Itinerary Of A Plant Dad

6:45AM — I wake up and check on Pia, our precious bundle of joy. She’s had a restless night, and has been keeping me and my partner Gwyndolynée awake with her endless rustling, tossing and turning. Pia — short for Piaget — is an 8 month old Haworthiopsis fasciata we adopted from a communal growery in Park Slope (organic, no pesticides). Once neglected, she is now our pride and joy.

6:50AM — I check Pia’s soil. It’s wet. Our precocious youngling is already pot trained.

7:30AM — Gwyndolynée leaves for work, tearing up. It’s her first day back since bringing our Pia home. She is an art director at a boutique agency specializing in luxe window decor for popup experiences. I have retired early to care for precious Pia, and also to work on my novel (a satire of my time at Goldman). Occasionally I will read her passages aloud, hoping to strengthen her cognition before applying for top green rooms in the city.

8:20AM — I continue to baby-proof the house while Pia naps, removing blinds with looped cords so she doesn’t deprive herself of morning sun.

8:40AM — I put the last safety covers over all electrical outlets. After Gwyndolynée and I heard about the fern in the neighborhood who nearly died from putting a leaf in a socket, we don’t want to take any chances. Pia will be crawling any day now.

10:30AM — Feeding time! Ultimately we decided to breastfeed — neither of us are lactating, but we feel like the exposure to the breast is what matters. Soon she will be ready for solids. I think Pia’s ready for that more than Gwendolynée and I are!

11AM — Pia and our cat Lionel are finally getting along. I was getting worried for a moment we’d have to put him down.

Noon — A brief lunch of grilled fish for me and Pia. Gwyndolynée and I have gone on a completely plant-free diet in solidarity with our daughter. We are also opposed to eating meat, but we have settled on seafood because we feel like fish can’t be that sentient.

3:30PM — I am thinking of Gwyndolynée at work, her long fingers stroking the keyboard of her laptop as she coordinates experiences, a photograph of Pia on her desk. I text her an updated photograph of Pia, and she sends back “ok.” I love my partner so much!

4PM — Time to meet with the other plant dads! I load Pia into the Baby Björn. We initially purchased a stroller, but we’re too worried about her separation anxiety. Sweet thing!

4:30PM — It’s nice to get some time together with the other dads Willis, Christophe, and Edmund at the botanical garden. Not only is it good for our seedlings to socialize with others, but it’s also good for our sanity. We lean on each other and exchange parenting tips. Though our plants are all different, with different needs, they all depend on us to be strong role models.

4:35PM — Edmund shares a story about forgetting to rotate his youngling after two weeks on the windowsill. We all laugh, especially Willis, who is having difficulty adjusting to his new role as plant dad. In fact, I’m thinking of reporting Willis to PPS (Plant Protective Services). We all know there’s more than just water in that S’well bottle!

5:35PM — Christophe is starting drama in the group again, this time by suggesting that Pia is not Haworthiopsis fasciata, but instead the much more common Haworthiopsis attenuata. Although this is incredibly offensive, I remind myself that Christophe is lashing out because his partner adopted their bamboo shoots from Sears, and now he’s stuck with it.

5:40PM — Pia and I head home, and though I’m still worried about what Christophe said, Edmund sends a text message that really makes me feel supported. Edmund is such a good plant dad with five bouncing baby succulents of his own. Sigh… Maybe I’ll bring up expanding our forest to Gwendolynée tonight. Everyone says we grow such beautiful greenery.

6:00PM — On the way home, Pia and I see new plants in the neighbor’s window: new kids on the block! We immediately stop to invite them over for a playdate when we realize something ghastly. The plants are only… artificial? Who would do this heinous thing? I shield Pia from seeing. It might be time for us to move out of the city.

7:35PM — We are at home listening to Mozart when Gwyndolynée returns. Almost immediately, she picks a fight with me. She is suggesting we get a plant sitter again so I can ‘get out of the house’ and ‘maybe get a job.’ Clearly she doesn’t understand the magnitude of my job as a father.

7:37PM — In a regretful moment of passive aggression, I tell Gwyndolynée that Pia said her first word and it was “dada.” She walks away, but I secretly hope this hurts her deeply.

7:45PM — I apologize and agree that we will get a plant-sitter. It just feels like only yesterday we were transplanting our Pia out of her growery pot and into her first big-girl pot. I just hope she isn’t listening to mommy and daddy squabbling!

7:55PM — Gwyndolynée and I make love. But —

8:00PM Did I just hear Pia cry? Poor thing’s probably having nightmares again. We should have never let her watch Little Shop of Horrors. I check Pia’s soil — it’s dry. It’s hard for us, but she must be weaned this way, or she will be overwatered. We wonder if she is suffering? “Isn’t life suffering?” asks Gywndolynée, staring out past the linen curtains at the rising moon. I weep.