Before documenting what we did on his big day, there are a few things I need to get down on this blog about Jeff and all the fathering he’s done lately.
In all the rush of the baby and all the changes around here I haven’t had a chance to write about how amazing Jeff has been through it all. He took a full two weeks of paternity leave in between my mom and his mom being here and it was amazing. I spent the majority of my time in bed with Peter latched on while Jeff was running around picking up all my slack. He really got into being a stay at home dad. Two weeks is enough time to really get what goes on around here, enough time to have to do the laundry and the shopping, enough time for the novelty of staying at home to wear off and the real work to begin. It’s a hard job ( I otta know) and he made it look easy. In fact, I started to worry towards the end that he was going to quit his day job and make me go pursue Social Work again. I ‘m not sure if I should have worried about this more or less when I found out that he spent a big chunk of his last day of leave entering all kinds of sweepstakes. He entered us to win all kinds of motorcycles, boats and cars. Either he was utterly bored and trying to escape the reality of a stay at home parent, or he was frantically trying to hit it big so that he could spend the rest of his life home with his kiddos. He still maintains it was a very good use of his time (many of the winners have yet to be decided). I’ll be convinced when I see that new Ford Mustang GT from the NASCAR sweepstakes in our driveway.
He spent hours holding Peter, wrestling kids, fixing things around the house. A perfect house husband.
It was kind of humbling to see him do such a better job at so many things than I do. He breezed through some of my biggest challenges. For instance, practicing piano with Hazel. She and I are all jumbled up with each other and in a tizzy within 5 minutes of practicing together. She doesn’t want to be corrected, I feel it’s my job to correct and before you know it she’s in tears and I’ve marched into the other room declaring that I’m done. The dynamic was totally different with Jeff. He still corrected her, made her do things over, made her get it right, but something in his manner softened her, she could listen to him, she didn’t feel threatened by his corrections. Instead of seeing a therapist to find out how to fix this I’m just going to let Jeff practice with her as often as possible.
We were all super sad to see him go back to work. It was dreamy to have him around for so long.
Since going back to work Jeff has taken Charlie and Hazel on a special date to work and then to do some fun activity. Here’s Jeff and Charlie riding off to work on their bikes.
Look at that proud smile!
Charlie sat quietly in his office “reading” or drawing or charming the socks off Jeff’s co-workers while Jeff did his best to actually work and then they headed out to the Red Sox game. This adventure was all Charlie talked about for days and days. I think he loved getting a glimpse into his Dad’s world.Here’s the picture that he drew of himself and Dad going to work. See the big building? The airplane over head? He and his dad standing there? His signature down in the bottom?
Hazel went just last week. She was equally thrilled, anticipated it for days. She was beaming when she got home. Jeff said she was quietly taking it all in, being so careful not to make a single mistake. She read Charlotte's Web and wrote in her journal. They were supposed to go on a whale watch, but it got rained out, so they went and saw Mr. Popper’s Penguins (her choice, apparently it was quite a sacrifice for Jeff but Hazel laughed out loud through the whole thing).
I didn’t get a single picture, but I think her journal entry says it all:
And here (above) is a drawing that Charlie drew for Jeff with sidewalk chalk the other day. I had to go up to the second floor to capture it all with my camera. I just love it. It’s Jeff and Charlie and some birds, clouds and an airplane. Charlie loves Jeff and Jeff loves Charlie. I couldn’t imagine a better pair. They love all the same things, are curious in all the same ways. They are basically twins, Charlie just has more hair.
And that brings us to Father’s Day. We celebrated with a big breakfast (Jeff’s favorite meal of the day). He ordered “Toad in a Hole” and almost squealed with delight upon seeing those little sausages swimming in those pools of butter. Uncle John was in town for a performance and they made a special trip to Karl's Sausage Kitchen for special sausage to celebrate Jeff’s fatherhood. I have to say, it was pretty tasty. The kids all showered him with presents made at school and at home. After church the kids sat and read and wrestled and talked with Jeff. Then he took them out for motorcycle rides in the cemetery.Can you see all that love? I think he’s most definitely the preferred parent, I can’t even feel jealous or blame them…..he pretty much rocks as a dad.