says:

    dont let the wackos get you down. school is great for trixie and for you! besides we are all looking forward to you getting your sense of humour back. we need some really biting commentary on trixies day at school and how billy was caught eating paste under a table. also looking forward to the unveiling of trixie tracker. now that diaper telemtry is gone will you be tracking any toddler behaviors? i know potty training is out…

  9. Erika says:

    I’m sorry but the thought that you ever lost your sense of humor is absurd. I just shot diet coke out of my nose at the storage unit comment. I expected you to launch into an explanation of the diaper decision or at least link to it, but this line was much, much better.

    Jackson has also started daycare after being home for a year with his dad. He cries whenever I leave (the teacher said this could last up to 8 weeks; the semester is 9 weeks) but then he has a great time all day. The daycare is in the same building as my office so I see him on his walks and I run down the hall to peek at him (without him seeing me) 20 times a day so I know all is well.

  10. John says:

    Colum went to daycare for a week while I was in Asheville, NC making my book. He loved it too- he loves kids, most whom he calls “Toby,” and the teachers at the daycare he went to were fantastic. (By the way, if any of you live in Asheville, and need a daycare, check out PJs on Brevard Rd.)

    He also got sick, after being there one week, and he passed on the illness to us. Daycare is, unfortunately, like an airport for diseases.

  11. John says:

    Oh- I forgot to ask- will Trixie take naps at daycare? If so, how will that affect the sleep log?

  12. Nay says:

    Don’t worry too much about Trixie not talking yet – she is still very young. A few months from now, you’ll wonder why you ever worried! It will be endless streams of: “daddy daddy daddy daddy!” and she will have an obsessive need to label EVERYTHING.

  13. hannah says:

    Whew – I’m so relieved you’ve revealed your dirty little secret to god and the internet public! I was feeling like I might have to “out” you if you didn’t come clean about dropping Trixie off at the neglect-o-mat. Yes, now you have officially joined the ranks of the detached parenting (DP) elite! And not a moment too soon, I suspect . . . Isn’t it grand?

  14. becky says:

    Yeah! I am sure Trixie will have a great time at daycare and will learn SO many new things (including things you’d rather she not learn…but we won’t talk about those). You have exposed Trixie to many great things, but I agree with mom2four that there are things that I did when I worked in daycare (18 month olds with glue, glitter, and sprinkles) that I am not sure I’ll do in my house when I have kids! Good luck!

  15. Maddie's Mom says:

    I hope it goes well for Trixie and for Ben. I stayed home for 14 months, then returned to work and Maddie went to day care. She got used to being dropped off (by Maddie’s Dad) after about 10 days. Occasionally, she doesn’t want to leave when I get there to pick her up, she’s having so much fun. Nonetheless, I *still* feel conflicted about the whole thing. I suppose that’s part of the natural state of parenting, though.

  16. Jenny says:

    my son goes thru 20 diapers a day. its insane how much fluid that kid leaks. must be the water!

  17. FrumDad says:

    I can’t wait for next year, when the NYTimes puts out an article about the Neglectful-Mommy-Blogs.

    Dateline: New York. When the parents of three year old Joey McFakebaby want to know how he’s doing, they don’t have to stop their busy lives to find out. Joey McFakebaby has a blog of his own.

    Mr. John McFakebaby notes that leaving little Joey to fend for himself in daycare with just a package of diapers and a WiFi laptop was something he and his wife had planned from the start. “We started training him in utero to react a certain way to certain stressors, and now, whenever he’s, say, wet, he hits the F4 button and it pages a nanny to change him.”

    This give McFakebaby more time to work on his own blog, which he’s been keeping since before the baby was abandoned, johns-free-time.blogspot.com.

    “Really, if a parenting blog is an entirely narcissistic excercise,” noted noted psychologist Edward Ipus, “then the abandonment of the child in favor of the blog is the ultimate expression of that narcissism. Under that analysis, the ultimate expression of love for the baby is to abandon it and merely blog about your life without it.” Dr. Ipus is currently under investigation.

    Etc…

    –FD

  18. Brenniesmom says:

    I’ve been reading your blog, Ben, for a couple of months now and I thoroughly enjoy it, as I have a 4.5 month old. I’m glad that Trixie’s going to daycare! You get some much needed “alone time” and Trixie will get her “little people” time. I only work weekends (with an occasional Thursday) and Brenna goes to the babysitters twice a week. She absolutely loves it, she just loves the toddlers! In fact, my babysitter has said she has never heard Brenna cry! I’m like “come on over at 6pm, and you can hear her wail!” My husband thought it was nuts, but for $50 a week, me not complaining about all of his ironing to do and Brenna a happy and exhausted girl, it’s priceless…maybe there should be a commercial…..

