Hi, I’m Aaron, and I am a stay-at-home dad.
I’m not a babysitter.
I don’t “give mommy a day off.”
I am the one who gets the day off. (And yes, I obviously watch too much Breaking Bad during nap time.) I don’t freak out about changing diapers, wiping noses or butts, taking my little nose miner to the bathroom right after our food has been delivered when we go out to eat, etc. And my first day home alone with my little boy when he was two months old was not a re-enactment of that scene from Three Men and A Baby.
I love being a dad, and I don’t mind saying I think I do a fairly good job of it.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all flowers and puppy kisses—we’ve had some tough times. The year (yes, year) that it took for potty training, issues with other kids at preschool, working through developmental roadblocks, and way too many ear infections and bouts of projectile vomiting to count. There have been a few days where I wondered if I was doing well enough as a dad or if I should pack it in for an office job and hire a nanny. Thankfully, those days are few and far between.
Unlike other cities where the fun places are further spread out and you end up spending more time in the car than at the science center or museum (yeah, I’m looking at you Cleveland), communities are not as integrated, and parenting for the most part takes a lot more energy, Columbus is actually a fun and fairly easy city to raise kids in.
Actually, in many ways, it’s kinda perfect. It’s fairly compact and you can get just about anywhere fairly quickly (except at rush hour of course). Living in Upper Arlington, we have COSI, Columbus Museum of Art, the Short North, and Downtown just minutes from our front door, with shopping at Easton Town Center or Polaris Fashion Place a few minutes further. Community is also a huge part of what keeps my family in Columbus. With friendly neighbors, a fantastic group of other dads in the Columbus Dads Meetup group, amazing parks and playgrounds, award winning libraries, excellent schools, and family run businesses like Huffman’s Market, Honey Dip Donuts and Diner, and the Chef-O-Nette that are just around the corner from our house, we have everything we need to call Columbus home.
Since my son Harrison was a baby, I would document our days out and share the pictures on Instagram. Now that he’s getting older and is more of a co-collaborator in our shenanigans, I wanted to take our little project to the next level and also start introducing him to some of my favorite Columbus spots that weren’t so kid friendly when he was younger. And to really show in the pictures that we were in fact exploring, we picked up a pretty sweet looking spacesuit and helmet off of Amazon and hit the streets.
It all started out pretty low-key. We’d be out for the day, we’d throw on the space suit, and I’d click a few pictures with my camera (no tripods, lights, or reflectors, please). No big deal. We didn’t get kicked out of anyplace, and we had a good time taking and sharing the pictures. Then some pretty awesome people actually started inviting us into some very popular places around Columbus to explore and take pictures. Le Meridien Hotel, The Joseph, The Mug and Brush Barbershop, Studio 35 Theater and Brewpub, Jeni’s Ice Cream, Columbus Museum of Art, the Planetarium at COSI, and most recently Ballet Met Columbus and the Columbus Zoo have all opened their doors to us and helped us create images for our project that are way beyond what I thought we would achieve when we started back in December.
We’ve been having a great time exploring and are making a book of our adventures around Columbus. We’ll be having a Gallery show at Wild Goose Creative in April 2017 that will kick off with a party for the whole family that’s going to be out of this world!
If you want to keep up with the viral adventures of Small Steps Are Giant Leaps, or get more information about the book or show, head over to smallstepsaregiantleaps.com and make sure to follow us them Instagram at @smallstepsaregiantleaps.