Friday, January 16, 2009

A small miracle

I was home with Leigh yesterday. After wrestling her into presentable clothes, walking to school in the bitter cold for a portion of "picture day" (which was scheduled on a day she is not usually at day care), and her flat out refusing to sit for a picture (you can't really blame her, the giant flash umbrellas were pretty intimidating and she is rightly skeptical of strangers who smile too much and want to fuss with her), I feared the day might be off to a bad start.

Naps appear to be a thing of the past in our house, so at least for now, Gail and I have decided to give up the ghost, and embrace the nap free life. But if I'm going to live with no toddler breaks, the day had better contain some things I enjoy (not that endless rounds of books/puzzles/pretend-rocket-ships/pretend-food/pretend-elevators for 7 hours straight isn't enjoyable, I just usually have had my fill at about the hour mark), so I decided I could sew some curtains that have been waiting for me to get to them for only about a year and a half, but that if Leigh asked to help, I had to say yes.

It actually worked great. With very close supervision, Leigh "helped" with the ironing (my hand on top of hers), and sat on my lap to "help" feed the curtains through the sewing machine. She grew tired of the proceedings at intervals, and ran off to her own pretend games. I stopped several times for 10-15 minute rounds of books and games that seemed to keep her very happy. We actually managed to finish the curtains before Gail got home, though the house had seen better days. It felt like a miracle. Apparently our child doesn't actually need undivided attention all day. I'm guessing other folks figured that one out already, and that probably this is one of those things that parents with multiples sit around laughing about.

7 comments:

SpeedyIma said...

Yay! Something I feel sad about having Speedy in daycare full-time is that when we're together, I *do* want for one of us to be giving him undivided attention, even though he often is content to play on his own for long stretches. But as he gets into preschool age, we're also trying to involve him in more of the daily life of the household -- sorting silverware into its tray, matching socks while I fold laundry, etc., and he really likes helping.

The other cool thing about sewing w/ H is that you're transmitting to her a skill she probably won't get elsewhere. (Was thinking of this yesterday in drafting class, where I got good marks on a project in part because I have been drawing for a long time, even if not with architectural precision. Realized that I really want Speedy to feel comfortable with drawing, crafts, etc.)

Maughta said...

Strangely enough, Dear Abby from yesterday was about this very issue and had some advice I found reasonable:

When they were babies and toddlers, they played while I pursued my interests, hobbies and chores. While I sewed, they played with fabric and ribbons. While I cooked, they played at my feet with pots, pans and spoons. While I did yard work, they played in the sandbox.

labelsareforjars said...

Sounds like a great balance! Also, I can't find your post from yesterday, but it's on my google reader -- we must live within less than a mile of each other as we frequent many of the same spots you mentioned. If you ever want to do a queer family/MDC family meet up, just let me know! Stay warm....

Lex said...

I'm loving that Dear Abby advice in Maughta's comment! Very true to what works for us. I've never really attempted to give my children my undivided attention all day long, but I do sometimes feel like I should (which is different from wishing that I could, since really I think I'd go insane without at least little breaks here and there). I do find that the solution that makes everyone happiest is to find a balance between me playing with the kids, the kids playing alone, and us working on my projects together (i.e. helping me to cook/clean/sew/etc.). And a half-hour of undivided adult attention does go a long way (often the kids will play alone for a couple of hours after I get them started). Also, getting out of the house is always a great plan since I am separated from many distractions, and the kids are less needy of one-on-one time with me. We all have a great time at libraries, museums, parks, coffee shops, toy stores with play spaces, any place but home!

Lo said...

This post made me feel less guilty. Thanks.

projectkjetil said...

I love it! The idea of her helping you sew, plus the bonus of her playing independently. A miracle indeed.

Kiddo loves helping with sewing too, although she gets frustrated/bored rather quickly. For now, her forte is coming up with a fabric and an idea, then coming to visit me frequently while I complete it.

eeney meeney miney mommy said...

I love that you are always passing along your experiences and wisdom. I try to file it away for the day when I will run into these things with my own child.