Filling the hours

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…

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6 Comments

Filed under Learning/Classes, Out and about, SAHM, Toddlers

6 responses to “Filling the hours

  1. I dreaded the one nap transition but it is so nice! We can get a lot done before lunch then we can get a lot done afterwards. It really opened up a lot for us once we could go somewhere and stay for a long period of time.

    Now we actually talk about how nice it will be to go down to no nap so we have complete freedom. Crazy as that sounds!!

  2. I feel your pain with the nap situation. My twins are 10 months and still take two naps a day; one at 9 and the other at 2. I try to go somewhere with them everyday (even if it’s just to run errands or walk around the neighborhood) at around 12:30 after lunch. This way, I’m back in the car with them by 1:30 or 2…fortunately, though, they are still at the age where they will stay asleep as I take them from their car seats into the house. A lot of places like Gymboree or Little Gym have an option for you to do a trial class before you join to see if it works for you. I wish you luck on finding new and exciting things to do with your duo!

  3. ahhh the nap transition…we’re just starting to talk about that with Logan. Some days he seems ready to drop a nap, others he doesn’t….and heck if I can remember what we did with the twins LOL

    Sounds like you’re going to keep just busy enough without being too overwhelmed.

  4. …my boys were forced into one nap around 15 months because they transfered into the toddler room (where they can nap anytime from 11:30-2:30pm). It was very tricky at first. We had to put them to bed earlier for a few weeks…and could NOT have them in the car anywhere near their prior nap times otherwise it would screw up the whole day (i.e. they’d fall asleep (no matter how loud we sang or tried to keep them up), so we’d end up driving around and around and around). The daycare administrator told us that it was important to keep them on their new (daycare) schedule. I remember emailing a fellow MOM friend (her boys are 3 months older) and asking if it gets easier. Sure enough, it took about 3-4 weeks to get used to the schedule, but I tell you, it is SO nice to be able to have a long stretch in the morning and then another long stretch in the afternoon on the weekends so we can get things done. Although I usually took their naptimes to cook/prep food for the upcoming week…morning nap was for prepping and afternoon nap was for cooking. O’well. It was worth it!

    Here I am giving you my thoughts on the two-to-one nap transition and this post isn’t even about that! In any case, the activities that you’ve picked out look awesome!

  5. Liz, I swear, you typed out what was in my head! I, too, need a daily activity (or two) to keep myself from going crazy. Jack gets bored at home, also. It IS tricky right now, not only b/c of the naps, but b/c our kids can’t do imaginative play with us yet. I have a feeling it might be easier to stay home when we can do things like play pretend games. Jack now understands simple instructions, but we’re a loooong way off from true two-way communication! The activities you have planned sound great. I’m also checking out our baby/toddler story hour at the local library.

    Jack and I are also in a 12-week mom/toddler program at My Gym. While it’s fun, there are a lot of times when I feel totally insecure because it seems like Jack is “behind.” Other moms ask, “How old is your son?” Then, upon hearing the answer, “Oh, so he must be talking/using utensils/programming your DVR!” Of course, when I say, “No, not quite,” they get this sad look on their face and say, “Well, no worries, each baby develops at his own pace! MY child … ” and then I am treated to about 15 minutes of how her kid began doing all those things at six months of age. Sigh! I know I’m probably guilty of this from time to time, without knowing it. I think it may be what happens when you take driven, former career women and throw them into a situation where the only “projects” they compare with one another are their children!

    Oh, and the naps. Jack is having two naps and slowly the morning one is extending, and the afternoon one is shortening. I feel like the transition to one is coming. However (how selfish does this sound?), I’m dreading it, because right now, at least the afternoon nap gives me some “me time”!

  6. Olympia

    Pardon the interruption. I am a reporter with the Richmond Times-Dispatch and am trying to get in touch with you but can’t find an e-mail address on your site. I would greatly appreciate it if you would give me a call 804-649-6812 or e-mail me omeola@timesdispatch.com. Thanks and again, and sorry all for the interruption!

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