I’m sure this is true, and Jenny and I probably will believe it, but not for about five years. We work from home and have been with Milo every day for his whole life. It’s been great, but it doesn’t give us much in the way of perspective. Our mind-set has basically been twofold: Try to keep up. Survive the day. I’d love to get sentimental, but I’m still adjusting to the fact that Milo is actually mine and that he can crawl up stairs even though no one taught him how to do it.
We do our best to enjoy this time and there’s a lot to enjoy, but there’s also the whining and the not-sleeping stretches. For us, parenting has been all-consuming, so the dominant emotion for us is fatigue. It’s been less so in the last few weeks, as Milo seems to be in a pattern of sleeping for longer stretches.
Sorather than being completely exhausted, we’ve transitioned to being mostly exhausted. We’ve gotten used to the decreased resources – an accepted part of the job – but we don’t have much sense about how little we’ve been running on. I’ve had glimpses. And as I’ve mentioned before in this space, I’ve become a coffee drinker. I’ve learned that if I skip a second cup, I’ll be misspelling five-letter words by 3 p.m. My best move so far was that I confused my older brothers’ birthdays. They’re one week apart, and while this challenged me until I was 6 years old, I was confident that I had pretty much gotten the order down. Apparently, I was being overconfident since I emailed wishes to one brother and was informed of my error.
Jenny, in her kind and supportive way, tried to make me feel better, saying that anyone could have made that mistake, even though no one ever does and she has never been close to doing it with any of her three siblings.
That might have been my low point. As I said, it’s getting better, but I’m nowhere near being nostalgic. If I’m wistful about anything, it’s over losing Milo’s limitations. Every milestone he masters feels like the biggest challenge ever: Milo can now roll over. Milo no longer will stay on the changing table. Milo knows how to unplug clocks …
These accomplishments seem to appear out of nowhere, and it’s only then that I realize how much easier the older phase was. So I’ll wonder where the time went one day. It will probably coincide with an eight-hour stretch of sleep. Until then, what would really help me appreciate the moment is a heads-up that today is going to be the last day that Milo won’t be able to silently climb onto and stomp around the coffee table while I’m in the kitchen believing that all is benign in the next room. But, as it stands, I know this just in hindsight.
Steve Calechman is a freelance writer, stand-up comedian and first-time dad in Salem.