When we were brewing this weekend, I was struck by the various incarnations of brew day that the DreadBrewer and I have experienced through our history as homebrewers.
First there was Brew Day as a childless couple. These brew days consisted of leisurely brewing. We started whenever we felt like it. During the boil, we would both sit out by the kettle, sip a homebrew or three, and discuss the current brew, the next brew, the brew we were drinking, our plans for the weekend. We kept detailed brewing records. And I mean detailed – we filled up notebooks. Clean up was unhurried, because nobody was waiting for us to be done. Bliss…
Then there was Brew Day during your first pregnancy. These brew days were slightly less leisurely, as we needed to get them done before my energy for the day ran out. But as I wasn’t as tired during LB’s pregnancy, it was still pretty laid back. There was a bit of resentment as I sipped my seltzer and watched DB sip his homebrew, but nothing too bad. Brew day was dutifully recorded for posterity, though the record keeping started to slip a bit due to pregnancy brain. However, still idyllic.
Next came Brew Day with an infant/baby. I thought these brew days were hard. It took a bit of juggling and pre-planning, but we could usually time it so that the 60-minute boil happened during nap time. DB and I could sit around and discuss what we were brewing and what the Littlest Brewster was up to lately. Or I could use the time to catch up on cleaning and dart in and out intermittently to check on DB and the kettle. Since I wasn’t pregnant, I could at least have a homebrew during brewing but since I did have a small human being depending on me, I couldn’t have 10 homebrews like I wanted. Our records started to suffer more as neither of us had the energy for writing essays about our beers, but we still got all the essential details down. Clean up was a rushed affair, as we were trying to get it done before the Littlest Brewster woke up and needed attention. If LB had to come outside with us, it was pretty easy to contain her either in the bouncy seat early on or in the activity center when she got bigger. It was hard but it was still fun and we were pretty sure we were bad-asses for even attempting to brew with a baby.
Most recently, we are in the middle of Brew Day with an active toddler and a pregnant BrewsterMama. Okay, this incarnation is not as much fun and it is way harder than brew day with a baby. The Littlest Brewster is full-speed ahead; we can no longer strap her into an activity center to keep her contained, happy, and safe while we do what needs doing. (Reference the head whacking incident from last weekend…) Nap time is significantly shorter (and later), making it a bit harder to use to our advantage. I’m at the point I pregnancy where I can have a small glass of homebrew, but toddler-wrangling makes me stare covetously at DB’s enormous glass and resentfully at DB himself. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m ecstatic if I can remember to record a starting and a finishing gravity for each batch. Honestly though, it is still fun. I still love brewing with DB and I certainly have no intentions of stopping.
But this phase makes me really, really miss the way it was when it was just us. And it makes me absolutely terrified about what is coming: Brew Day with an active toddler and a baby. I know that eventually the kids will be old enough to be interested in what we’re doing and help out a bit; both DB and I are really looking forward to that type of brew day. But it’s years in the future.
And sometimes, I just miss hanging out with my brewing buddy.