I’ve always loved weekends (who doesn’t? Nazis, that’s who….) but even more so now that we have a little dude. But before we talk about weekends, I want to talk about how I think about Javi’s world.
To put it very simply, we need to give Javi stability, new experiences, and fun (his definition, not just ours). The second and third are only positive if the first is in place.
Here’s a nerd diagram I keep in my head when I’m deciding what happens when:
So, things like eating food he’s already tried and practicing skills he already knows happen at daycare. They offer the most structure and consistency and give him the independence to figure things out on his own (read: they ignore him better than I do). They also do fun things, like games and songs and silliness.
Trying new things on a small scale, like new foods and new schedules and new toys happens in the mornings and evenings at home. This is also fun! Once we have a handle on those things, we can transition them to daycare. Two days ago we played in the rain on the way to the car to go to daycare; Javi opened his mouth to drink the rain drops and I about died of the cuteness. Yesterday evening we lounged in the yard and ate grass and leaves and stuck our toes in the soil. We try all new foods at home first before deciding whether to send them to school with him. Because even little new things can be scary, I prefer to be around for them. Last night, the wind was a new experience and Javi whined until he was firmly ensconced in my lap, then went back to exploring.
Fun also includes the things he finds fun even if we think they’re a little boring. Eating the remote is fun. Petting the cat is fun. Hanging out in the kitchen is fun. Drinking water out of a glass cup or (egads!) even sometimes a coffee cup is fun. Jumping in the doorway jumper is fun. Playing Daddy Monster and Mama’s Gonna Eat Your Face is fun. Drinking water out of the shower spray is fun. Trying to eat another baby’s hand is fun. Playing peekaboo with the daycare ladies is fun. Waking up from a nap at daycare and seeing mama (surprise!) is fun.
The big new fun happens on weekends. We call them ADVENTURES*. Woo, hoo! Last weekend we went to the zoo where my kid was far more interested in the people-animal watching than the actual-animal watching. This weekend we think we’ll hit the aquarium since the weather will be too yucky for bike riding.
The best part about this thought process is that it removes the guilt from the equation. Just because my child isn’t with me doesn’t mean he isn’t getting something useful and necessary in his life; just because my child is with me doesn’t mean I have to do things just like they do in daycare.
Since he gets a lot of consistency at daycare, I can switch things up for fun and not worry too much about the impact. Worst case, he’ll get back in the rhythm of things on Monday. Some days I’ll pick him up early because the weather’s beautiful and he skips a nap. Other days (like today) he goes in early because mama’s got an eye infection and needs some meds. Weekend adventures often over stimulate him and his sleep schedule goes to hell, but we get through until Monday arrives.
Looking at his life this way gives everyone more freedom to do what they do best… and I’ve never looked forward to Mondays like I do now.
*When my husband was a child, his dad got home from work and spotted him trudging up the driveway with a little sack of “important stuff” and his dog at his side.
“Where ya going?” his dad asked.
“We’re going on an adVENture!” he replied.
“Where to?” his dad asked.
“Don’t know! Got any ideas?”
In keeping with that tradition, we call almost anything new an adventure, which has the lovely side effect of making even the most arduous and exhausting of experiences more fun, somehow.