I mentioned before how we had a rough first week with Hannah. The fact that I could barely manage just Hannah by myself did not instill confidence in me that I would be able to manage both kids. But obviously Chris couldn’t stay home forever, and I knew that there would be difficult days, but that I would figure out a way to make it work.
During my second day alone with the kids Jayce had an accident on the couch while I was nursing Hannah. Then she cried inconsolably for 25+ minutes while Jayce walked beside me repeatedly asking to go outside. There was another day where both children were extra needy and crying at the same time, and I sat on the couch bouncing one in each arm.
But those two days were the worst (so far), and I have finally figured out something that works for us, particularly when they are both being a bit difficult. I rejected this at first, thinking it would be too hard, but for right now it is perfect. We go outside.
The temperature has been scorching these past few weeks, but our backyard is shaded all morning and afternoon by either the house or the trees depending on the time of day. The large field behind our house ensures that there is always a breeze coming our way.
While we’re outside Jayce plays at his water table. He cooks food and coffee for me, he fills up his squirt gun and squirts various things around the yard and deck, he empties the water and then turns on the hose to fill it up again, or make mud, or spray the deck. Often the neighbor kids come over and participate as well, and it is perfect. He has playmates and I can watch them from just feet away.
Meanwhile, Hannah and I take to the swing. I spread out a blanket, strip her down and lay her out on it. If she has been fussy, the warmth of the air soothes her and the bright sun coaxes her eyes shut. We swing together and she sleeps. If she wakes up, I can spread her across my lap and talk to her, or put her up on my shoulder to make sure that a burp hasn’t gotten in the way of her nap time.
Once Hannah is deep into her nap, I wrap her up in a blanket, take her inside to finish her nap and head back outside to give Jayce my undivided attention. Then we play until lunchtime. If Jayce is fine with me participating from the sidelines, then I’ll keep Hannah outside with us, so that I can enjoy both of my children together.
I have come to really enjoy this time with them. There is something about us all being outside, with no TV or computer around to distract us from being silly and engaging one another. I’ve told Chris that these last few weeks I keep singing “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay,” because I kind of feel like that’s what I’m doing a lot of right now. (The first part anyway, not the rather depressing second and third verses.)
I’m just sitting, watching my kids, enjoying the sun, and loving it.