We’re not THAT important…

Over the past seven months Heike and I have had the challenge of taking care of our son Rafa at home full-time, while also taking care of both of our jobs (mostly) from home office, preserving our relationship, and keeping our sanity in order. Although by now it is hard to deny that there are a couple of things wrong with my sanity (who in their right mind rants to a screen every day to keep up a daily blog?), I think we were very successful in handling all other aspects. We both still have our jobs, and I still love her very much (and she says she still likes me too). Finally, Rafa seems to be very a happy almost two year-old, and he laughs a lot. I think that is a good thing, no? So even though it was tough at times, we survived unscathed.

In theory, we could have returned to our day care mother a couple of weeks (months?) ago, were it not that we had found an alternative day care group, one that is right next to my work (well, our storage, but that counts), and much closer to home, saving at least an hour of travel time every day. However, the child care spot would only be available from July 1st.. Our former day care mother had found another child rather soon, and we were – at the time of canceling the contract – five months into the juggling business. Five months. Seven months. We didn’t really care any more at that point. We actually also quite liked having Rafa at home all the time. I have seen so much of this kid growing up that I would have missed out on if it weren’t for this pandemic. There are positive sides to this otherwise rather dark period of time. So, with all these good aspects in mind, it was with some mixed feelings that we had to ‘hand him off’ to the new child care for the first time today.

As a parent you worry. Well, at least I do… “My child will feel terrible for having to spend his day without his parents. We are horrible beings and even worse parents,” is all that went through my head. It may even be worse for Heike? For a brief while, we thought we should have kept Rafa at home while Heike would be in maternity leave, because that would be much better for Rafa. I think we were wrong. In reality, Rafa really really liked it today at his ‘Krabbelstube’, or ‘Habbeldooobe’, as he calls it. I just put him to bed a couple of minutes ago, and he couldn’t stop rambling about ‘other kids’. I also often forget how exhausted kids get from playing a lot – and how easy that makes it to put them to sleep. Although Rafa has had kids around him regularly, he was never surrounded by a dozen. I can imagine that it must be very cool. And they have bobby cars. Bobby cars are a big plus! Put Rafa on a bobby car and you’ll have a couple of hours rest. He loves these stupid things. When I asked him if he wanted to go back to the day care tomorrow, the answer was a very clear yes. I wonder if he also ever thought “oh no, my parents will feel terrible if I let them leave. I am a terrible son and have to act like I want them to stay,” but I think that is wishful thinking. He he.

I hope he still wants to help dad find flowers and insects on weekends…

So now we have to make the most of the luxury of time that this has created, because the countdown starts soon. Tomorrow we will enter the final month of pregnancy, which means it could happen any time. (Take your time little one. I’d love to get to know you, but papa needs a couple of weeks to tie up some loose ends and finish some deadlines!)

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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