My mission, now that the summer is basically over and we have no travel plans in the foreseeable future, is to find activities and have a plan for this fall. While the weather is still nice and I’m sure we’ll have good outdoor days for a couple more months, I still feel the pressure of impending cabin fever with two soon-to-be-walking toddlers. We just can’t be home all day, every day. I like to have set plans on the calendar, obviously with some flexibility built in.
First is a mom-and-child(ren) playgroup/class. This will be the fourth I’ve taken at my local maternity center. They aren’t perfect, but it’s structured, in a child-friendly environment, and it’s just nice to be with other kids their age. It’s led by an instructor who does songs and books and games with the kids, and there’s always a “development” topic that we can all discuss for each class. Of course, I predict now that there will be at least one post in the coming months about me being insecure that my kids are the only ones not walking and talking. But oh well. It’s a somewhat pricey class, especially now that I have to pay for the second kid, but there you have it.
I’m also getting recommendations on nearby library story times. These have the obvious benefit of being free, but I think they’ll also be a nice block of time. Get the kids in the car, drive there, unpack, story and walk around, pack up, drive home. It will fill the space between morning and afternoon nap quite nicely, I think.
Today, I went to check out a new place. It’s a multi-purpose business that does a lot of child and adult activity/classes like yoga, self defense, pilates, dance, and the like. But they also have a drop-in play time for kids, including one block specifically for 24 months and under. I have to say, it was just as great as I thought it would be. A big open room with padded floors, and huge vinyl/foam building blocks and shapes for them to crawl on, over, under… balls to roll, and a parachute to flap. And at $5 per kid per day on a no-commitment drop-in basis, not a bad way to spend an hour. I think the kids really liked it. Rebecca, as expected, was all over the place. Daniel clung to me a little more, but did branch out and check out the scene. We’ll definitely be returning. The only trick is that it’s that slot between the AM and PM naps, and the drive is just long enough that I had to work to keep them from falling asleep on the way home. Still, though, tons of fun and a great indoor option.
I’m also hoping to take advantage of the babysitting room at my gym. It’s only $2 per kid per hour, and has the added benefit of allowing me to get some much-needed exercise. I thought about doing a Music Together class, but all of the times conflict with naps. Maybe later in the winter when we switch to one nap (not something I’m exactly looking forward to).
This, for me, is the way to survive the potential isolation and frustration of being a stay-at-home-mom. While I love it and wouldn’t trade it, there are times when it’s really, really hard and I’m at a loss for how to entertain the kids and not lose my mind. You’ll notice that only one of the things I listed is a hard-and-fast longer-term commitment (the mom-child class is 10-12 weeks long). Everything else is a pre-existing thing that we can go to and have on the calendar, but if we decide not to, nothing is lost. I didn’t want to over-commit us to too many things. And only one is particularly expensive (again, the mom-child class). The rest are either free or relatively cheap.
We’re at a somewhat tricky stage. The kids are mobile and have no interest in sitting still for long, but they aren’t yet walking and still require two naps per day. That limits our available hours and leaves only a few physical-activity options. I have a feeling that, when I go to make plans for January through April, it’s going to look fairly different from what it is now. Can’t get too far ahead of myself, though. For now: concentrate on activities to last us into December. Let’s hope the nap schedule holds until then.
I just jinxed myself, didn’t I? Sigh…