when cruz was a year old (london’s age now (i know, right? she was born like five minutes ago)), working from home was a breeze for me. after breakfast i would take him to the backyard for “outdoors time,” and he would crawl around after the dog, grab sticks, or gaze at passing airplanes until naptime. he was so so happy out there doing his thing. i would take my laptop outside and sit at the table chatting to him while i worked. it was idyllic and i didn’t even know it.
then came london, my sweet london. look, she is the world’s easiest baby as long as she’s with you. she’s not introverted, let’s just say. she doesn’t respond well to mommy ideas like independent play time. do you remember how cruz would (still does) wake up early in the morning and then play happily in his crib until we came to get him? this has never happened with london. london only likes to be with people. the bumper in her crib has a permanent fold in it because the moment she wakes up, she crawls to the corner of her bed closest to the door, scrunches the bumper down so that she can monitor the door, and hollers until we scoop her up. the baby gesture that she mastered first? blowing kisses and arms straight up to be held. let me say this again, she is happy and easy beyond any baby i could have ever dreamed up, but an introvert she is not.
this makes working from home a challenge.
in a perfect world, i wouldn’t work too often around the kids, but it’s not a perfect world and i often need to get work done while the kids are up and about. cruz wants my one-on-one attention more than he used to, but i don’t mind letting him play a game on the ipad or watching a little curious george while i finish up some work. obviously london is too young for this and has no patience for her jumparoo or other independent play time encouraging activities. the best i’ve been able to do is put her in the high chair (this makes me feel guilty most of the time because she’ll lay her head down on the tray so that she can see me under the kitchen table, and then through the living room to my desk).
my new friend kelly is both wise and beautiful. we were at the park the other week talking about the differences between our kids, and when i mentioned this difference between london and cruz, she gave me great advice: fill her up first.
fill her up with lots of face-to-face time and play and kisses and snuggles, and she’ll be more likely to play by herself later on in the day. cruz has the same needs, but he doesn’t need that kind of togetherness before he plays independently.
in such a simple way, it has totally reframed my mornings and made it much easier to work while london’s awake. the kids get as much of my attention as possible, from the time they wake up until london takes her morning nap. we do lots of snuggles in bed, books, breakfast, a craft, singing. i very, very intentionally fill them up (and tovi too, if he’s home that morning). while london’s napping, i work and cruz does something specific (usually two episodes of curious george). we’re all better for our new rhythm (and especially grateful to have wise friends!).