When I first faced the prospect of six months at home with my child, with whom I hadn't been at home since she was four months old, I was petrified. What the *&^% would we DO during all that suddenly free time?
I have to admit: sometimes the days do feel long, and I am not one for spending hours on the floor playing with cars or dress-up or even My Little Ponies.
But on a whole, we are definitely making progress on the whole "keeping ourselves happily occupied, out of trouble, and not driving each other crazy" thing. Here's how.
1. Lots more shared-reading-time. Zoe can read, sort of, by now. She can kick some Dr. Seuss arse, without too much trouble. But the prospect of reading words bigger than "Would you eat them in a house?" is still quite daunting to her. Luckily we discovered that Zoe will now sit still while I read to her from some of the best books ever created. This week we finished Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. While reading it, we had lots of chats about good kids and bad kids, good parents and bad parents, and the discussions were entertaining and engaging. Today we started Charlotte's Web, and I can already hear her little brain making the connection between a sweet little pig and the bacon in our freezer. So that'll be fun. But all told, this is our new favorite quiet activity, and one we both look forward to daily.
2. Thank goodness, we've taken the training wheels off her bike. I wouldn't quite call her a master of the two-wheeler yet, as she still has wobbly starts and stops, but then...so do I. And the thing is: she LOVES it. It's quieter, less bumpy, and she can go faster. Where I used to walk with her, now I have to run. And today we tried riding bikes together, and aside from the fact that my tires desperately need air, and that we got chased inside by a monster thunderstorm, it was really fun. I foresee a summer filled with long bike rides and runs, just the two of us, together. And on weekends, I know Charles will be happy to join in.
3. Yay for imaginations!! Zoe literally said yesterday that she's not sure why, but she feels like her imagination is growing bigger and bigger. Translation: she loves making up games with her cars and her action figures and pretty much all her toys now. This has been the biggest lifesaver for me. I can Get Stuff Done while she has fun playing in her room, all by herself.
4. Music. Oh man, the child loves music. We could spend hours listening to music videos on YouTube, and regularly find new songs from some of our favorite singers. Her current favorite remains Fun, and she's mentioned to me many times that she know she can't sing some of the words, since they're bad, so I'm fine with her listening to the album over...and over...and over...and every so often, I win the music debate and we have a Sinatra afternoon.
5. While she's happily occupied, I've been keeping myself busier than ever, branching out my writing-life to include artist profiles and weirdly controversial columns about loud audiences. When people tell me to "go home Yankee," I pretty much think I've done my job...and then I double-check the locks at night.
So yeah, we're keeping busy and mostly having fun. I'm honestly curious to see what the next four months bring, as these past two have been much different from what I originally imagined. And so long as I keep getting up on time (before 6) and she keeps sleeping as late as I tell her to (at least 7), I even have a good, solid hour or so of writing time every single day. Things seem to be looking good for us right now!