Toddlers, man. They’ll break you if you’re ill prepared. You can’t just wake up in the morning filled with anticipations of a day filled with cupcakes and unicorn farts. Because when you do, you’re guaranteed to end up with a day that could rival one in the deepest pits of hell.
Now, this isn’t at all saying that all days are hellish and that there are no cupcakes and unicorn fart days, you just can’t count on one or the other. You just have to go with the flow and see how the day progresses.
Since I started my leave back in December (sad side note – exactly 2 months from today is my first day back to work) I’ve spent A LOT of time with Aric getting to know the ins and outs of his everyday routine. It’s not that I didn’t know it before, but really, I spend only 2 full days a week with him (ah the plight of a working mom). And five days a week he was out of the house, with his friends in a highly structured environment which made weekends with a loosey goosey schedule OK. But now that it’s him and me (and Abby) most of the time, I’ve started to see what works to keep him happy and occupied, and me from losing my ever loving mind.
Here are some things that have made life with a newborn easier for me and Aric:
I cannot emphasize enough how important this is. We eat breakfast at almost the exact same time every day. We watch the same TV shows at the same time. Lunch is the same time. Nap/quiet time is the same time. If we leave the house, we leave and come back during the same hours. Even our bedtime routine is the same and happens at the same time.
2. The Target Dollar Section
This area is filled with cheapy craft items, toys, and all kinds of little chotchkies. I even made a Pinterest inspired craft project with Aric the other day using some stuff we got in the dollar section. I might take another trip through so we can make Valentines cards for his grandparents. Aric loves craft projects and they can eat up a decent chunk of time. Although, as Murphy and his laws would have it, whenever we sit down to start a craft, Abby needs to be fed. Oh well!
We only have one membership and that’s to the zoo, but if I stayed home full time I’d definitely be getting a membership to the Children’s Museum as well. It’s a great way to get us out of the house for a “free” day out. The last time we went to the zoo we even packed a picnic lunch and ate it in the tropical section of the zoo. Nice and warm and happy!
When I’m feeding Abby or just need a Mommy Time Out, I just hand Aric his LeapPad tablet or flip on the TV. Yes, yes. I melting his brain. Plopping him in front of the electronic babysitter. Whatever. It works. It keeps him out of trouble when I can’t run after him.
I know. It’s odd to say that daycare is helping me stay home with him, but work with me here. I still send him twice a week to get him out of the house, to play with his friends, and to keep him up with his daycare routine so it’s not a huge shock when he goes back in April. Plus it gives me time with just Abby and time to run errands, etc.
I really REALLY wish it wasn’t winter, because we’d work in a daily trip to the park or spend LOTS of time running around outside. But sadly, it is BITTER cold (as in, below zero, yuck). But for now, we’re doing what we can with what we’ve got. I just wish it would warm up a TAD so I could at least take the kids out to the car so we could go somewhere. All the structure, cheap craft items, and TV shows only go so far when you’ve all been stuck inside for 5 straight days.
What do you do with your toddler/infant to stay busy/sane?