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Question of the Week - What Can You Do Now?

Before the 3.5 period of disequilibrium gets any worse, I want to write something good about my girl's age! And also the 15 month age of my son, before any disequilibrium strikes!

The caramama family had such a great weekend this weekend (for the most part). Saturday was an especially good day. The four of us had a lovely morning, playing around and cleaning up and setting up for a card game. Then some of Londo's college buddies came over, some with wives and kids.

You see, before kids, we all got together for cards once a month, usually at our house or my husband's BFF's house. We were the first of this group to have a kid, and since the Pumpkin's birth, the regularity of the games had gone way down. But now that other people are having kids, and now that our kids are getting older and a bit more self-sustainable, we are hoping to get back into having regular games.

Mostly, the wives/girlfriends don't play, and that was true before any had kids. One other female college friend and myself are usually the only women playing. And that's been a struggle for Londo and I over the past few years, because one of us either can't go or we take turns watching the kid(s). More often, it was me not going or not playing cards, because this is Londo's group of college friends, although I knew them at college. I would insist that Londo either play the whole time or at least most of the time, because it's an outlet that he really enjoys. Plus I'd be leaving to nurse the babies and try to get them to nap and whatnot.

Anyway, my point is that the games were tough to do over the last 3.5 years.

This past Saturday, we had the game at our house. It is a kid-friendly house, so wives came and a couple other babies came. After everyone got settled in, I put the Pookie down for his nap. At that time, I went with a couple other women on a walk with the Pumpkin and one of the babies. After the walk, it was time for the Pumpkin to have a rest (of course not nap), and so she sat on the couch watching a show while the ladies played with the baby.

And I went and played cards!

As the day continued on, both my kids were in and out of the dining room where the game was, often sitting with us, playing or eating. At one point, the Pumpkin went up to her room and brought down her dress up stuff. She and her brother then played with the dresses, shoes, beaded necklaces, feather boas, etc. at the edge of the dining room while Londo and I gave help here and there and continued playing.

It was really neat! This is how life continues once you are out of the baby stage! This is how you incorporate the kids into your lives as adults! Now that our kids are old enough, we can now get together with our friends and continue to enjoy grown-up activities while they play together and play around us!

So this week's question of the week is:

What can you do now that your kids are the age they are now?

Now that the Pookie is over a year, has been weaned and doesn't even need milk to go to bed, Londo and I take turns putting him to bed. This is such a relief for me. When I put the Pumpkin to bed, I no longer am putting them both to bed (unless Londo is working late or out of town). And a couple of times, Londo has put them both to bed! Not only is this a relief in general, but it also means that I can go away for an upcoming weekend with a girlfriend and possibly my sister!

As for the Pumpkin, she's just capable of so much now. But my favorite? Over the last few months, I've been able to do an amazing thing: Take a nap while my daughter is with me!

Now, let me break this down for you all. Let's say it's just me watching the kids, solo parenting. It's the weekend, and I'm tired. I put the Pookie down for his nap, and he's going to be out for 1.5 hours or more. Ideally, this is the time my daughter, who is NOT going to nap, should be resting. So I put on a TV show, something she hasn't seen a million times so it will actually hold her interest. Maybe I also set her down at the table with puzzles or with those markers that only color on the special paper.

And then? I lie down on the couch and take a little nap! My daughter even pulls up the blanket over me and gives me a kiss. She may wake me up between shows to tell me that one is over or which the next one is, but she generally lets me sleep.

It. Is. Awesome!

This is not something I could really do before. But now that she is old enough to understand what's going on, now that she doesn't need constant attention, now that she does fine playing or watching a show on her own, now that she is used to being around a bunch of kids napping while she stays awake, my taking a nap during the day around her is possible!

What about you guys? What are you able to do now that you couldn't do before? Are you able to do any pre-kid activities? Are your kids a little more self-sufficient? Can you sneak a nap in or hand over a bedtime? What's great about your kids' ages?


Melba said…
I've got a few things, but because of Annie's age I know they'll end as soon as she's a toddler but for now these are great things...

I have a big family and we like to have big family dinners at our house. Annie's bed time is 7:00, so we usually feed her first, put her to bed, and then eat our big meal. My niece and nephew are 2.5 and almost-5, and they eat with my 3 year old Rosie at a kids table in the kitchen, out of sight from the adults at the dining room table. We just load up their plates and then DON'T WATCH them eat / not eat / goof off. There are NO KIDS at the adult table. It's an adult dinner and its absolutely glorious. I can't tell you how much my sister and I love this. We don't even care what the three kids are doing in the kitchen. Because we don't KNOW what they're doing. :)

And like you, I can also sleep while Rosie's awake. I don't nap in the afternoons (keeps me up all night) but there are those rare blissful mornings that Annie sleeps in a bit, and I can send Rosie into the upstairs family room (not far from my bedroom) to watch tv and play while I snooze until Annie wakes up. There have been mornings where I've been able to snooze for 1/2 an hour to an hour! Wonderful.

And one more. Rosie is finally getting better at independent play. Until recently, she needed constant entertainment and assisted play from me. Which meant that during Annie's naps, I still didn't get a break. Now I do. In fact, Annie is napping right now, and Rosie is happily playing with her farm set. I get to have a cup of coffee and read my favorite blogs in peace. Ahhh.
paola said…
Plane travel is the main one - pulled off two 21 hour PLUS trips (one of which was actually 38. gruelling. hours. due to engine trouble which left us missing our connection and stranded in Abu Dhabi). I still can't believe the 3.9 month old actually slept like a baby most of the trip.

Sleep in ( kind of ) Kids don't actually come into our room once they wake up now. They play in their room or the kitchen or go down to their nonna's( we share a house so they don't need to cross a highway or anything). We have even managed to have sex once or twice uninterrupted, which is a bonus.
caramama said…
@Melba - I love the kids table for family dinners! We did that at my Grandmother's house when I was growing up. We will definitely have to start doing that soon for our big family get togethers. Usually, we either try to get even the kids in my parent's dining room or a couple of parents stay at the kitchen table with the kids. I think once the babies/toddlers are a little older, it will go more smoothly.

@paola - I'm pretty sure you meant 3.9 YEAR old, not month old. And that is awesome! I also love that your kids aren't coming in your room when they wake up. I know we'll get there someday, but that day is not yet for us. You enjoy that uninterrupted sex!
Cloud said…
Eat out more. Pumpkin is finally reasonably reliable in terms of behavior and Petunia is so easy going that she's not a problem- just give her a graham cracker whenever she wants one and we can actually have a pretty nice dinner out. At a kid-friendly restaurant, of course- no five star dining is in our future anytime soon!
Charisse said…
Take long walks! And have a little bit of intellectual time to myself in the evening. Because Mouse is good for 4 or 5 miles now, and can read an actual book that she enjoys, to herself. W00T!!!!

Also, go out the door without any stuff (that's been true for a while) and eat in nicer and nicer restaurants. I love 6.
mom2boy said…
Stay awake after he goes to bed. I watched a whole hour of tv last night after I put Tate to bed (35 minutes from first story to lights out to sleep!). I could and maybe should have done any number of chores but what I wanted to do was sit down and watch an adult tv show. So I did.
Susan said…
Take a shower! I mean, take a shower while my 35 month old son plays by himself in the apartment. I leave the bathroom door open, tell him I'll be in the bathroom if he needs me, and let him play. There has never been a problem.

Other stuff too: like read something light (magazine, newspaper), while he plays in the living room and I sit on the couch.

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