Thursday, January 27, 2011

The January Issue of Elle.

It's amazing how four years could fly by, yet it has and my daughter is four years old today. Maybe it's my memory or just something that happens as a parent, but I have a hard time remembering Elle as an infant sporting a Wonder Women onesie. The only thing I was certain of before Elle was born was that she was going to be a she. It was just one of those gut feelings I had. The confirmation came as a result of a blood test well before the sonogram. One of the characteristics my wife and Elle share is wanting to know what the surprise is before they get it.

Someone recently asked me what is Elle like? All I could say was "Elle is Elle, you would understand if you met her". She just has one of those magnetic personalities that bring you in and sticks in your brain. That's just not me blowing smoke. When I make stops around town she's remembered. As soon as I say hello I get asked "where's your daughter?” “How’s your daughter doing?” or “Bring your daughter next time." With that charisma comes a limitless curiosity, a mix of tomboy and yet an appreciation of all things that come with being a girl.

In a day she could go from sharing an "eyeball egg" with her grandfather to collecting feathers with her grandmother for a collection. She can also transition from asking me who's faster between Superman and The Flash or getting some cuddle time with her mother.

Whatever moments we may share with Elle the four of us can agree that she is truly loved. With that, whenever we speak of her a smile seems to immediately sweep across our faces.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Home alone tonight.

My wife was nice enough to put a post together for me. Which I truly appreciate. I thought I would take this little nugget of free time to hash out a post. As the title states I'm home alone tonight. My wife is out of town for work and my daughter is spending the night at her grandparents. You think I would be up to something cool. No, nothing cool or awesome at all. I'm sporting sweats and glasses. That means I not expecting to be out in public or having any visitors dropping by for a visit. Besides my uncool attire I'm trying to keep a "head cold" from ruining my second week at work. That's why Elle is at her grandparents. It's very nice of them to help out I would have little energy for all that is Elle. Going to the doctor's office this morning was no fun. The doctor didn't appreciate my self diagnosis of a sinus infection. I've had enough of them to be pretty skilled at diagnosing it. When I had my little back and forth at the doc's office I felt as is the theme music from "Curb Your Enthusiasm" would kick in. Damn they make you wait. But, that could easily go into a rant where I offend the elderly and it would get silly. After this post is finish I'll be putting out the trash, gluing a doll's foot and Superman's leg back to their respective bodies. Hopefully I'll have one of those shows my wife has no interest in stored on the TiVo queue that will easily put me to sleep(The Cape, V, among a few). I can't forget to say thank you for all your well wishes in the previous post. It means a lot.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What will life be like without a stay-at-home dad?

From my wife a guest post.

This week Edgar started a new job. Many of you know that he’s been home with our daughter for over two years and while he’s always wanted to go back to work, we’ve all really enjoyed the time he’s spent at home with Elle. The whirlwind that was this week totally changed our comfortable little routine in a really great way. But that doesn’t mean it’s not also a little sad.

Friday: Edgar gets the call. He is offered the position he interviewed for a week ago and starts Monday morning. Excitement and panic ensue. What do we need to do before he starts? How is Elle going to react?

The weekend: We have “the talk” with Elle. She seems a little apprehensive about not spending her days with him and having to have longer days at school but is generally on board. A saving grace: my mom will watch her when she’s not in school so that treat seems to be worth the sacrifice in Elle’s mind. Edgar sorts through his closet to find any work wear from his previous life that isn’t huge on him now. We start planning out our menu for the week and the list of chores that I’ll start picking up during lunch on my work-from-home days. Edgar packs his bag for his first day and sets everything out so it will be ready the next morning. He tries to figure out what time he’ll need to get up, when he needs to leave and which car he’ll take. I get teary-eyed randomly throughout the weekend.

