Sunday, April 18, 2010
I have great admiration for people who stay at home with babies. I couldn’t do it. I would go mad. I think it’s the constant need to attend to another, without any thanks or gratitude, and with great difficulty in being able to schedule things – like sleep or trips to the store.
But now, all of a sudden, staying home with River doesn’t sound so bad. I would still need a creative outlet and time to pursue that. However, the days would not be long and dreary as before. Now, it’s quite possible they could be fun.
Yesterday was supposed to be family day, but Mark bagged out, needing more personal time. So it was a mommy and River day. And we had a blast. We started out with a 14-mile bike ride. We rode with a group of people that included a 76 year old man, so we took it slow. We spent over three hours enroute, in chilly, windy weather. For the last half of the ride, River had a metal water bottle wedged behind him (which I didn’t realize at the time). Yet he didn’t emit a single complaint, until we were less than a mile from our destination, when he asked to get down. I asked him to wait for one more mile and he did. We identified turtles, ducks, geese and birds, noted flowers, trees and grasses, commented on the canoeists, bikers, runners, walkers and crew regattas. We enjoyed nature, company and exercise together.
Then we joined the bicycle group for a luncheon. River was the youngest person in the room by decades. We both enjoyed a feast, and we both chatted with the others from our ride – a couple of people in their 60s.
From there we headed home. While River napped for over two hours, I got some things done. Mark dressed him and I took him in the car once again – this time to meet friends at an Indian restaurant. They seated us in the back room, where the boys could play. These were the parents of Samuel, River’s best friend. River was so excited to see him, he danced in excitement in advance and sang in the car. When he gave Samuel a hug, it was so intense they both fell to the ground.
My friends brought a great bottle of wine and we enjoyed samosas, naan, spicy shrimp, chicken and goat while the kids largely entertained themselves with a couple of cars.
We stopped at the grocery store on the way home, came home, River went to bed, and the day was over. I had a blast. I didn’t have to change any diapers. I didn’t have to make many special accommodations for him – beyond carrying around his potty and coming home for a nap in the afternoon. I was able to get exercise, socialize, do errands, get stuff done, and really have a fun time with my child. Suddenly, it’s so much easier.
While I want a substantial leave and a flextime work schedule during the first year or so, it’s more in order to breastfeed and in order to not overload myself than it is a desire to spend a lot of time doing childcare. But from this point, 28 months or a bit earlier, I wouldn’t mind spending more time with him. We have a great time together, and I hope we’re creating some early memories, or at least good feelings that will lodge somewhere deep inside him.