It’s all over. #Lukecation, that is. My three week “vacation” with Lucas is now over, and what a break it was. In all honesty, there weren’t a lot of real downtime moments as it turns out, caring for an infant is a lot of work. (I’m kidding, as I of course was well aware of it.) However, I did learn a lot about parenting, Lucas and myself during this time.
I learned how to be patient, calmer and even relax more when I get tense – like hearing my son cry. Figuring out how to calm him was a challenge, but after three weeks, I know I have a good grasp on it. His cries are pretty distinct and distinguishable (hunger, diaper and sleepy). He also began to self-establish a routine with me.
Wake up, nurse, bottle, play, nap, so on and so forth. By the time my break ended, he was taking two solid naps a day, around the same time every day and for an hour long each. The consistency allowed us to begin playing catch-up on chores we’d put off as Lucas required attention.
Ultimately though, the entire experience of Lukecation really comes down to this, a memory for me that I’ll never forget, and a photographic and social media experience that is now documented for Elizabeth and I to cherish and one day share with him. I know I won’t remember all the details of our three weeks together in 30 years, but now that I took at least one photo every day, it’ll be a lot more clear.
Last weekend, I took the time and downloaded an app called Artifact Uprising on my phone (this link will take you to the App Store). It’s a very cool company based out of Denver that has beautiful and unique printing options for your photos; and has a particular interest in allowing users to print their Instagram photos. The app itself is very intuitive and I used it to make a 25 page softcover photobook. It includes every photo I posted to Instagram during Lukecation and the captions. I can’t wait for it to arrive. It will be the perfect memento to recap our three week experience!
Looking back through the break, we went to the park, coffee shops, the zoo, the botanical gardens, rode a train in the mountains, and ran errands together. We traveled to Boulder, Morrison, explored downtown Denver, Golden, Chatfield State Park, Silver Plume, Georgetown, and Oktoberfest in Denver. We met friends out some evenings and he and Elizabeth watched three friends and I run a 10k.
Lucas learned to take a bottle with ease from me, a bonding experience that I most certainly will remember the rest of my life. He held a bottle on his own for the first time and other times he would be drinking from the bottle and just stare into my eyes. It’s an experience that dad’s don’t often get. Yes, we’re able to bond by caring for him in other ways, but I was able to also provide him with the life-sustaining nutrients as an infant, and that completed something for me.
Initially the idea for this break goes back to our desire to delay having to take Lucas to daycare. Elizabeth had 12 full weeks off (not all paid for, thanks America) and we wanted to get time for me to spend with him as well before he’d go to daycare. He was originally scheduled to start daycare on Oct. 20th, the Monday after my break. However, during the first week of the break, Elizabeth got a call that the daycare center we had really wanted to bring Lucas to, had an opening starting in November. Thankfully, Elizabeth’s parent we able to then plan to come out and bridge the gap the last two weeks of this month.
It’s just another wonderful perk that Lucas can bond with his grandparents over the course of two weeks before he’ll start daycare at 4-months-old. The value of this break cannot be measured in anything I attempt to write or photograph. It’s an immeasurable experience that is a part of me, changed me considerably and made me feel more like a father than I had felt before. It also gave me valuable insight (single and stay-at-home parents- you deserve an incredible amount of praise – it’s a lot of work), and taught me a lot about myself and what it means to be a parent. It’s now my wish that every new father gets this same time of opportunity to share with their newborn. It’s a blessing.