In June of last year, Danna and I were blessed with our second beautiful daughter – Saryn. She was born only a few weeks after her sister Saida’s third birthday and entered this world in much the same way – via c-section at the hands of the amazing staff at Lois Hole Hospital for Women.
Thankfully it was a planned surgery this time, much different than our first one, which happened rather abruptly after complications with an induced labour. Without going into too much detail, what I can say for sure is, my wife is a champ – as are all mothers – and I have nothing to complain about again… ever.
The day we became a family of four is the day my life became a whole lot more interesting, and no day has looked the same since. It was right around that same time that I lost my job, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it allowed me the amazing experience of being a full time “stay-at-home” dad. Males are a slim minority in our household. In fact, I represent 100% of them. Despite being severely outnumbered, I could not imagine life any other way. I would be happy to further tip the scales in their favour, however my wife is in no such rush.
While every family is unique in their own way, we all experience the same highs and lows, ebbs and flows, and those days where God only knows. Whether you are a family of three or a family of five plus three, I am willing to bet your average day with kids looks very little like your average day before kids. For Danna and I, a standard day used to comprise of work, followed by a few hours of leisure activities and a full night's sleep. Now it typically resembles something much different. Here is a glimpse into a day in the life of us:
6:35 AM – I awaken to the sound of the front door shutting. Danna locks the dead bolt behind her as she heads off to work. I am soothed back to sleep by the light rumble of our 1993 Buick LeSabre out front, as my wife sails off into the sunrise, graciously leaving our much newer and socially acceptable SUV behind for me and the kids.
7:39 AM – There is a rustling beside me as the goo goo ga ga’ing begins. In a desperate attempt to gain a few more minutes of sleep I locate the nearest pacifier and place it in Saryn’s mouth. All hope is thwarted when it is launched back in my direction. Clearly, it is time to wake up.
8:00 AM – My alarm goes off as if to remind me of the sleep that could have been.
(I realize for most families this would constitute a late sleep in, but for a family of night owls such as ours, this is an early rising.)
8:01 AM – I offer Saida her first wake up call. It is Tuesday, which is a school day for her, and class starts in 59 minutes.
8:02 AM – The sweet aroma of Arabica beans fills the air as I spoon a random amount of grinds into the coffee filter. I have no idea what the proper ratio is, nor do I care. My only goal at this point is to keep the child in my other hand from yanking the open can of coffee grinds off the counter as I pour my water into the machine. Somehow I manage not to spill. This makes me happy.
8:05 AM – Before I can finish celebrating my first win for the day, I am rudely interrupted by a rumble in my right arm. As the pressure from the weight of my daughter leaves absolutely no room between her and her diaper, we have a full on poo-nami up her stomach and back. My first thought, “Where did I leave those wipes?”
8:10 AM – Bath time. Eleven wipes later it is safe to transport Saryn from the temporary change pad I have assembled on the kitchen floor to the plastic tub we keep nearby at all times. With a flailing naked baby in one hand and sink faucet in the other, the morning car wash begins.
8:17 AM – With our toddler still in bed, I decide I will capitalize and make a quick pit stop to the washroom. After apologizing to my 7 month old for having to sit on a towel in the hallway and play with a shampoo bottle while daddy takes care of business, I settle in. Any hopes of privacy are quickly dashed as I hear what sounds like a triceratops barreling towards the bathroom. It is my 3 ½ year old and, as is tradition, she busts through the door like the Kool-Aid man. “I HAVE TO GO PEE-PEE DADDY!”
8:25 AM – The race is on to get the girls dressed and the diaper bag packed. Of course not a single pair of matching socks is to be found and Saida insists on wearing her princess costume. She has it out of the bin and halfway on before I stop her. “Sweetheart, it is minus twenty out, you have to wear pants”. This means nothing to her and she proceeds. Short on time, I reach into my bag of tricks and promise to let her face-time Nana after school if she lets me pick her entire outfit. After a long blank stare, she smiles and agrees. It is a win-win.