Monday: Thankfully, I have the day off. Elle and I see Edgar off then spend the day together. A nice way to ease her into the idea of not spending all day with Daddy. Other than the fact that she seems to think I have no parenting skills (“Do you know how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Mama?”), it’s wonderful spending a day just the two of us. We don’t get to do that very often. Edgar comes home and tells us the day went even better than he had hoped. Elle presents him with a “Congratulations on your first day of work” painting and tells him she’s proud of him. Day 1, a success! Now to prep for Day 2, the first day we’ll both be in the office and Elle’s first long day at school. We psych her up for how cool it will be to get to have breakfast with her friends at school. She’s iffy, but willing to give it a shot.

Tuesday: I drive myself to the train station and send Edgar positive vibes that he can get himself and Elle out the door in time. She can drag out the mornings like no child I’ve ever seen. I get a text saying that she was safely deposited at school, though a little unhappy – nothing too traumatic for either of them, though. Edgar makes it safely to work with time to spare. Now I can relax. When I get home, both of my E’s are at home and we’re ready to sit down for dinner. Edgar had another good day at work and even though Elle isn’t loving going to school early, she’s on board to support her dad.

A week later: Edgar is loving his new job – both the work that he’s doing and the interaction with adults – which makes all of us just so happy. Even though I’ve been home sick since Wednesday, we’ve tried to keep Elle on her new schedule with school and my parents to get her into a routine and she seems to be doing ok. I’m getting ready to head out of town next week, which means the two Es will be on their own. But Elle is being incredibly considerate about the fact that this is an adjustment for all of us. Throughout the week she’s said that she wants to do what she can to make her dad feel comfortable because he’s probably a little nervous about his new work, just like she’s a little nervous about going to school early. Such a sweet, sweet girl.

I know how much Edgar has been looking forward to going back to work and I couldn’t be happier or more proud of him. At the same time, I can’t help but feel a little bit sad that his time at home with Elle is coming to an end. I know it might seem selfish, but I’ve really loved and appreciated that he’s been home with her for the past two years. What started out as a temporary solution to circumstances beyond our control turned into what I think is one of the best things that could have happened to our family and what will be one of the most important times in her life. It’s bittersweet in the moment but I know that just like with everything else we’ve encountered, we’ll work together and this will be a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What's in the box?

The title for this post works on a couple of levels for me. It's one of my favorite quotes from a movie (Seven) which was used very cleverly in the television series "Supernatural" when one of the main characters asks, "What's in the box?" My wife will get that reference, as will possibly anyone in the "CW's" 18-34 viewing demographic. So, on to what's in the box. I have that sheepish look because the box I have in my hands is an "Ex-Box". 

Last month when I was looking for bows for Christmas presents I discovered an unmarked brown moving box. We have been in our current home for almost six years. Before settling here in Lancaster, PA, from about 2000 to 2005, I have gone through ten moves. In those moves boxes have traveled with me and going into married life even more boxes have made the migration. I paused my search for bows to cure my curiosity and see what was in this unmarked box. Inside was a range of photos from childhood, high school, college and post-college. Sites and people I had long forgotten. Curiously enough a gray shoe box was under these photos. Once I cracked it opened I knew exactly what it was. This was the aforementioned "Ex-Box". A feeling of uneasiness came over me. This unassuming grey box had been dormant for almost ten years. Despite the feelings of awkwardness finding this box gave me I'm glad I was the one that found it. 

Being "glad" works on two levels. One being that my wife finding it would be a bit uncomfortable and the second is that I wouldn't want my daughter stumbling upon this. I have gone through the experience as a child and finding my father's hidden cache of girlfriends past while I was looking for toy trains. It led to much confusion and I made the mistake of mentioning it to one of my older sisters. She immediately told my mother and it opened up a jar of trouble. 

With no desire to keep this box of girlfriends-past, I mentioned the find to my wife. Her curiosity was peaked but, she was in agreement that its resting place would be among the trash. The past is the past with no need to look back on that category of my life. I will have some explaining to do when it comes to photos from high school to college but, those will remain in the unmarked brown box till another time. Maybe once my daughter is in her twenties.