For the older kid's second birthday, I bought her a betta fish. His cheap plastic fishbowl sits on a shelf above the old bowling alley scoring table I use as a computer desk. Despite his constant lurking in my peripheral vision, for some reason I always let the water level in his bowl get so low he's barely underwater when I finally clean and refill it. Every day I tell myself, "Oh he'll be fine for today, I'll do it tomorrow." The next day I say the same thing. There always seems to be something more pressing worth doing, or some better way to waste time.

My wife goes back to work soon. And by work I mean the luxury of sitting in front of a computer and looking at the internet without a three-year old climbing on her lap and an infant who smells like month-old cottage cheese on one arm. I don't mean to suggest my wife's job is easy: she's far more diligent about actually working than I ever was. But even she had to institute a moratorium on visiting celebrity gossip blogs last year because they were getting in the way of completing her assignments.

But thank goodness almost every office worker in America has virtually untethered access to the internet. Imagine what would happen to our economy if employers started taking away internet privileges and people were forced to actually work. The sound of crickets would reign at fark, digg, and reddit. Projects would get done way earlier than they needed to be. Soon there wouldn't be enough work to go around. Bureaucracies would actually become efficient. Massive layoffs would follow. The entire American economy is balanced precariously on the fact that the average American white collar worker spends only about 20 percent of his or her time actually working.

How did the cubicle kids waste time before the internet? Daydreams? Productivity seminars? Interoffice romances? Midday martinis? Lawyers used to have to actually look things up in books. It was an arcane, tedious process that involved constantly updated digests that led to musty old tomes of case law that took up hundreds of feet of bookshelf in every office. Now those books are just for show: the cases are all online, accessible through extremely expensive google-type searches. It's a well-kept secret that lawyering in the internet age is little more than highly-specialized googling. And with all the time you save avoiding the law library, there's plenty of time to just dick around on the internet. And Lord, I do miss that.

Our baby boy is at a smiling age. He might cry while you brush your teeth, but pop back into his room and he'll give you a toothless smile so wide you collapse in front of him and just spend the next twenty minutes smiling yourself, making faces, and cooing like some joyful idiot. I remember the mornings before I'd go to work in San Francisco, when I'd let my wife sleep in and soak up time with a smiling baby, knowing I would need those minutes to carry me through the tedium of my day. I almost always missed my bus. And now my wife must prepare for those same kind of mornings, those same kind of paycheck-bearing unbearable easy days.

The hardest I've ever worked was at my first job, washing dishes in a busy restaurant. The dishes didn't stop coming until the last customer was well out the door. By eleven at night I'd smell like wet lettuce but I'd be free: I'd step into my 1986 Pontiac Grand Prix with the different-colored fender and turn on the subwoofers I bought with my first paycheck and cruise from red light to red light through Kalamazoo. It took a week to earn what I'd earn in an hour ten years later. I think, in a week or two from now, I will be reminiscing about how easy those dishwashing days actually were. Or dreaming about working on one of those Alaskan salmon boats.

Most of the time, staying home to take care of Juniper was pure fun. But now, with two of them, this is going to be more like work. Taking care of kids must be some of the hardest work you can do, the kind of work we usually save for immigrants or teenagers. And the pay sucks. Having my wife at home with me for the first two months of my son's life has been such a blessing. I will remember these days forever. But now the time has come to show my stay-at-home-dad mettle, to prove that I can be as badass as the thousands of women who've struggled with the tedium and the just-plain-hard work of maintaining a household and caring for more than one kid while their husbands dicked around on the internet in dockers.

Wood has already left me alone with both kids a few times, but each time has been filled with chaos and foreboding. Every day that passes gets me closer to every day looking like that. Wood knows that every day that passes is one day closer to when she has to start leaving them for ten hours a day, locked in her office with a machine extracting milk from her breasts instead of a smiling baby boy. We both feel like we're running out of air. Or, more precisely, I feel like I'm about to drown. And my wife fears that surely she will die of thirst.