Well, that time has come again -- the time to rework the daily kid schedule to keep both of these energetic, smart, hell-hacking children occupied and engaged with the world.
Several things have shifted -- Chris has exited the terrible twos, which is a good thing, because he'll be four years old in two months. And as if on cue, Norah is stepping up to fill the tantrum void. She is already doing things like throwing herself on the floor, wailing when you (for example) don't allow her to repeatedly smack on the glass on the front of the goldfish tank at Walmart. She has a lot of energy that needs to be channeled into more than just playing in the house all morning.
It's starting to get more fall-ish, but still too hot for any kind of extended outdoor play, but it won't be long before we can start spending an hour or so on the playground every morning. I think that the kids need early morning activity, then some chill time, then lunch, then more activity, then chill time, then evening. I think I should make it a goal not to have the TV on very often during the daytime.
So, when Chris starts school on Monday, what sorts of activities can Norah and I do, to help her burn energy? I think she might be interested just in holding my hands and walking around stores, or playing on certain parts of playgrounds.
Here is a dilemma -- I love to do messy play with the kids -- flour and water, bubbles, play-dough, all that sort of thing -- but I can't even keep up with cleaning the house when we don't do those things -- how can I do those kinds of activities, which the kids need, without completely trashing my house? And I can't do them outside -- not yet.
I think the answer to many of these dilemmas is the same answer that has been there for a long time, which I have halfheartedly tried to work on, but have not succeeded because I am not putting enough effort into it: Get up earlier. I need to get up at about 5:30 so that I can pray, work, and prepare the day's activities before the beasts begin to awaken at 7:15 or so. Right now I sleep until the very last moment, and then I wake up to a headache, two hungry kids, diapers, clothes, getting Ben off to work (which doesn't require much from me, but occasionally has me searching for a coffee cup of a lost shoe)... the dust doesn't settle until after 9am, and I have to wait until naptime for a minute to myself, so that when naptime doesn't happen, I feel totally off balance for days at a time.
So, self, start getting up early... okay? Did you hear me? Ugh.
This is the mundane daily stuff that takes up some of my brainpower. Parenthood requires constant shifting to keep the balance right. There is sort of a science to it, but when it comes down to it I end up relying on instinct.
Here's to the new school year and new adventures! :)