by Lara Hoffman
Lara Hoffman is married to our co-founder Nishad Chande. They live in Los Angeles with their son Remi.
We asked Lara to share a story for Father's Day, and she responded with two essays that overwhelmed us. Today we are presenting Part One and tomorrow we'll be publishing Part Two. We're confident that you'll want to check back to hear the rest of her story.
I had a hunch that my husband Nishad would be a fantastic dad when I married him. He had always been more kid-focused than I was. Way back when we were young college students on our third date, he made me promise to name our son “Remi.” “Sure!” I responded, not really concerned about making a promise that I didn’t expect to keep.
But Nishad held me to it. Ten years later we named our first and only child Remi.
And that’s when I discovered that my hunch was right.
After Remi was born, Nishad evenly split Remi’s care with me while I finished my last semester of law school and then studied for the bar exam. Nishad put Remi down for naps with ease, took him on walks, fed him, and woke up nightly to change diapers. I loved watching them giggle together each day. While I sometimes struggled with breastfeeding and the monotony of caring for a baby, fatherhood came naturally to Nishad.
As Remi grew older and I started a series of judicial clerkships, Nishad and Remi spent even more time together while I worked long hours. Nishad managed to work a full-time job while also being one of the only dads at preschool toddler class every Friday morning. Aside from school, he took a hands-on role in organizing many other aspects of Remi’s life and care. Even when Nishad had to travel for work, he’d coordinate Remi’s weekly playdates, babysitting, and camp schedules from a distance. While I’d notice other dads’ frequent awkwardness when interacting with their children, Nishad’s ease in caring for Remi and his joy in doing so were obvious.
Like many kids, as full-time preschool drew near, Remi struggled when separating from me and Nishad. He would scream and cling to our legs, begging us not to leave. It was heartbreaking, and I began to worry that Remi’s transition to preschool would be difficult and potentially even traumatic for him.
It wasn’t surprising that Nishad tried to help Remi become more comfortable with the transition to preschool---he spent hours making a homemade book about it for Remi. And Remi loved it! He read it multiple times a day, pointing at his picture and learning about his preschool routine. After that, preschool drop-off went pretty smoothly. Nishad was so happy with Remi’s reaction that in his spare time he decided to create an online tool (Twigtale) with our friend Carrie to help other families more easily make similar books for their children using language written by child development experts.
Since that time, we’ve used Twigtale books and language to help Remi in a variety of challenging childhood situations---from helping him move to a new town and transition to a “big boy” bed, to helping him understand my breast cancer diagnosis last December. The books and language couldn’t have been more helpful to our family. They were fun for Remi to read, while also enabling him to become more comfortable with new situations and his feelings about them. It was a big relief, as parents, when Remi was able to overcome these challenges.
I couldn’t be prouder of Nishad for creating such a fantastic tool for families. He’s now helped thousands of kids and parents handle difficult childhood transitions like the ones Remi has faced. But to be honest, I’m even more proud of him for being a fantastic dad.
Please check back tomorrow for Part Two of Lara, Nishad and Remi's story!