Given my part time work schedule, we have several people as primary care givers depending on the given day’s schedule. In theory, my husband has her 2 days while I’m at work. I have her 2 days while he’s at work. We’re both home 2 days and his Mom takes the other “rotating” day that we both work. In reality, his Mom often gets her 3 days, I get 2 and we’re both home for 2 – but that’s because of overtime and work commitments (or mowing his parents’ lawn and family stuff), so it all works out overall. What’s funny about that though is even a few months into this schedule I’ll still get phone calls from my husband (who is, in theory her primary caregiver as often as I am) asking odd questions. Odd in that I can’t figure out how he’s made it this far without figuring it out. My personal favorite as of late has been how to do the baby’s laundry – this was about 2 weeks ago. So she was 5 ½ months old, but he hadn’t figured out laundry yet… To be fair, I know he’d done laundry at least once before, but well … well, he did it wrong! (hence the phone call)
My husband and I have very different approaches to how we do our own laundry. His view is throw everything in on cold, pour some detergent in – whatever looks right and go. Now I’m not the best laundry sorter – I do tend to wash more stuff on cold to avoid ruining it – but I do separate at least darks from lights and towels and I measure soap. In the case of the baby laundry, most stuff isn’t too delicate and can go into a single load, but I am pretty strict about measuring soap. I mean we bought the free and clear soap because anything more can irritate the baby’s skin, but I still think you have to follow the instructions well enough to not over soap and potentially leave irritants. (Maybe you don’t REALLY have to measure. I’m sure he doesn’t throw in THAT much. But still!) So the phone call on laundry was literally –
Him - can I throw on all the stuff in this basket?
Me – Yes.
Him – and I have to measure the soap, right?
Me – Yes.
Him – and I can’t use a dryer sheet, but it can all go in the dryer?
Me – yes.
But overall, I can’t complain. He does very well. And he often does it on little or no sleep. The problem with our planned split of duties is – it totally works that we can both work, have time with the baby, have ‘me’ time and relax as long as we NEVER need to sleep and she sleeps very regularly. My husband came home yesterday morning after a 24 hour shift in which there was NO time to sleep (normally you are allowed to sleep on shift after 9 if there are no calls). I was about 20 minutes from walking out the door to go to work when he got home. And the baby had decided she was AWAKE. She did go back down for 30 minutes – but that was it. Long day.
On days like these he’s told me that sometimes he’s just decided to lie down next to her on the floor for extended tummy time. He lies half asleep while she squirms – stopping to hit him (usually in the face) at regular intervals. He decided that she’d learned that when she hit him, he made a noise, and that was providing entertainment. I worry that maybe we’re teaching her the wrong lesson there…