Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2:1 and Thoughts on Daycare

You'll have to forgive me for all the numbers in the titles of my blog posts lately.  I'm really not much of a numbers girl, despite what it may look like.

I started this during nap time yesterday, which ended promptly once my fingers hit the keys.  I tried working on it again last night, but it got late and my thoughts starting getting too jumbled.  A power outage in our neighbourhood derailed plans to watch Season 1 of Revenge on DVD tonight, so here I am.

Today was the third day where I had both kids on my own for the entire day.  I don't just mean the third day in a row (which is true), I mean the third day ever.  I know that must sound strange to so many of you who daily take care of multiple children, but up until this week The Bean was either in daycare or on the rare occasion where he was home sick, Jen was able to work from home so I wouldn't have to watch both kids on my own all day.

Monday morning he woke up with a fever, but Jen had been away on business last week and needed to go into the office and get back on track.

I'll admit it, I was a bit nervous on Monday.  I felt a lot more confident yesterday.  By today it seemed like no big deal.  The Bean may well be home again tomorrow, and though I'm tired and missing what little "me" time I get during the day, I know we'll be fine.

Spending the day with two children is not the most difficult thing in the world.  Even as a teen-aged babysitter I did it often enough.

The thing that I didn't know how to manage was nap time.  Namely, Sprout's morning nap and what to do with The Bean during the time it would take me to nurse her and rock her to sleep.  Day One The Bean was running a pretty high fever and his energy levels were way down.  I thought about turning on the television for him, but instead asked him to play quietly, promising that I'd be out of the bedroom as soon as his sister was asleep.  I left the door cracked and tried to get Sprout snoozing as quickly as I could.  He interrupted once, needing help to get his pajamas off to use the potty, but other than that did well entertaining himself.  Hopefully getting my undivided attention for the following hour while Sprout slept was enough of a reward.  Tuesday he woke up grumpy and uncooperative, so I resorting to putting a DVD on for him when nap time rolled around, thinking he probably wouldn't be cooperative if asked to play on his own again.  As I left the bedroom the latch on the door clicked shut and I saw him jump awake from where he'd fallen asleep on the couch.  He spent the rest of the hour sprawled out eyes half open watching Little Bear.  Today he asked if he could play on Jen's tablet, so I let him.  Thankfully, I was back out just before the timer blocked him from playing any longer.

I hate to stick him in front of a screen to keep him entertained, but at the same time I've been very thankful that they exist and do keep him entertained.

Afternoons have been easier as I've been able to put him down for a nap and then take Sprout into the other room and put her down.  He didn't fall asleep today, but he knows he has to stay "quietly" in his bed until we tell him nap time is over.  I let him get up after she was settled.  (And after I had had a cup of tea.)  I was pretty beat by 5:00pm when Jen got home, but it wasn't unmanageable.  And Jen let me have a half hour "time out" which was a welcomed break.

Having him home this week has made me think about if he were home all the time.  We discussed our options, but decided pretty quickly to keep him in daycare even after I had lost my job.  It's a big expense on our limited budget, but one we feel is worthwhile.  The fact that I wouldn't have to try to meet the needs of two children all day every day definitely played into that decision.

While I'm sure I could have learned to manage having them both home, I do think a lot of the time it would have felt like just: managing.  I don't know that I would have been able to provide both children with engaging and meaningful activities.  Especially during the worst of my post-postpartum days.  Never mind the state our home would have been in.

Additionally, having him home would have shut down any opportunity I had to work.

Something I haven't updated on is that our daycare provider has agreed to take Sprout on an as-needed basis.  We're the only people she has ever done this for.  Because we have this arrangement, I am able to substitute teach and send Sprout in only on the days that I get called.  Though I'm sure we could have figured something out had our daycare provider not agreed to this, I'm glad we didn't have to.  With me working only part time, we cannot not afford to send Sprout to daycare full time, and as things stand right now, I wouldn't really want to.

Last week was the first week I worked.  I got called in on four days (though I turned down one).  Jen's parents were here, so Sprout stayed with them rather than going to daycare, but the next time I get called she will be joining her brother for the day.  I'm concerned about how she'll do there, but I know that she'll be well cared for and that even if it's difficult, she'll be okay.

Looks like tomorrow will be another at-home day for The Bean, so I should probably get going.  I feel like I've just been rambling on, so I hope this post makes some sense to those reading it.  Though I know we've made decisions we feel are right for our family, sometimes it's hard for me not to second-guess ourselves.  2:1 isn't so bad, as long as I can get my afternoon cup of tea!


  1. Hehe. I do 3:1 a lot. But usually our house does get messy.

    Glad you worked out something with the babysitter so you can do some substitute teaching!

    Kids get easier as they get older and can spend more time independently playing. Eventually they'll be playing games together and leaving you to have a little down time, etc. Riley and Jackson can play nicely for over an hour at a time and they are 2 years apart.

    What about switching her to one nap a day? Typically at this age it happens and then you can have them both napping together at the same time.

    I put Quinn in his room some afternoons even if he doesn't nap. He needs some time to himself sometimes.

    1. You totally impress me! 3:1 and you find time to blog and paint and walk the dog. Amazing.

      Sprout really isn't ready for one nap a day yet. Two hours after she wakes up she's tired. If I push her much beyond that she gets really clumsy and grumpy and often is much harder to get to go down. I think we have another few months on our current schedule. Hopefully The Bean is still napping when she switches over so Jen and I can have some down time on the weekends. :)

  2. I still find 2:1 hard sometimes! Mostly because of the bickering. :) Don't feel bad about using a screen for a little while when you need to keep one child fairly quiet so you can get the other to go to sleep... that's a good solution, and it's a short period of time. We used to do the same thing with Erik when Ian was a baby. We also to this day sometimes use the TV try to induce a nap for the whole family! :) You're doing a great job juggling separate nap-times with young kids.

    Really glad to hear you're getting some work in and it's so great that you daycare provider has made special arrangements to allow you to do that.

    I hope the Bean is feeling better. He looks so sick in that picture. :(

  3. oh my! an as-needed daycare arrangement!! what an amazing boon. childcare has been a real struggle for me, part-time. i'm so glad your daycare gave you this opportunity!