Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Caution: Man with Baby

Yesterday the federal government was closed as part of the National Day of Mourning in honor of President Ford. This meant that I got one more day off before I had to go back to work. Strangely enough, however, because Kathy felt that she should attend a meeting at her office, I got my first experience of staying at home with Emelia by myself for anything more than an hour (Kathy has been away for longer, but I haven't been left alone with Emelia those times).

Kathy fed Emelia, then headed off to the meeting around 9:30. I finished my breakfast one-handed, then took Emelia upstairs and engaged her with "exercises," where I leaned her against a pillow while she tried to hold herself upright. She was smiling, giggling and babbling throughout. As soon as she started tiring of that (probably about five minutes), I walked her around for a couple of minutes before she dropped to sleep. I put her down, she awoke, I walked her some more, she fell asleep again, and this time when I put her down, she didn't wake up. I did some cleaning up while she was out, but she only stayed asleep for about 30 minutes. This time she was pretty fussy, so I tried feeding her -- she cried after a few seconds each time I tried. I wasn't sure what the problem was -- was the milk too cold, did she want the boob rather than the bottle (we haven't done very much bottle feeding), did she prefer to be held in the other arm or be supported by the Boppy? Maybe she wasn't hungry. No matter the cause, she wouldn't be appeased by feeding or any other activity. After about 40 minutes of trying whatever I could think of, I put her in her swing, and within three minutes she fell asleep. While she was out, I played on the computer for part of the time and got ready to go out the rest of the time. I found an old, small backpack of mine to serve as diaper bag -- the one Kathy had was too feminine for my tastes, and besides, it weighed a lot even when empty. Then I put some bunting into the stroller seeing as how it was a cool and windy day. Soon enough, around 12:20, it was time to go, so I got Emelia and took the 25-minute walk to Kathy's office. There, Emelia made a good impression with Kathy's boss, before Kathy, Emelia and I headed out to lunch.

Performancewise, I'd say that I did ok with my trial run -- I didn't need to call anyone for assistance, and was able to (eventually) figure things out. As for whether I enjoyed it, I really did -- I fully recognize I'm biased, but I already love this little girl a whole bunch. I at least thought about calling in sick today, just so I could spend more time with her. I expect that my performance and appreciation of being with her may change when I have her all day, every day, which I'll be doing starting in early February. I'm hopeful that between my growth in experience and Emelia's in communication, I'll be able to respond to her needs more readily then. I have no idea whether I'll love the time with her when it's just the two of us every day, but I've got a good feeling so far.