  19. Leslie says:

    G does a part-time nannyshare with one other toddler which he loves. When I dropped him off a few weeks ago and asked for a kiss, he looked up from his toy, got up and went straight to the nanny planting a kiss on her lips. Guess he likes it / her! Incidentally, we chose nannyshare over daycare to avoid illness exposure and the plan blew up in our face. In the past 8 weeks he has had stomach flu, a cold and the full-blown flu. So I now think that BIDS or T(oddler)IDS is inevitable in mobile toddlers who explore everything in reach and then touch their faces.

  20. Jamie says:

    Congrats on the free time. Now you finally have time for that symphony you’ve been meaning to tackle. Or alternately, more graphs!

  21. Abbycat says:

    We had to add daycare to the mix when Sophie was 9 months. It’s part-time, but I still feel awful about it. And the germs–we’ve all been sniffling and coughing since that first week…

    Still, I think it’s great that you were able to keep her home this long. My husband was able to be at home most weekdays for that first 9 months, which was great–except that he then went to the office nights and weekends. It’s hard to get all the home-time you want/need–and also get some guilt-free at-work time!

    Maybe the proliferation of dad blogs–and the accompanying publicity–will seep into the consciousness of employers…

  22. twinsdad says:

    Good luck with the day care. Your M-F morning schedule may be the way to go as Trixie gets home for lunch and nap. Talking to other parents the day care setting may be a good thing to improve the baby’s language and social skills.

    We tried with one of our twins for a very short time and our baby got sick very soon and passed it onto her stay-at-home sister. We will have to think about getting some playmates or if the weather gets better take the babies out to the park.

    Good luck with the Trixie Tracker and looking forwrd to that beta version.

  23. Suzanne says:

    I have a 5 1/2 month old son & an almost 3-year-old son. The almost 3 son (3 in April) is in speech therapy now because he doesn’t talk. Now that he’s been going for about two months, he babbles a lot, but we have a long way to go. My husband is a stay-at-home dad, and he’s always wondered if that had something to do with it. Sagan doesn’t have a lot of friends in the neighborhood, but he loves to play with his little brother (ok, he plays and Bodhi watches & giggles.) How did you go about finding a daycare that would only take her for a couple days a week? My husband would love the break!
    Thanks! (and I love the site! I’ve told all my friends about it!)
    PS How could anyone think you don’t spend enough time with your daughter? How could you have this much detail about her if you were neglecting her?

  24. Rose says:

    Suzanne,

    Maybe you could check in at the local churches in your area, and see if they are offering Parents Morning Out during the week. Parents morning out(PMOs) are designed to give the parents a break so they have other adults to converse with and gives the kids the opportunity to socialize with their peers on a weekly basis. I think a story time or a craft time is oftem implemented during the PMO, so it benefits the kids.

  25. Eve says:

    There is nothing on earth better for one’s sense of humor than child care. My hearty congrats to you!

  26. michele says:

    Good decision. I believe no one was ever meant to do childcare singlehandedly, full-time. Without family nearby to help us out, we’ve hired a part-time sitter (M-F, 2-6pm) for our 16-month-old. I love my kid, but that was the best freakin’ decision I ever made!

  27. benmac says:

    Thanks for all the support and wishes, guys. We’re definitely in an adjustment phase because it turns out that Trixie is still a little sick. She didn’t go to daycare today, but I think she’ll be happy to go back when she’s better.

    hannah: “neglect-o-mat”. I love it.

    Suzanne: I think you would have to call around and find out which daycares offer part-time slots. And it takes a while. We had to wait about 4 months to get Trixie in after we started looking. Good luck :)

  28. Abbycat says:

    Finding a spot in a decent daycare was a LONG arduous process for us. In retrospect, I’m glad it took so long (and that our employers allowed us both some flexibility), because we were able to witness all of those milestones in the first 9 months. :)

    Daycares in our area expect you to get on infant room waiting lists basically before pregnancy. We foolishly waited until I was 6 months along–what did we know? Also, kids are moved from infant to 1-yr room (etc) at the same time that the school year begins (early August), so waiting lists are all tied to that.

    We thought Sophie would welcome the opportunity to play with others, but I think separation anxiety kicked in just at the point when she started daycare. In any case, we work hard to minimize her time there, and we look forward to the day when she likes going.

    Now, how to wean to sippy cup?

  29. cynfred says:

    I hope you have fun in daycare.
    Does Trixie have playdates yet?