DFWChild / Articles / Family Life / A Day in the Life of Paul Waak

A Day in the Life of Paul Waak

Paul Waak is a public librarian who has become a stay-at-home dad for the early years of his daughter's life. He stays current in his profession by volunteering with the Texas Library Association. He and his wife Paula live in Azle with their 6-month-old daughter Paulina, their dog Foxy and their four chickens: Omelet, Scramble, Sunny and Soufflé.

12AM It takes about 30 minutes to feed Paulina her bottle and then an extra 30 minutes to hold her upright until her food settles in her tummy. Holding her in an upright position vs. laying her down immediately seems to keep her from getting an upset stomach. After a while she gets sleepy again.

1AM Once she is asleep, I quietly go back to bed with my wife and shut my eyes, hoping to fall asleep.

3AM I wake up to Paulina’s light cough/cry sound, which usually means she has a wet diaper. I am correct, and I change Paulina’s diaper in low lighting, trying to be as quiet as possible since she is still in the slightly asleep stage. She immediately falls back to sleep once she has her fresh new diaper on. I go back to bed myself.

4:15AM I wake up this time to her hungry cry. I go to the kitchen where I already have her bottles arranged in an orderly fashion. By the time I reach Paulina with her bottle, she’s fully awake. She grabs the bottle. As she nears the end of her bottle, she begins to fall back asleep. I walk around the house with her over my shoulder and wait for her stomach to settle before laying her back in her crib.

5:15AM She’s asleep now, which means I might be able to get a little more sleep myself.

7AM I wake up on my own and take out the trash, feed Foxy, eat breakfast and get ready for the day while Paulina sleeps and my wife Paula leaves for work. I start preparing for the next bottle-feeding time.

8:30AM Paulina begins to stir. I change Paulina into her day clothes while singing about how to put clothes on. The song is improvised, but usually it’s about “Under and over, right and left, arms and sleeves.” Once she is dressed, she is fully wired and awake. I give her guided playtime to help her develop whatever language and motor skills have her interest that day.

9AM After I play with her, I let her play on her own while I do housework (laundry, clean kitchen and/or home repairs). I watch Paulina play with her toys in a playpen while I walk back and forth through the house completing the chores. We listen to soothing music; she likes string instrumentals, easy jazz and elevator music. Alternatively, this is a good time to take Paulina to the store when we need to get something.

11AM Paulina lets me know loud and clear that it’s feeding time again. I immediately prepare her food and repeat the feeding routine as before.

11:45AM Now it’s supervised playtime for Paulina so she can practice rolling and crawling in an open space. I watch her carefully and only intervene when she starts to get too frustrated to continue trying.

12:30PM As she wears herself out and begins to slow down to rest, I check Paulina’s finger and toe nails. While she naps, I clip any long nails on her. Once finished I get some lunch to eat and let Foxy out. I then tend to the four chickens we have in the backyard.

1:15PM Paulina is awake again, and I have more housework to do while she plays with her toys in a playpen and we listen to music.

1:45PM She begins to get fussy, and I carry Paulina around while singing about her and things in the house.

2:15PM We are both sleepy now. She is asleep in her crib, and I am asleep in bed.

2:45PM Again, she wakes up hungry and hyper. I go through the feeding routine until she settles down.

3:45PM Now it’s time for more guided play for Paulina to help her develop language and motor skills. Her afternoon interests are usually different from her morning interests.

4:15PM I let her play on her own and do more housework. I watch Paulina play with her toys in a playpen, and we listen to music.

6PM Before my wife comes home, I feed and settle Paulina. When Paula arrives, I am in Paulina’s bedroom finishing up her feeding time. Paula says her “hellos” and gives her kisses. Paulina gets all excited again. We go outside to watch Paula tend to the chickens and her vegetable garden. Paula comes back inside and cooks dinner.

7PM I eat dinner with Paula while Paulina plays with her toys in a playpen next to us. We use this time to watch an anime movie, something on TV, or just talk.

8PM I clean the kitchen and catch up on personal projects while Paula spends time with Paulina. I listen to Paula read her books. Paula then goes and gives her a bath and puts her to bed. During this time, I make things to use around the house with our 3D printer.

10PM Paulina is worn out and fast asleep after spending time with Mommy. Now is more husband and wife time and then time to turn in for the night.