The older two are out until 3 pm every day, so for most of the day it's just me and Baby M. Although now that he is nearing his second birthday, I am afraid I will have to drop the "Baby" as we are definitely into toddlerhood by now. This toddler-ness expresses itself in many ways including but not limited to stubbornness, insistence on doing everything "myself", running off at every opportunity and an ever exploding supply of words. Latest phrase:" Y bus coming soon."
At the beginning of the year I was a little worried what we would do all day. He was too young for a preschool program but old enough that he needed to be entertained. Or so I thought. I am not a fan of $40$ a session music or dance classes for kids that are this little, or any kids for that matter. But I was able to get a few free and/or discounted trial classes and we checked out a few different programs. M was not too impressed. It took him a while to warm up and he was usually ready to leave by the 30 minute mark, a fact he conveyed to me by finding his shoes and walking to the stroller.
So we have come up with a new plan. After we drop A off at school at 9, we do some quick errands and then go home. He watches videos for 45 minutes while I check my email, do chores or make phone calls. Then we play a bit until 11 when he takes a nap. He usually wakes up at 1and has lunch. That usually does not leave us much time until A's pick-up at 3. But I try to make it interesting for him- sometimes we will go to the Children's Museum or the Libray. Sometimes I just take him to CVS or Michael's but still try to make it interesting for him.
Yesterday I let him sit on a toy car outside a store on Broadway for 10 minutes and then we walked the 4 blocks to A's school at a toddler pace, which took 15 minutes. But I had the time to do it and let him have fun and I felt good that I had the flexibility to do so, to not always be running, running- although some days of course I am running and trying to do a million things at once.
Of course, every day is a bit different- Monday I take the morning off and M hangs out with a sitter, Thursday I cook for shabbos, etc. But all in all it is good to see that kids don't always need bells and whistles and non-stop entertainment. Often it is good enough to just spend some time with Mommy- banging around blocks or trucks, watching me cook and of course lots and lots of tickles, hugs and kisses.
Have a great shabbos!