So, my oldest is on summer vacation from school, halfway through that two-week pocket of time between regular school and summer school that I like to think of as a special challenge. She only went to preschool two days a week, so that’s only two three-hour timeslots per week that I need to fill. Why then does it feel like so much longer?
I’ve realized two things. One, those three hours of down time Monday morning are something I really look forward to. That’s when I take the time to make a perfect mocha at home, start the laundry, get caught up on email, write my blog, and, amazingly, I’m able to get all of this done with my two-year-old at home with me. But one kid is infinitely easier to care for than two, and my daughter seems to relish this alone time, when she can choose any toy to play with, and relax knowing no older sister will be coming up to snatch it away moments later. We usually spend a good hour or so cuddling together, either reading one of her books out loud, or doing our own thing: she’ll act out a scene with her favorite stuffed animals and I’ll read a few pages of my book, the perfect curve of her tiny back against my hip, together and separate all at once.
Having my oldest home means none of these quiet moments will happen. When the two girls are home together, there simply aren’t any moments of quiet. There are song and dance numbers, rowdy games of princess and beast/pirate/evil queen, games of hide-and-seek where both the hider and seeker take turns yelling random things, good-old-fashioned shouting matches, and, of course, tug-of-war over everything. The other day I actually had to yell at them for fighting over a clothes pin. And there was another clothes pin all of two feet away at the time.
So, one week down and one to go. I’ve scheduled in extra play dates to fill the preschool time slot and am squeezing my Monday/Wednesday chores and writing time into nap times and evenings after the girls have gone to bed. But what I miss most are those quiet times with my youngest. She didn’t have the 20 months of being my only child that her sister got, and I find myself yearning for that time alone with her. One week down, and one to go.