Working part-time from home while taking care of Ben sounded easy way back in July when I was a just a neophyte mommy. Coming off six crazy years of teaching, it seemed like child’s play. Ohhhh no, my dears. It is not.
At least not these past few days…. Yesterday, Benjamin was so blisteringly unhappy all day that by 6pm when we started his bedtime ritual, my entire torso felt like it was hit by Mack truck from carrying him around so much. And I got exactly zero hours of work done. Thank goodness most days are not like this.
I find myself constantly chasing after the “perfect day.” One without a single cry from the little babe. I know this is not a realistic (or healthy?) expectation to have for my son… after all, babies are supposed to cry on daily basis. Colicky babies aside, most cry only a moderate amount (after all, they have to teeth, pass uncomfortable gas, and constantly walk a tightrope between boredom and overstimulation). But often enough, there are days where the crying is turned up a notch (I swear sometimes Ben just wakes up on the wrong side of the crib.)
In the pursuit of this no-cry zone, I am constantly tinkering with his rotation of activities throughout the day. Maybe this is the old teacher in me, chasing down that elusive perfect lesson. Although my logical side knows that these evolving tactics probably have less impact on Benjamin’s disposition than I would care to admit, the optimist in me still sometimes does a mental cartwheel out of bed in the morning, thinking: “THIS will be the day!”
So, since the kid is five-months old today, I decided it was as good of a day as any to share a page from my playbook, “Tactics to Keep the Master of the Household Appeased.” Instead of the traditional month-by-month pics where I delete the 182 unhappy ones and keep the 6 smiley ones, today I captured the little man in his natural habitat. Since he is not mobile yet, these are the eight baby-docking stations we rotate through on a daily basis. Each station is configured to a finite amount of time equal to Benjamin’s exact attention span for that particular activity (or that is the goal anyway); they typically last no less than six minutes and no more than twelve minutes. I even set my runner’s watch timer to repeating intervals. Now you are probably shaking your head thinking I am psychotic. I agree.
The High Chair:
The Rocking Chair:
That’s it. The eight docking stations. The only big ones I left out are the stroller (fail-safe for when Ben is really at his wits end) and the Bjorn carrier (I was in no condition for a selfie today). It may seem like plenty to keep a five-month-old occupied, but try 8-10 hours a day…
Sometimes when he is in the Bjorn and we are looking down at all the cars going by, two things are happening simultaneously:
1) Out loud I say in my high-pitched mommy voice “Wow, soooo many fast cars. Do you know what noise those cars are making? VVVVrrrrooooommmm,”
2) In my head I am wondering how much lighter I would feel if I just jumped right out the window.
Yes, it gets that mind numbing.
I really should have included more of the crying pictures, but these ones were just too darned cute. So I can’t help myself, but here are a few more:
You really want to see the crying?