Most of my energies these days are spent in assessing and reassessing time management. The Snapper’s needs and capabilities change every few weeks and therefore the daily rhythm as well. When he was a newborn all I could do was nurse him and eat. At three months I could lay him on the floor and do yoga or aerobics, and put him in the swing for showers. I still wore him for naps because he wouldn’t take them elsewhere. At six months he became super-mobile, and since then I’ve been in varying stages of frustration over how to structure my day. It’s important that he be able to crawl, cruise and play in as many rooms as possible, but it makes it kind of difficult to figure out what to do with myself while he’s busying himself with mischief. When the dogs are out I do nothing but play interference. We don’t mess around with our dogs and will not relax our vigilance until he’s over 4. When they are away for the better part of his wake time when Attic Man is not home, I still have to keep a sharp eye out for each new thing he can now reach (the upper shelves in our living room are now crammed with books, with toys and pillows on the bottom two, soon to be three; the mugs swim around the kitchen without a home; and we’ve given up on the CDs and just pick them up every night). But it’s kind of boring. I can’t read anything serious because I have to stop every few sentences, if not to grab the dangerous item of the moment out of his hands or mouth, to check that he’s not close to doing so. So I read short magazine articles and stories, sometimes out loud for his benefit (there’s nothing better for this purpose than Mark Twain pieces, I assure you. Have you read “Letter to Earth?”), and we listen to music on XM radio. The world music channel offers us the most variety. There are a few cleaning tasks I can accomplish, like the dishes or folding laundry, but if I’m all caught up on these doable things (like today), I end up restless and feeling rather unproductive and useless. There’s so much to be done on the dissertation front and elsewhere that I simply can’t accomplish at this stage unless he’s napping. He doesn’t nap enough to get in showering, dressing, checking email and very much dissertating. Fortunately, he’s having a ball and is quite sufficiently stimulated, which makes me happy and proud. Every day he’s making new sounds, doing more complex things with his toys, and getting around more proficiently (he’s climbing…Lord have mercy!).
This is all to say that I think I’m finally ready to think about having him in day care part-time like we are planning. If I get this job–they’re checking my references–the Snapper can be in outside care for 3-4 afternoons a week, four hours at a pop, to allow me to write. That will be huge. We will then be able to enjoy several guilt-free mornings crawling and cruising with me on the couch or free-style dancing to reggae for his amusement.