Learning To Juggle
In other words, I'm open to your advice.
This is a relatively new gig for me. At ages four years
and nine months, respectively, my children seem to be at particularly needy
stages, but each in their own way.
It is just a stage, right?
I'm a stay-at-home mom, so my children are hardly starved for my attention. In addition to feeding, washing, and clothing them, I spend a great deal of time taking them to the park, reading to them, building (and rebuilding) train tracks and Lego trucks... all. day. long.
For the most part, I enjoy doing these things. However, for my sanity's sake, I also need time to do other things, apart from them.
When my son was the only child, it was easy to keep him on a set schedule. There were no loud disruptions by... say, an older sibling who doesn't seem to understand the concept of "play in another room", "talk softly", or "put away that cow bell."
I once had set pockets of time each day for my personal pursuits, either when he slept or watched his shows. He's since outgrown naps and can't be left unsupervised for longer than a commercial break...
Then, there's the addition of the second one. Two is a juggling act. I feel as if any time my son is at preschool or my daughter is napping should be invested in one-on-one time with the other. Rarely, are they ever both occupied and/or napping at the same time. Even when they are, I don't even know where to begin.
The relentless tag-teaming leaves me so wiped at the end of the day that trying to form a coherent thought after their bedtime is near impossible. So, the challenge is to find time during the day to do my work.
In a stroke of genius, it occurred to me to convert a space in our office into a craft corner for my son. I cleared the bottom two shelves of the closet and stocked them with puzzles, Play-Doh, and board games. I brought in a small table and stools to give him a surface on which to work (and leave my desk alone...)
I took him to Wal-Mart to choose colorful bins with nifty snap-top lids. Then, he and I spent the rest of the day labeling and filling them with stickers, safety scissors, tape, and glue sticks. We already had the paints, crayons, markers, and chalk on hand.
I collected a stack of magazines and cards for him to cut out. I gave him so much tissue and construction paper that we could open a piñata factory. I bought him brand new coloring books and drawing pads.
My son was so excited that for the first few days, my plan went swimmingly. He happily cut and pasted while his sister napped and I edited photos and blogged less than five feet away... in peace and quiet. The next day, I paid bills and worked on our household budget. He destroyed a Pottery Barn catalog. On the third day, he made monsters out of Play-Doh. I answered an email.
I had finally perfected alone togetherness with my child! All was good!
Then, on the fourth day, I made the mistake of adding a bunch of envelopes leftover from moving announcements and holiday cards to his supplies. That was the beginning of the end…
After that, he
became obsessed with playing “postman”-- stamping, stuffing, and addressing
letters to me, then demanding that I open and read them upon delivery.
These “letters” are usually pictures he’s cut from catalogs or mailers. Each is accompanied by a long, involved story told only the way an imaginative four-year-old boy can, with lots of “CRASH! BOOM! TRUCKS! ROAR!” interjected.
It was cute... the first three times, but like most preschoolers, he doesn't know when enough is enough. With each repeat performance, it becomes less adorable... especially when the ruckus that ensues wakes up his sister in the next room.
I realize that one day I'm going to look back at this time fondly. I know I'm going to miss how my little boy loved me so much that he wrote (and hand-delivered) seventeen letters to me a day. However. at this very moment...
"What is it, Honey Bear? All right, can you give me a sec?"
I would like...
"Yes, Sweetie. I'll be right with you. Just let me..."
to be able to...
"Okay. Will you just go play in your room...qu-iet-ly?"
complete a thought...
This is an original post to the Silicon Valley Moms Blog.
When she can string together two seconds of peace and quiet, Grace Duffy blogs at Formerly Gracie. You can also follow her on Twitter @graceduffy or send her an email, but don't' take it personally she doesn't respond right away. She's probably still trying to get through the stack of handwritten letters on her desk.