8:32 AM – With Saida at the kitchen table coloring, Saryn in her exersaucer, and hopes that my command start actually worked this morning, I slip downstairs to get myself ready. I take a quick sniff of my armpits and give myself the green light to wait until the gym to shower.
8:39 AM – It is time to pack Saida’s lunch. Grapes – check. Water bottle – check. Animal crackers – check. Quick review to make sure this brand is peanut free – check!
8:45 AM – Girls are securely buckled in and we are off to school, which thankfully is only a few blocks from our neighborhood.
8:46 AM – I slam the breaks half way out of the garage. I have forgotten to slice Saida’s grapes in half! This will be our second infraction. The guilt of receiving another note from her teacher sets in. I throw the shifter into park and head towards the house for a knife. The door is locked, obviously. I run back to vehicle, grab the keys, “What are you doing DADDY?” I hear from the back as I bolt back to the house and grab what I need. While inside I see the wipes I had taken out of the diaper bag earlier, I grab them and a knife and back out I go.
8:52 AM – After a quick display of ninja skills, the grapes are cut and we are off.
8:59 AM – Saida is welcomed to class by her teacher with one minute to spare.
9:08 AM – Saryn and I are off to the gym.
… Fast forward 12 hours. It is time to launch the nightly bedtime routine.
9:30 PM – Bedtime snack is complete. The girls are bathed, Saida’s teeth are brushed, and bedtime stories can commence.
9:42 PM – Both girls are tucked cozily into bed. Before we can finish congratulating ourselves on a job well done, we hear from our toddler’s room, “DADDY can you sleep with ME?”
10:00 PM – I find myself crammed into a double bed. With a toddler on my left and a soft singing sea horse driving a big pink Barbie convertible on my right, I stare into the dark, visualizing the delicious bedtime snack of my own that awaits me in the kitchen.
10:17 PM – The snoring finally begins and I make my tip-toed escape.
10:48 PM – Regret sets in as my insulin levels spike from the unnecessary amount of peanut butter and jam I have just consumed.
10:50 PM – I decide to put that energy to use and clean the house.
11:26 PM – Bedtime. My wife and I go best two out of three in a series of rock-paper-scissors to determine who will take baby’s first feed. I divert from my usual strategy and choose scissors both times. It is a horrible decision and I am defeated in straight matches. Not even the promise of a foot rub will get me out of this one.
12:09 AM – Saryn is awake and (judging by the blood curdling screams) hungry. I know I have less than three minutes to warm up a bottle before the rest of the house joins her.
12:27 AM – Too tired to make the long trek back from our living room to the bedrooms down the hall, I create a cocoon of blankets and pillows in my arms and collapse on the couch with baby.
3:09 AM – Saida is now awake and asking for water. I see right through her diversion tactic and instruct her to go back to sleep. She persists. Not wanting to wake up her sister, I place Saryn in the swing next to the couch (her favorite place to sleep) and proceed to grab a glass of water from the kitchen. Upon my arrival, Saida asks for the pink cup instead of the blue cup in my hand and I have to convince her once again that it will taste just the same regardless of cup choice. Too tired to argue, she takes a fifth of a sip and notifies me to leave the cup on her bedside table. I return to the couch, thankfully baby is still asleep in the swing. Just as I slip back under the blanket that barely reaches my knees, “DADDY, can you sleep with ME?”
3:48 AM – I awaken to someone crying in the living room. “Where am I?” I think to myself. The head of dark brown hair within millimeters of my face is my first clue. I am back in that little double bed, I must have dozed off while waiting for Saida to fall back asleep.
3:50 AM – I deliver Saryn to Danna in hopes that a quick breastfeed will solve the matter. It does and we are all back sound asleep.
7:39 AM – Repeat ☺
Josh Puchailo is a local Edmonton dad, a talented writer and busy dad of two. As originally featured in YEG Inspired, Issue Six ©2018