My biggest fear has been interrupting Sophie’s naps. While I know that my daily life cannot be totally controlled by this, after all those unsettled months we experienced, sleep time has become so precious that I hate to disrupt it. As my wise friend Jane advised me, ‘this is a time for being, not a time for doing’ and to date, I have been strongly adhering to her advice. Consequently, most of our outings have been brief ones, popping to the grocery store to get a handful of items or to feed the ducks at the park down the road. Grace doesn’t seem to mind our latest pattern of quieter, simpler days at home. In fact, she adores just pottering around in the yard more than anything. However, I feel that it is time for us to get back into the swing of short morning outings for her sake, especially seeing as I want to make her last year at home full time, before she starts kindergarten next year, a memorable one.
So, I’ve come to a compromise. While I never spent all day every day out and about pre-Sophie anyway, Grace and I did tend to have regular morning outings. I’ve decided now to alternate these with days spent at home. Two or three mornings will be outings such as going for a babycino, dropping by the library or visiting friends for play-dates. I am also thinking of taking Grace to a little dance class nearby or to swimming lessons so she can start socialising a bit more with children her own age. The remaining two or three mornings will be spent at home and during this time, I am setting aside special one on one time for my big girl. In the morning while Sophie has her first nap of the day, Grace and I have been doing a fun activity together like painting or baking, something out of the ordinary that involves something other than her usual playtime activities. It is nice to have time for just the two of us and I feel better doing something constructive with her that she enjoys. As for the afternoons, we do another activity together, usually outdoors when it has cooled down a bit. Or, if we’ve had a morning at home, we might head down to the park for a play. The rest of our days are taken up with meal times, chores and of course, free play.
A few weeks back, one of our outings was a visit to the Pickled Fairy in Fremantle, somewhere I had promised to take Grace to many moons ago. I let her wear her fairy costume as a special treat. We stopped at a café on the Cappuccino Strip and perched ourselves on the stools along the window where we enjoyed our babycino and cup of tea and played ‘Spotto’ as the traffic passed by. Then we headed to the fairy shop. Grace was in awe. Every corner of every wall and every inch of ceiling space was covered in fairies and butterflies and other such prettiness. We spent some time looking at all the cute things for sale, put a coin in the wishing well, did some colouring in at the fairy table and chose something to buy with the few dollars I let Grace have (she chose a three dollar fairy figurine). Miraculously Sophie fell asleep in the pram and while her nap was shorter than it normally would be at home in her cot, it was manageable.
One day last week, for a morning at home activity, we made fairy bread with cookie cutters. Grace enjoyed punching out stars and butterflies and was excited to be allowed to use a knife for the first time to spread the butter onto the bread. A simple activity, but something that I know Grace loved doing.
Gradually, I realise our current routine will probably change again as Sophie’s gets older and as the weather starts to become chillier. For now though, this feels right and I am happy that we have a rhythm to our days, one that suits all of us in our little household.