Entering Daddy Mode

Entering Daddy Mode (Jerz’s Literacy Weblog)

Each day this week, my nocturnal wife (a full-time home-schooling mother who never schedules anything before 11am) will get up early in the morning and head off to work.

The director of the local Suzuki music school asked her to direct a play as part of a week-long, 9-5 music camp for about 25 kids. We’re counting the music camp as a full week of schooling, something Leigh would have had to put the time in to do anyway. They’re paying us by letting our son attend the camp for free, and also giving him free tuition for his next set of lessons. Since the music lessons aren’t cheap, we’re pretty pleased with the deal.

So I’ll be home with our three-year-old daughter for the whole week. One of the reasons I wanted to be a professor was because I wanted to be able to spend time with my family, and I’ve already been home for a couple weeks now that classes are over. It’s not going to feel unusual for me to be the primary care-giver. What will be unusual is that I’ll get so much time with Carolyn, without her brother and mother around.

While I’m not expecting next week to be like the Brady Bunch episode where Mike and Carol switch roles, it’s been somewhat reassuring hearing my wife putting off decisions and telling people over the phone that she’s stressed and can’t think straight since she’s been spending so much time preparing for the music camp. I always feel that way right before classes start. But here’s my chance to be a supportive spouse. I’ll get up in the morning to see her off, and I won’t hand her a poopy baby the moment she comes in the door.

She’ll have plenty of “down time” during the day, since she actually only gets a few hours of rehearsal time, and someone else will teach the kids the songs, so she’s already talking about letting me take Peter there in the morning, and showing up herself around noon. And my wife says I can work in the evenings on an article that has a June 15 deadline, but I’m sure I’ll still be drafted for bathtime and bedtime. But for the time being, it’s pleasant to think about role-reversal.

I blogged about my son’s first exposure to Suzuki music last year. Since then, I’ve been incredibly impressed with his progress. Last week, his teacher played a new tune for him twice on the piano, and wrote down a simplified notation that tells what finger should hit which note (A, B, C, etc.) and for how long. The next day, I asked him to play the new song for his mother, and he played it almost perfectly. (He uses a toy piano at home, so the key widths are not what he’s used to in his lessons.) With practice, he can play two-handed pieces with three-finger chords.

For the show, I had suggested a kids version of 101 Dalmatians, but she opted instead for a musical on the life of George M. Cohan.