Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Baby, it's cold outside

When I became a stay-at-home dad, I don't think I realized just how much staying at home I'd be doing. During our first few months with Kyle, we almost always found ways to get out of the apartment. We'd walk around the neighborhood or spend long days at the city parks, watching the rats chase the squirrels. But that was July, August and September. There's a reason why there are not many songs written about New York in January. With the temperatures dropping faster than our stocks, even the squirrels are fleeing the city for vacations in the Bahamas.

This week, temperatures have been in the low 30's and mid-20's, and they're supposed to fall into the single digits by Friday, with a windchill that can't be measured because the wind itself is frozen. It's not exactly safe weather for a baby, unless your kid's an Eskimo; in that case, it's just mild chilly - not a beach day, unless the sun's out. Sure, I could bundle Kyle up with an inhuman amount of clothing, as I did last week when New York's alternate-side parking rules forced me to move the car...

... but he doesn't like that too much.

So, Kyle and I have been spending much of the winter staying indoors and getting to know each other. We play a lot of games, and sometimes I let him win one or two. The screaming and silly noise contests are his favorite. He's still working on his speech - he now makes "wah, wah" noises like he's the backup singer to a 1950's band - but words will come with time. So will his abilities to walk and shovel. I'm looking forward to the shoveling part. Just look what happened to our car several winters ago:

In just a few years, I'll be able to have Kyle dig that out for me. Isn't that what having a kid is all about? I suppose I could have him practice now. Maybe I should bury one of his toys in a couple of pounds of rice cereal, and then teach him how to dig it out without hurting his back. And then next year I could take him around the neighborhood and show him all the people shoveling the sidewalks and tell him how much fun they're having. Later he'll watch me shovel out the car, and I'll laugh the whole time because it's such a joy. If I plant that idea in his head early enough, he might want to shovel out our car by the time he's old enough (and the driveway, too, if we have one by then).

Yet the next time we get snow I'll have to shovel it alone. I'll have to wait 'til Jennifer gets home, too, so she can watch over the little guy. Until then, Kyle and I will be sitting inside, keeping warm and competing with each other to see who can make the worst smell. And, if he dares to sleep a little longer than a half hour, I might even get some writing done. Taking care of Kyle, especially in the winter, is a lot of work, and it's nice to get a break every now and then to enjoy my hobby/profession. As they say, all work and no play makes Dave a dull boy. All work and play makes Dave a dull boy. All work and no play makes Dave a dull boy....

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