Balancing self-care and kids’ needs, twins, swimming

I woke up this morning feeling intimidation and resistance at the prospect of solo child care (the week sometimes feels long, and Thursdays and Fridays in particular). So, I spent a while in the yellow room with the twins reading while they snuggled with me and played, and it was mostly successful. I have a basic Nook, that doesn’t have a light, and there are no pictures or anything else to draw too much toddler attention, unlike my cell phone or computer. So I was able to snuggle down under the quilt and read a book while they played on the electric keyboard (“Louder!, louder!” sayeth Emily when I foolishly attempted to turn down the volume) and with each other.

That doesn’t always work, because there are times they’re more demanding of my attention, but this morning it did, and I was grateful.

Then I took a shower while they brushed their teeth and made a certain amount of mayhem. And then, after I’d gotten dressed, gotten Emily dressed, gotten them, protesting vigorously, into their rain suits, we headed out. It was raining, but not too seriously. We walked (well, I walked and they rode in their chariot) over to a toddler playroom. I used to take Hazel there pretty regularly when she was little, but I haven’t been there in years. I just find that I do less with the twins than I did with her. Partly it’s that there are two of them, and logistics simply are more complicated: when we arrived, for example, I saw another parent whose kid goes to Hazel’s school, who was arriving for a Friday swim with her friend and her friend’s daughter, and it reminded me that I can’t take the twins swimming, because there are two of them and one of me. Partly it’s because with three kids our lives are more complicated. And partly, it’s because we’ve pared down our nanny hours due to increased expenses, and other than time for practicing, teaching, and a weekly Pilates appointment there isn’t a window large enough to allow for us taking the twins to the pool. But it’s ok; each child experiences his/her family differently, and I have pretty much reconciled myself to the idea that not only is it ok that I’m not going to do everything exactly the same way with each child, it’s better that way. They are all different people, after all.

Anyway, the twins enjoyed the playroom quite a lot, as there were masses of new things for them to experience. And it was great for me: I met a very interesting person who’s a nanny who also just had her own child, and was there with her baby and the two kids she nannies. We talked about fertility treatments, birth, and the ways in which women’s choices are restricted, as well as sharing something of our own lives. And when I wasn’t talking with her, I was able to read some more. Very relaxing.

I left late enough that the twins inevitably fell asleep on the way back, so I stopped off and grabbed some food (that I ordered ahead of time online) and had my lunch while walking them around for their nap. It was still drizzling, but not hard, and it wasn’t cold, so it was quite an enjoyable walk.

After we’d picked Hazel up and come back home I sat on the couch and read some more while they played. My mom sent us some play silks a while back, and Hazel loves to wrap her sisters up in them, to twirl about with them, and to wrap up stuffed animals and present them as gifts. As well, of course, there were Legos to build with, and toy cars to play with.

Then Ted came home, and after a bit we decided to take the kids swimming (inspired by my earlier realization). While he was feeding them dinner, I went up to gather suits and towels, and rather lost the plot when I couldn’t find either of Hazel’s swim suits. Ultimately, Ted found one in the bottom drawer of the twins’ dresser (!) and off we went.

The twins were pretty overwhelmed by the noise and input, and clung to us like moist monkeys the whole time we were there, but they enjoyed it. This might become a somewhat regular Friday night activity, as it gets us out of the house and tires out the kids, both good things.

And now I have a kitty snoozing in the little nook between my leg and the arm of the chair, all warm and cozy. And after a few rounds of Scrabble I’m going to go to bed. Early.

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