One Dad's Two-Month Paternity Leave

November 22: Day 20

It's Saturday, and Kirsten and I get ready to head out for the day with Audrey. I find myself doing things that a few weeks ago I would need prompting for, like packing up food and bibs. It's nice to have that kind of confidence.

Later, Kirsten asks me where we keep Audrey's towels. The tables have turned! I rearranged Audrey's drawers yesterday. Is the gander as good as the goose now?

Probably not: Kirsten has also noticed that I've basically given up on cleaning. Spending as much time as possible out of the house hasn't turned me into the world's best homemaker.

But I'm changing in other ways. I can relax more around Audrey now. A few days before, we were marooned in the house during a blizzard. I just took it easy, curling up around her on the floor as she played. I've learned how to be both active and passive at the same time, an interested participant in her play, not just an entertainer.

The real joy comes from watching her change. She really has a personality now; she can hold a ball, and she'll grab at my nose and laugh like it's a little joke. When I started my leave, Audrey was a completely different baby. And I was a completely different dad. Oh, and making the bottle one-handed? I can do that now.

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