Friday, January 23, 2009

resolutions reporting

Abigail, eight months old. Fat, squishy, and utterly kissable.

One of my goals in the ever-ongoing quest to be a better wife/mother/person has been to spend more time playing with the girls. I'll be honest with you, I have a hard time just sitting there and playing with toys. This is probably a hangover from Abigail's first year, where I would settle her in the hall of the Clyde building with a diaper bag's worth of toys and frantically grade between classes. Or from writing my master's thesis with a chubby-cheeked kid momentarily entertained by a pile of blocks--how many more lines can I write before she gets bored? Faster, faster! What I'm trying to say, I suppose, is that I began parenthood by survival-style multitasking, and it's been hard to break the habit. So when I'm sitting there next to the Fisher Price extravaganza, I'm generally returning phone calls, surreptitiously reorganizing toys, folding clothes, or the like.

To be fair to myself, I do read lots and lots of stories, plan fun outings, go on walks/bike rides, etc. where they have my full attention, but I've really felt that I need to spend more time just being with them, if that makes sense. Playing the "let's be Cinderella and mop the floor" game can only take you so far on the quality time guilt scale. Same thing with making dinner together and things like that--I want to have time with them where the only thing I'm accomplishing is just being with them.

So my newly-rewritten daily to-do list (encased in plastic on the 'fridge so that I can cross things off every day and then wipe it clean at the end of every week) includes this entry, "30 minutes of 'floor time' with the girls." Full, undivided attention. No phone calls. No picking up or reorganizing (and no stories, because we have a seperate time set apart for that every day).

It's been interesting to see the results. Less guilt on my part, better tempers all around. And I've been learning the most fascinating things by just sitting there playing with them (for instance, Abigail's preferred radio station is NPR--she loves the classical composers. Good girl! And her dolls speak French.) And it's so nice to know that even though it seems like I spent the morning bouncing back and forth between the kids and the routine chores, a good solid chunk was spent simply sitting there with them, enjoying their sunshiny little faces and imaginative minds.


Anonymous said...

You are such a thoughtful mom! Such a sweet post. That picture of Juliet is too adorable! Hugs to all of you! Love, Aunt Pam

Heatherbelle said...

Gee, I have the opposite problem. I spend so much time playing with Miles(not exactly by choice; he is one attention-demanding toddler!)that I get to the end of the day and feel like I have hardly accomplished anything!

Crapos said...

Go You! I have a hard time with that too. It's boring, honestly, to play with toys a lot of the time and I have a hard time sitting still. My to-do list is always tugging at the back of my mind. Maybe I'll try to do better too.

Kritta22 said...

Once again, I think you are the best mom out there!

beapinkal said...

THANKS for this post! I have a hard time too sitting and playing with the same toys over and over again. But yeah-our kids need a little time when we're there just for playing.

Becca said...

Don't be so hard on yourself. You are an amazing Mom. I seriously don't know how you do everything you do. And just b/c you're accomplishing something while you're spending time with your girls doesn't mean it's not quality time. But I do agree that it can be hard to have that "floor time." The minutes can go so slow. I like board games with the kids! I recommend Jenga, pick-up sticks (be careful not to get your eye pocked out), Buck-a-roo, Hulabaloo, and good ol' Candy Land.

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