"Temporality is part of the truth" -- Chuck Klosterman

Friday, March 4, 2011

Saving the World

As of today, I have one month left of my paternity leave. Just four weeks more to accomplish all the great things I had planned. You know, paint the house, fix the plumbing, publish a novel, raise a child, save the world. They're little things, really.

It seems like I've done hardly anything with my time. And it's not the kind of time-wasting that happens on a good mental health day away from work where you sleep in and wear pajamas all day and watch daytime TV and nap on the couch and order pizza at three in the afternoon. When I tried to watch a movie during the day, I had to watch it in increments. It took me three days to watch Where the Wild Things Are. And that's a problem for me because I'm a film snob. Even at home, I like the real movie experience with the loud surround sound on the giant screen TV. And no interruptions. If you can't watch a movie all the way through, you're not feeling it the way it should be felt.

This, of course, doesn't work when you have a baby in your arms. And I accept that. I can not watch the Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist DVD I got for Christmas. I can even put off watching episodes of The Office or 30 Rock because I know I'll just buy the DVDs later. And later Xander will sleep at night and I will not be so tired and I will find more time for the entertainment I got used to before the boy entered the picture. Maybe in a few years.

There are other things that shouldn't really be put on hold, though. For instance, I've hardly been outside these past few weeks. Literally, I will go days without exiting or even opening the doors to my house. And not only is that sad because Colorado seems to be having the most mild tail end of winter ever, but last autumn's leaves still cover my lawn. My wife went into the hospital in the middle of October last year, and even though Xander wasn't born until November, and even though he didn't come home until December, I haven't done anything with the yard since last summer.

It's not a huge deal, but I'm a yard snob. I'm a healthy, capable man, and my yard should reflect that. The lawn should be lush and the bushes should be sheared and that takes a little work. The roses should be trimmed and the lilacs cut back and the leaves should be raked up. Not this year. I was lucky to find the time to turn the sprinklers off and close up the swamp cooler. Otherwise we'd be in for a heap of trouble come springtime. At least the things that are not getting done outside are merely cosmetic.

So many other little things don't get done inside. Sweeping and vacuuming. Folding laundry. Sorting mail. In the middle of the TV room downstairs, where we haven't been for weeks, a stack of CDs and DVDs has toppled over and created an Olympus Mons of entertainment options. It's a good thing the baby doesn't sleep in his crib yet, because he'd be smothered by all the bedding and clothing that has just been tossed in there all higgledy-piggledy. And by higgledy-piggledy, I mean a big mess.

I suppose I could stop typing right now and get to work around the house. The only way I'm getting this writing done in the first place is because Xander is asleep in his swing. As I type, he stirs, and I need to get a bottle prepared for him.
Now that's what I'm talking 'bout.

I don't mean for this to become a rant against being a stay-at-home parent. Just the opposite, in fact. I don't want to change what I'm doing. I'm raising my son. He smiles when he sees me, laughs when I tickle him. I soothe him when he's frustrated, comfort him when he's sick. And on that sappy note, I'll restate:

As of today, I have one month left of my paternity leave. Just four weeks left to accomplish all the great things I had planned. You know, raise a child, save the world. They're little things, really.


  1. Seems to me you are procrastinating on your list. That's okay. Houses can paint themselves. Or they can in the future. (That's something for us to aspire to if they haven't been working on it already.)

    If the baby doesn't sleep in his crib...where does he sleep? When I was a baby I slept in between my parents on their bed. Is that what you do?

  2. I hear you on how the time fades away . . . and then you are back at the place that will not be named . . .

  3. Enjoy the last few weeks with your son, you'll never regret it. The house, the laundry, the yard and the piles will be there when you get to them. Xander will never be at this stage again. You have been given the chance to spend concentrated time bonding as father and son and that's a rare gift. Savor every last minute!

  4. So stinking cute! You'll get that novel done eventually and probably save the world in the process, but enjoy the time with your beautiful son until such time.

    I've enjoyed getting to know you a bit better via your blog. I hope you find time for it once you return to work.

    On a side note, to celebrate my joblessness we watched Exit Through the Gift Shop. Made me want to paint and write. Thank you for the suggestion.

  5. @ Chanel: That's not the half of the things I'm procrastinating on. But I figure the most important of them is getting done.
    The baby has a bassinet that's attached to the side of my bed, thus facilitating the access in the middle of the night. At some point in the future we have to move him. Two, three years...

    @ Melisa: Is that what they're calling it these days? "The place that will not be named"? Has Voldemort become a principal?

    @ LeAnne: Thanks for the support. It's cool to notice new things every day.

    @ Charlie: Thanks for your support, too. You've been an immense resource for me this last month or so. I hope YOU can find the time to keep blogging...oh, wait, you've got all the time in the world, don't you?
    And isn't Banksy's art wicked cool?

  6. Brent, I'm pretty sure the principal is more like Umbridge :-)
    My kids are 6 and 3 and a half and my house and yard are still neglected...I'm not sure when that let's up. I've just found more spots to hide the wreckage when people come over :-)
    My mom always says, "You're raising a child, not a house."