5:55 AM – Sana hollers me awake. Today’s the day when Amynah goes back to work, albeit for only half the day. Amynah’s convinced Sana knows it, and thus has been particularly needy throughout the night: “She woke up at 2:30, and didn’t really go back to sleep,” said Amynah, wearily. I try to look sympathetic, while inwardly congratulating myself for my foresight in not developing breasts. Reading my mind, Amynah vindictively demands that I change Sana’s diaper.
7:00 After a quick nap, I wander downstairs to prepare breakfast, while Amynah puts Sana down to sleep again. Amynah comes down, thanks me profusely for my labours. The enthusiasm of her gratitude makes me think that her sleep deprivation has made the act of toasting a bagel seem to her a work of culinary genius.
7:45 I hop in the shower. After five minutes, Amynah pops her head in the door: “Bye!” I then here her run downstairs. The front door slams. I wait for it to open again and for her to yell “Just kidding!”
7:51: Still waiting.
7:52: It appears that she meant it when she said, almost every day since December 10, that she was going back to work. It’s just the baby and I, and I have no breasts with which to defend myself.
8:00: I peek my head into the room where the baby is sleeping, a transistor radio playing static to keep her calm. As I look at her face, her eyes open a crack. I yelp and run away.
8:30: Attempting to write. Have run upstairs to check on her three times so far. She’s fine, but I think I pulled a muscle in my leg.
9:09: Writing. Email arrives from Amynah “Hey sweetie, I miss you and Sana very much.” Me and who?
9:14: Baby crying! I plug her noise hole with a soother, and bring her downstairs. Now she’s sucking away, and looking at me like I’m an idiot. Clearly, something else needs to be done.
9:20: Baby crying, slowly, clearly and emphatically, so that Idiot Parent understands. I investigate the diaper, to find much treasure therein. By my calculation, she has gone through roughly 7,000 Pampers since making her appearance in this world. Really, it shouldn’t still be this upsetting for her.
9:35: Have spent ten minutes trying, and failing to capture her smiling as she lies in her favourite place in the world – the Poop Deck. I don’t want to upset her with the flash, and my stupid camera’s too slow with the flash off.
Actually, that came out ok
9:36: On to the play mat, where she stares at the various hanging rattles, mirrors and noisemakers without having the faintest clue what to do with them. I try to write with one hand while shaking a bead-filled plastic doughnut for her amusement.
9:38: She is not amused. The crying starts again. Time to feed.
9:40: I’m set up on the couch. Magazine – check. Cloth to wipe spilt milk – check. Agitated baby – check. Milk – Damnit! Out of reach in the kitchen.
9:41: Milk retrieved, she’s sucking on the bottle as if she hadn’t been fed in three days, instead of three hours. I realize that with one arm holding her, and one holding the bottle, I can basically only enjoy the magazine by pulling it close on the table with my feet and reading the page it happened to be open to over, and over, and over again. It’s an ad for a European investment bank.
10:25 – Bottle’s empty! Not sure if she’s done, but it should hold her until Amynah comes home at lunch. I put her in the swing, and immediately get on the phone to open an account with Banco Santander.
10:26 – It is deeply unnerving to have a baby stare at you when you’re trying to work.
10:27 – Still staring.
10:28 – I turn the swing around so she’s looking out the balcony window.
10:29 – She spots me reflected in the glass. She stares.
10:30 – I might be going slightly mad.
10:45 – I peek over the kitchen counter, behind which I am hiding with my laptop. Sana’s eyes are closed, so it’s safe to return to my desk.
11:30 - She’s starting to fuss again. It could be a rebellion against the MIDI versions of classical music beeping through her swing’s sound system or it could be a signal for a diaper change.
11:31 – Diaper change.
11:38 – she’s calm, if somewhat too active, while I struggle to introduce her to clean underpants, but as soon as I get her pajamas back on, she starts to fuss. Then cry. Then shriek like she’s being tortured. Of course, this is when the phone rings.
11:39 - It’s Amynah, on her way home. Just in time! I put Sana in her stroller and make a mad dash for the bus stop. As soon as we’re rolling, the crying stops – she’s awake, eyes wide open, with an expression on her face that says “I’m calm now, but you better know you’re on thin ice, buddy.” I pass three other Dads out pushing their kids around the neighbourhood. Doesn’t anyone in this city have a job?
11:50 – Amynah! Sana’s visibly relieved. Day one as a stay-at-home Dad, and we both survived. I’m feeling pretty proud of myself.
11:52 – Amynah informs me she’s working a full day tomorrow. Sana immediately starts to cry.