Paternity Leave, Part II

I’m writing this on my last day of paternity leave. I’ve spent the last two months being with our sweet daughter, Maeve Susan White, helping her learn and grow. It has been incredible (and hard and fun and confusing and stressful and amazing and all the other feelings).

  Alex and Maeve at the beach house Sept 2018

Alex and Maeve at the beach house Sept 2018

Like I’d previously described, I spend about a third of my time trying to get a tiny, sleepy human to go to sleep. We are working on getting her to put herself to sleep now, hard at first but getting better each night.

I spend about a third of my time changing, feeding, bathing, and playing with her. And about a third of the day, mostly while she is asleep, I get to read, watch TV, and listen to music and podcasts.

For the first time since summer vacations in high school it was very cool to abandon any sense of schedule and move totally to her rhythms. If she was up at 5:30 or 6, I was up. If she slept until 7:30 or 8, we slept in! We went on two walks a day - I think I walked every single block of lower Manhattan at least once. We found so many cool public parks and spaces and must have visited every museum within 1 mile of our apartment.

  Alex and Maeve on a bench next to the Hudson River near the Statue of Liberty, August 2018

Alex and Maeve on a bench next to the Hudson River near the Statue of Liberty, August 2018

We spent a really fun week at the beach with Caroline’s family. Now Maeve has started daycare part-time to get acclimated.

  Story time at day care

Story time at day care

That has allowed me to go on longer runs, check things off my life backlog (hello new driver’s license, passport, library card, check-ups etc!), and do some things in the NYC area that I’ve always wanted to do these last two weeks. I watched cases argued before a three judge panel at the second circuit court of appeals, saw the spot in Weehawken where Hamilton was shot in his duel with Burr, visited the Cloisters, The Intrepid, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Adding to my list of podcasts from before, I’ve continued going wide and deep in the world of podcasts. Some of my favorites:

  • Anthropocene

  • The City

  • Slow Burn

  • Internet History Podcast

  • Intelligence Squared

  • Science Vs

  • Beautiful Anonymous

  • The Moth

  • The Drive

  • Northwestern Intersections

  • Turn on the Jets, Locked on the Jets, Let’s Talk Jets

  • The Rubin Report

  • In The Dark

  • Sleuth

  • Pop Culture Happy Hour

  • Dissect

I was also able to clear out my backlog of “Shows and Movies to Watch” - the TV/Movie landscape is so fragmented and frustrating as a consumer. It makes the $9.99/month music subscription for everything seem so simple!

Some of my favorites:

  • Ozark

  • Django Unchained

  • Ivory Tower

  • Zero Days (about Stuxnet)

  • Page One (about NYTimes)

  • Kids for Cash

  • Interstellar

  • Ken Burns Civil War documentary

  • Explained on Netflix

I was also able to read about about a book a week:

  • Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life, in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies.

  • Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

  • The Society of Mind

  • A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age

  • A Gentleman in Moscow

  • The Score Takes Care of Itself

  • Origin

  • Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child


Parental leave was a great change of pace but it was NOT a vacation. I am ready to go back to Pandora on Monday and balance my Maeve time with the other parts of my brain. Things at Pandora move fast and I know I’ll have a lot to debrief on with the team. For starters, Pandora was acquired by SiriusXM 5 days ago. Never a dull moment :)