Rolf Boone: He's 2, I'm exhausted, and time is running out

Busy Papa

rboone@theolympian.comDecember 22, 2013 

Rolf Boone


Time. Where has it gone? And how did the holidays get here again so soon?

My son recently turned 2.

I ask again: What happened to all that time?

I have no scientific proof, but I do have an unwavering belief that, for whatever reason, 2013 will go down as the fastest year in the history of recorded time.

We live near the retirement community Panorama, and when I take my son for a walk, we often encounter Panorama residents who stop to inquire or say hello to my son.

Some remember when he was just a baby and remark at how quickly the time has passed. They also let me know that as he gets older, time will seem to pass only faster.

Not only does time seem to go by quicker, but how you prioritize it during the day has become a huge consideration for two relatively new parents.

When my son was an infant, we were clearly on his schedule, waking at all hours to feed him, change his diaper or comfort him so that he would go back to sleep.

One lesson I failed to adhere to then is one I will now gladly impress on any new parent: Take a nap when your child does. You’ll feel better, believe me.

As much time as you’re going to spend devoted to your child, you’ll also want to figure out some kind of system that provides Mom and Dad with a little time as well.

We don’t have the convenience of living near our parents — mine are in Portland, hers are in Japan — so we transition from the work week to taking care of our son, or one of us takes over while the other heads off to work.

You’ll have to figure out a system that works best for you, but here’s what works for us: If one of us has spent all day with our son, that parent gets a break after the other one comes home from work. For me, that usually means I can get away for a couple of hours to work on my computer.

You can find me at Starbucks, bleary-eyed and yawning, trying to find a second wind by downing a late-afternoon coffee.

My wife likes to take her break at home, so I’ll take my son for a walk, or go to the store and let him peruse the toy section.

In addition to breaks, there are also a lot of trade-offs required.

After so many dirty diapers, it will become “your turn,” as my wife will say, or it’s “her turn” I will think to myself after I’ve done a few.

We also take turns with baths, changing his clothes, taking him to child care and picking him up. I have my days when I make him breakfast, lunch and dinner and she has hers. There is no map or chart that we’ve created, but somehow we’ve fallen into this routine. And when we trade off some duty, it buys each of us a little time.

I sometimes can’t believe how busy we can be with one child, and then I see people with two or more children and I wonder: how do they do it? Do they employ a team of people to help? Do they have family nearby? Or do the older children help out?

And for single parents, I hope you get all the support you need from family and friends, because after a long day with my son I am exhausted. And then I imagine doing that every day, seven days a week.

I’d never have any time.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403

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