Last night on a Zoom call with my writing group, I described how I have come up with a small win that makes it feel a bit more like summer vacation despite still being largely quarantined.
“So Little L has this green light that comes on when she’s allowed to get up” — there were nods on the screen. They knew about these lights from their own kids and nieces and nephews.
“She’s still in her crib, but she’s not supposed to call for us until the light is on at 7:05.”
I told them how previously, during the school year, I’d get up at 6 or before to exercise, shower, and get dressed, and then go in to get Little L ready for the day.
But now it’s summer break.
I roll in to Little L’s room at 7:05 in my Mama Bear wintertime PJ set that my mom got me and is so soft I wear it even in summer.
We all eat breakfast, and then when Axel starts work in the bedroom, Little L and I blast some Taylor Swift and run up and down the apartment for about 20 minutes. After a few minutes she usually sits down and talks to me or says “watch me do something funny!” and jumps around.
But I just keep going, getting my exercise at the same time that I’m watching my kid. I even stretch and do my back strengthening exercises on the rug when I’m done. Why not? I’m in no rush.
Then I shower, and I let Little L shower too. She loves water, so she’s game.
After that, we go about our day - but by this point we only have a couple hours until lunch.
“Which means less time for playing!” I tell my writing group.
Lately Little L is into pretending we’re on a spaceship or a train. “What else are you going to do on the train, Mama? Tell me, Mama!” As soon as I give one answer, she wants another. “What else, Mama?”
“Plaaaaaaaaaying,” one of my friends says. “I look at the clock and I think it’s been an hour but it’s only been six minutes.”
My other friend is nodding purposefully. “I thought you wouldn’t mind playing as an auntie,” i tell her.
“I mean, I do it,” she says. “But it gets boring after awhile.”
As a teacher, I know how important playing is for kids. They need to play! It can just be a bit draining on adults.
The best part about my sleeping in plan? I get to stay up a little bit later since I don’t have to get up as early. So I’m essentially gaining free time at night and in exchange, playing less in the morning.
And if I need to sleep even later, I could always switch that green light to 7:10…