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Stay-at-Home Dad Diaries: Two months was a never-ending game | Casey Olson
During the past two months, I got very used to getting puked on and peed on.
And no, I didn’t take a job as a bouncer at a local tavern.
For the past two months, I took a leave of absence from The Mirror to be a stay-at-home dad. My job for the past eight weeks was doing everything for my now 6-month-old daughter, Whitney.
It’s something that I wouldn’t trade for anything. But I’m not going to say that it was an easy couple of months. I guess my best comparison to taking care of an infant would be this: Playing a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week football game with a short halftime break at night and a few timeouts mixed in during the day.
I felt like I was smack dab in the middle of a game every day. But this football game didn’t have a clock telling you when the quarter ends. I was playing a rivalry game all day, every day.
I had to be on my game at all times. One slip up and the field position battle I worked so hard to gain during the day was out the window.
When I finally got Whitney down for a nap, I felt like I just scored the game-winning touchdown. I’m sure my neighbors are still wondering who that weirdo was doing a Chad Ochocinco touchdown celebration dance outside the front door at 10 a.m. every morning.
I had to take my jubilation outside because there was no way I was going to risk waking the baby with fist and chest bumps anywhere close to her crib.
Parents know what I’m talking about.
I still have no idea why I was sore all the time. It actually felt like I played a football game when I put my head down for my customary three hours of sleep at night. How can a 15-pound baby make my neck, back and right arm feel like I was sacked a dozen times by a 300-pound defensive tackle?
My day consisted of getting up at the break of dawn to shove my beautiful wife out the door before she woke Whitney up by kissing her goodbye about 25 times. Let’s just say she was a little bummed about going back to work after spending four months with her daughter.
I had always thought that during my two-month hiatus from writing about sports at The Mirror would essentially be a vacation.
How difficult could it be to watch a baby?
I could throw a bottle in her mouth, maybe put her in the automated swing for a while, or possibly just plunk in one of the greatest inventions in the history of the world — the pacifier. After that, I could do pretty much anything I wanted around the house.
I had dreams of writing a screenplay, watching every “Little House on the Prairie” episode ever produced, and doing an insane amount of research for my fantasy football draft.
But none of those things ever materialized.
My movie idea about an eccentric University of Washington anthropology professor (played by Richard Dreyfuss, of course) capturing Bigfoot in the woods of the Snoqualmie National Forest is still unwritten. I never got to choke up after Charles Ingles saved the day after Albert accidentally set fire to the blind school, and my fantasy football team is terrible (0-2 at press time).
But I wouldn’t change anything about my time at home with Whitney.
She is the light of my life and it’s going to be a blast watching her grow up. Those are two months that I will never forget, and two months I don’t regret for a second. I know I am a better person and better dad because of it.