Sick Husband, Good Kid.

Days like today make me think that maybe, just maybe, I won’t go crazy being a stay-at-home.

Hubby started feeling really yucky yesterday. Sore throat, congested, etc. Middle of the night he climbed out of bed, headed to the basement, and didn’t climb back in. Stayed downstairs pretty much all day today. He is, after all, very sick with a sore throat, body aches, and fever. And I’m seven months pregnant, which means I can take virtually no medicine to ease any symptoms I might get. He is trying desperately not to expose me to his germs.

So I played single parent today. Sweet Pea and I took a (very cold) walk to a couple of garage sales. After warming up, we took another cold walk to the park, where she played for quite a while. Came home, had hot cocoa, played a board game, and then she napped. We had a bit of a fight getting her out of bed after that nap. But she painted a picture while I made dinner, and then we played on the piano after we ate.

And now, she’s in bed, without a fight. I miss my hubby, and sad that he’s sick. But I’ll admit that having this day to get a feel for what this might be like made me feel a little bit better. I know not everyday will be this good. But if some of them are…

I. Can. Do. This.

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My child won’t play!

English: A German Shepherd waiting for someone...

English: A German Shepherd waiting for someone to play with him. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay folks, I’d love your take on this one. My kid doesn’t play. She’s sweet (much of the time) and bright, but she is ALWAYS under foot. She knows where her toys are, but she would rather watch what I’m doing and “help.” Which is okay. Sometimes.

Sometimes, I just need her to go play. Build with blocks. Color on her easel. Dress her dolly. Heck, bang on pots and pans! But she won’t play unless we’re there with her, either as an engaged audience (and I do mean engaged…no zoning out in a book) or active participants.

I chatted with her daycare provider, who said the same thing.

“I have to push her to go play.”

That said, we put her to bed for a nap rather early today, and I went into a room, closed the door and painted walls. I could tell within the first half hour that she wasn’t sleeping, but I wasn’t about to come out, covered in paint and only 1/3 done with my wall. So I ignored the sounds I heard.

Today’s mess wasn’t quite this bad.

After two hours, I opened the door to her room, and she was happily playing on the floor!  For two hours! By herself! In her room! (Of course, she’d dug out three drawers’ worth of toys and doll clothes, but that is fixable.) The second I opened the door, all playing stopped, and it was back to being my little follower.

So, how can I get my child to play like that once in a while when she is NOT supposed to be napping? Any ideas?

I can’t just disappear all the time…my house isn’t that big!

Scared stiff AND at peace. How can this be?

I was having a conversation with hubby the other day about my decision to become a stay at home mom once Baby Number 2 arrives. I came to a stunning conclusion: I’m both terrified and completely at peace with my decision.

I’m terrified, because I could have quite a few days like yesterday, when my three-year-old screamed at me for 10 minutes because I carried her into the kitchen, wrapped a blanket around her, and then set her down, when what she wanted was for me to wrap the blanket around her and then carry her to the kitchen. And then screamed at me because she didn’t want to go potty. And then screamed at me because she didn’t get to watch TV. (There were probably a few more episodes of her screaming at me, but frankly, they all start to run together after a bit.) The power struggles right now are enough to make me want to pack her in a crate and ship her to grandma’s until she’s 20.

And yet, my decision to leave my job and be home has me completely at peace. I’m standing on the edge of the great unknown, and normally at moments like this I feel total anxiety and super stressed out. I know I did as I prepared to have Baby Number 1. There was so much to do to prepare, and so much unknown.

It’s strange: I have just as much to prepare for this baby, though very different things, as I did for the first. I have to finish preparing the baby’s room, create a transition plan at work, figure out how I’m going to structure my time at home so I don’t go crazy, and plan for entertaining a three-year old with a newborn in the picture. And yet…

I feel like I’m in the driver’s seat for the very first time. My job isn’t going to dictate my time. I can reinvent myself (with the Masters Degree that I just finished) into the parent and independent freelancer/part time worker that I want to be. I don’t know what that means yet. The world is an unpredictable place and this new me is nebulous at best. And I’m totally okay with that.

Ideas in Jars

One of the things I’m hoping to do with this blog is keep a running list of ideas for kids activities to help me stay busy – and sane –  with my little ones. Ran across this today in a Facebook post.

The “I’m Bored Jar” from iMOM is a printable page of ideas to cut up and stick in a jar for the day your kid looks at you and says, “I’m bored.”  It is a great start, and I think it would a good idea to think up your own ideas so you could have a greater selection. And if you’re afraid or rewarding boredom (as some parents are) maybe it can just be the “I’m stuck” jar – for ME as a parent.

Also, a great idea from the August 2012 issue of Parenting Magazine: The “Yes” jar.  “Every time you say, ‘No, not today,'” write down the activity the kids wanted to do. Stick it in the jar, and every now and then have a “Yes Day” or use those activities as more inspiration to make your time interactive.

I may be crazy…

And if I’m not right at this moment, I may be in the relatively near future. Is any mother really sane?

For the record, I’m a bit of a workaholic. I set pretty strong boundaries between work and home, but when I’m at work, I work. I work hard. And I feel strong attachments to the people I work with, and derive great pride in doing my job, doing it well, and finishing what I start.

Me, the workaholic. “Scary Efficient” my husband said.

I’m leaving that world in the coming months. My second child is due in early December, and I’ve made the harrowing decision to stay home with my kids. I’m terribly excited, and terribly scared. If my decision were based solely on temperament, my husband would be the stay-at-home parent. He keeps his cool when I lose mine. He finds natural ways to teach our daughter during play. He doesn’t mind being an observer, or relatively inactive, while I’m a doer. I crave doing.

But my decision isn’t based solely on temperament, and is instead based on so many factors that I choose not to list at this time. And because my decision is not based solely on temperament and I recognize that my temperament is perhaps not ideal to be a SAHM, I’m using this blog as forum to vent, to document this experiment in parental psychology, and to explore strategies for helping me create a fulfilling life as a parent.

I want this for my kids. And I want this for me, even if I don’t quite know what that means yet. (I’m getting choked up just typing this!)

So SAH parents, and especially former workaholics like me, I’m counting on all of you to help me figure this out!