7am: Congratulations, you jerk. You’ve already slept in by a half hour and your significant other is taking care of your kid on Dadurday. What is wrong with you? This is your day of the week where you get the kid totally to yourself, to go on whatever adventures you please. So get out of bed, sling that kid over your shoulder, and get moving!
8am: Huh, where did the last hour go? You definitely slung him over your shoulder, but then what? Well, no matter. Every parent you’ve ever met was quick to tell you about their rapidly declining cognitive abilities. So wear your amnesia like a badge of pride!
9am: Breakfast at Kelly’s Diner, a fine Boston (well, Somerville) institution. Incredibly, it’s not the only 1950’s dining car in the city, but it’s the only one that isn’t a fancy-pants restaurant in disguise. With your kid in the holster (alright, alright, Ergobaby, but really it’s a child holster), the nice ladies at the diner keep the coffee and compliments coming. “You must be such a good dad,” they tell you. Why, because you strap your kid to your chest and eat four blueberry pancakes? (They’re great pancakes.)
10am: While walking home from the diner, you read two versions of Raymond Carver’s short stories, one from the Gordon Lish-edited What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, and one from the untouched manuscript edition called Beginners. Lish gets a lot right by stripping out the overly sentimental bits, but often kills the meaning of the story by screwing around the with last page. You ask your kid his opinion on Carver, but the little beast has been asleep and drooling on your T-shirt since you finished your pancakes. What a philistine!
11am: Those pancakes aren’t going to work off themselves. Once, you were the guy laughing at the dad jogging with a stroller; now you are that dad. So put on your compression fabric running tights and throw your kid in his Phil & Ted’s stroller for an excellent adventure. He’ll sleep through the whole thing, you’ll be a little less fat, and everyone will feel better for it.
12pm: Remember when lunch meant your lunch? If you were a better planner, maybe you would have made yourself a bottle, too.
1pm: You’re still cool, right? You’re still a guy with interests, a guy who doesn’t bore everyone to tears with stories about how his kid is getting really good at looking at things or a really awesome sleeper. How better to prove that to yourself than by strapping the little beast into his car seat and heading to the guitar/music store? Nobody has to know that you’re buying a USB keyboard because the kid has usurped your music room, and you just want to tinker away quietly after he goes to bed. Let’s go!
2pm: Boston traffic is the worst. But at least the burger-joint lady feels it’s her duty to tell you that you’re a good dad, even though you have literally done nothing to deserve it. Your kid is just dangling off your chest like Kuato in Total Recall.
(Perhaps unsurprisingly, the deadbeats at the guitar store don’t even acknowledge that you’re carrying a kid. Maybe they don’t recognize what they’re looking at?)
3pm: Onto the main event! This week it’s the deCordova Sculpture Garden. Nature, art, a good walk: all the things your kid likes to sleep through.
4pm: This is going better than planned. The little beast is mesmerized by the sculptures and in general is spending a lot of time awake, looking at art. Will he in fact come to appreciate the depth and meaningfulness of the creative process? Will he be a musician, or a painter, or maybe even a sculptor?
Well, maybe not a sculptor. Some of this stuff is too scary.
5pm: An elderly couple stops you in the parking lot to give you encouragement. “You’re doing a great job,” they tell you, and all you can think is, If I were this kid’s mother, I’d be pissed. Everybody, please either a) stop giving dads a free pass, or b) go way, way easier on moms.
6pm: How better to wind down the day than with a bottle and a documentary? The little beast gets zero screen time all throughout the week, so thirty minutes of watching bears eat salmon and play with their cubs is an exciting treat. It’s also a treat for you, watching the kid get all wide-eyed with wonder.
7pm: Another successful Dadurday! A full belly, a few bounces, and he’s out like a light. A strange sadness creeps over you. How can you miss him when he’s occupied your every waking thought for eleven hours? Well, you do. Too bad. But there’s always tomorrow, not to mention the next Dadurday.
I suppose you can try to fill that empty hole in your psyche with beer, video games, and music. And your failing memory.