50 observations from a month of paternity leave

by ParentCo. March 27, 2015

Brennan Carney is a teacher and Head Varsity Football Coach at Burlington High School. He and his wife Keri (also a teacher and coach) had their first son, Cooper on 12/29/2012. During his paternity leave, Brennan recorded his thoughts and observations for 27 days. Keri and Brennan are expecting their second child any day now...
50 observations from a month of paternity leave

1. Baby Wipes are the most important and irreplaceable addition to our house, other than our son Cooper. Let me list the ways:

  • Wipe asses ( baby, adult, & dog)
  • Cleaning spills on carpet
  • Wet hand naps
  • Cleaning up table after eating
  • Wash face
  • Clean eye glasses
  • And my personal favorite... Tissues

2. Paternity Leave is not a vacation.

3. Day time TV blows.

4. The second we brought our son home our dog was immediately NEGLECTED.

5. Kari dislikes my idea that pajamas are ok to be worn by Coop all the time. (NOTE: I feel it is my right to challenge her on this issue.)

6. I lost that argument and he is now wearing an "outfit."

7. Cooper feels it is necessary to scream every time he has a poop in his diaper. This is a good thing. Since I don't have to unzip or unbutton him every time to check.

8. Recap: If he were always in pajamas then I would always be unzipping because I'm smart enough only put him in the zipper pajamas. My plan is so much better than Kari's. (Note: The pajamas only rule is being reinstated tomorrow.)

9. 3 am is wake up is early, I don't care what you are doing.

10. Leaving the house to run a quick errand will never be the same.

11. I still think the outfit concept is ridiculous.

12. Day time TV still sucks.

13. Coop slept for 8 hours. Need I say more.

14. I finally have some solid DVR options to combat day time TV.

15. Did I mention I got to sleep for 8 hours.

16. ESPN is repetitive, being a man I don't know if I am allowed to voice negative comments about their programming but damn it gets boring.

17. I now speak another language. It's called Baby and it comes in the form of yells, screeches, and tongue clicks. It fascinating because it makes no sense to me but Coop responds quickly and accurately to every "word" I speak. Weird.

18. I time myself every time I change a diaper. MY PR is 24 seconds (poop free- this adds difficulty and sensitivity) from unzip to re-zip. (Note: as I stated days ago I refuse to use button pajamas which means faster changes.)

19. Defined outfits based on location in his dresser drawers. Kari has a very intricate way of defining his outfits and the sizes that he currently he fits into by where she places them in his dresser. She actually attempted to teach this method to me the other night. I even listened…Today she had an outfit laid out for me.

20. I had a revelation this morning. All my male high school students should spend one week with me, Instant birth control.

21. I do so much laundry that I wear the same thing everyday

A. Because its comfortable

B. because it is also clean

22. This actually applies to Cooper as well. I have to stock his clothes drawers like a super market self. Unworn stuff to the front and wash stuff to the back or the old stuff never gets worn.

23. If you read through CNN.com on a daily basis it makes you feel like the world will end tomorrow via an asteroid, Paul Ryan might fight Obama in an epic MMA throw down, and sink holes are now as common as floods.

24. When taking Coop out of the house I can make 2 guarantees about his traveling bag.

A. Mom will have everything he needs plus extra.

B. I will forget something every time. For example I have forgotten his bottle, burp cloths, extra outfit, etc.

24. The great debate: Poopy diapers bath or no bath?

A. Kari and my sister believe all mothers would give a child bath upon discovering a poopy blowout diaper. And I believe this statement to be true for "moms."

B. I believe all men would use the baby wipes, change his outfit and diaper, and call it a day. Fact.

25. Still love pajamas. But when I pick outfits (that aren't laid out for me) I pick the one piece. No pants, equals easier change.

26. Going out with the Coop. It's not just an outing it's an Adventure. Let us breakdown our preparations.

A. Must coordinate feeding with departure.

B. Must make sure his traveling bag ( Kari calls this a diaper bag, definitely Not my style) is completely stocked. As I stated yesterday I tend to forget essential items. (Note: I have debated transferring his travel bag items, which is a satchel or man purse, into a backpack to make it look more manly)

C. Pick out an "outfit." At this point, many of you already know exactly what I will be choosing for our adventure out to the Great Grand parents house. ONE PIECE. Boom.

D. Feed the little man and then prepare him for the exit. Between burps, a clean outfit, and his bib this can get dicey.

G. Now back to Coop.

H. We are now ready but again I forgotten something...

I. The dog will be left behind. Neglect.

27. To be honest I remember thinking to myself just a couple of weeks ago, when is he going to nap. Now I wonder when will he wake up. Sappy but true, that was for the moms.

28. March madness is usually spent at school checking my computer every possible second to get the scoring update. This year I will be watching every single second of every single game on my massive TV. Boom.

29. Some guy made fun of my Man purse/travel bag/satchel yesterday. It was humiliating not just for being made fun of but I even defended its purpose. I'm ashamed.

30. I have been peed on twice today.

31. This next observation includes me. Whenever a person speaks of their newborn they consistently tell of how large, advanced and how they are in the highest percentiles. Reality check, my wife is short and Coop is in the 91 in percentile for height, I have a feeling in 10 years his peers will consider him short. Just sayin.

32. Went to see my dad today, his morning routine might be more complex than mine and Coops.

33. Our first trip to the doctors without mom. There were a few interesting exchanges.

A. The doctor asked where Kari was I replied at work. The doctor's face was priceless, like "here we go."

B. after giving detailed explanations for why were there, the doctor kept looking at me like, "how does he know and remember all of this." I think she even looked into my ear to see if Kari was communicating with me.

C. I finally explained to her I was on Paternity leave and her body language didn't suggest relief but more like, laughter.

D. Once we were all done she started talking to me about her (positive) prognosis and proceeded to hold him, like I wasn't capable.

E. The doctor did of this subconsciously but I made sure when I had to change his diaper and clothing before we left I did with the speed and efficiency the likes she had never seen before. Fact.

34. Your stroller will be Judged. Unavoidable.

35. Yes I will judge your stroller.


1. Paternity Leave is not a vacation. Fact.

2. Zippers are better than buttons. Fact.

3. Outfits are always better when they come in one piece.

4. Make sure you don't wear a satchel get yourself a backpack.

5. Real friends bring you coffee. Thanks Becky and Coach K. Campbell?

6. Baby wipes have an infinite number of uses. Fact.

7. 27 days of investigation has led me to believe my neighbor doesn't work.

8. I now know the ins and outs Cooper's dresser. This took almost 26 days to figure out.

9. I did not realize how easy it was to stop working. And be completely ok with it.

10. Thank you to Hutch for introducing me to my OWN online xfinity account to watch movies, this is what got me through daytime TV. Because, daytime tv sucks. Fact.

11. Coop's first March Madness bracket was a slight disappointment. He has time....to learn English, write, play basketball, and learn that the NCAA Tourney is amazing.

12. Your stroller will be Judged. Unavoidable.

13. The Yankees might not completely suck.

14. EVERY parent will provide you their child's growth percentiles. Who cares.

15. A baby swing is a need for all young parents.



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