There is a pretty classic brain teaser about a farmer, a fox, a chicken, a sack of corn, and a river. It goes kind of like…
- A man has to get a fox, a chicken, and a sack of corn across a river.
- He has a rowboat, and it can only carry him and one other thing.
- If the fox and the chicken are left together, the fox will eat the chicken.
- If the chicken and the corn are left together, the chicken will eat the corn.
- How does the man do it?
I’ll leave the answer to you to figure out if this is new to you. In short, there’s a bit of back and forth in what gets rowed where.
The point is… it’s a similar exercise when doing things with a baby.
I wish I could say that having Jack around has not affected my ability to do certain things. The reality is that he’s had a big impact. I’m not complaining, but I admit it’s a period of adjustment.
I have a certain way I like to do some things. They aren’t necessarily routine for the sake of routine. They’re routines that exist because they’re the most efficient in my experience. I usually have a pretty good reason for doing things the way I do them.
But the best laid plans and all that…
You can’t leave a baby alone in a car. Not never, not no how. Fair enough. So if I want to go to the convenience store to pick up some milk or a case of soda or somesuch, Jack has to come inside with me. This effectively renders me one-handed. Tricky. So instead of a convenience store, I may end up going someplace less convenient–but with shopping carriages I can strap Jack into.
So be it.
If I’m hitting the laundromat, I need to do something akin to the farmer’s quandary when bringing bags of laundry inside, and wrangling the boy so he is never out of my sight. Doable. Taking the boy with me on a laundry trip or a shopping trip or other errand can make a quick errand a long errand.
So be it.
Household chores get tricky. I used to do chores like dishes and picking up and so forth at certain times of day. Now I have to do them at different times of day depending on what the boy is up to. And there is no set routine. Things change almost weekly. With springtime here and a vague obligation to do yardwork… hello, new challenges!
Personal things get trickier. Margaret and I usually try to have a night of gaming every week or two. We can usually count on grandma to help watch Jack, but sometimes things come up and Jack has to come with us for a little while or we have to pick a different night. Flexibility.
We adapt. We don’t get too attached to our plans. We realize that with a baby on hand that additional measures must be taken, possibilities to be considered. And it’s nothing to get worked up over. You plan, baby laughs, but it’s still a joy to have him around.
If anything… this is probably making us sharper parents.
That’s my story–and I’m sticking to it.