Thursday, April 2, 2009

What do you do all day?

A friend, who doesn't have children, asked me the other day how I spent my days and I have to say I was at a bit of a loss for an answer. And, it is not as though I do nothing, it is just that what I do do is so prosaic that it is hard to put into words. And it is funny, most people don't ask you what you do all day when you have a job and that can be just as hard to articulate. I guess for me, having a baby means that your work is now spread out (not necessarily evenly) over a twenty-four hour period whereas if you are working your work is 9 to 5 and you might fit in a bit of housework on the weekend. I think that the K-man thinks I don't do much at work as I tend to work at a desk and a computer whereas his work is more physical and tangible. I know, however, that he is a bit more aware that being at home with a baby is work. He certainly hasn't dared to ask me what I do all day, or demand I get on with the housework etc.

So, what do I do all day? Well in any 24 hour period there can be between 6 to 10 breastfeeds. That takes some time. Then there is the settling and the putting to bed. Certainly in the early days I felt as though I was always putting Chet to bed and it is definitely one of the things that I find a bit tedious - it happens at least three times a day and doesn't always work on the first go so a fair amount of time is spent rocking and wrapping and replacing the dummy. And now Chet is on solids (stupid word really, it certainly doesn't mean the food which is mush, perhaps it is referring to the output which is certainly more 'solid') there are two meals a day, working up to three. Plus there is the making of the food, freezing mushy leftovers into ice cube trays and putting it in little plastic containers. I quite like doing this, but it also takes time.

Then, there seems to be quite a lot of buckling - not to mention buckling under the strain at times. Buckling him into his chair so he doesn't rock himself out of it and do himself a damage, buckling him into his car seat and then unbuckling him at the other end. Buckling him into his pram or his stroller and unbuckling him several times during that particular expedition ... and on it goes.

And of course, the perennial nappy changes which I don't actually mind but they can take up some time, especially if he decides to wee on you while you are in the middle of it. Hmm, then there seems to be a lot of rubbish to take out and endless loads of washing (and I don't even have a chucker) and other bits of housework. And because you are home all day there is plenty of time to notice how dirty the house is and to dirty it some more. The K-man likes to leave crumbs about the place, the Minx leaves cat fur everywhere and don't get me started on the dust.

In between these chores I like to play with my baby, take him for walks, talk to him and read to him. Oh and sleep needs to be slotted in somehow as well.

Not that I am complaining mind, I quite like being at home and being able to potter about and go shopping during the day when it isn't crowded and to walk slowly and look at other people's gardens. And getting out and about with a baby is fun - people stop and talk to Chet and he grins madly at them. A couple of weeks ago an old man gave me some wild flowers he had picked down by the old freight train line and stood and admired Chet for a while. I feel more engaged with my local neighbourhood and life feels as though it is progressing at a more leisurely pace. It is like a brief time out from the world of work and catching trains and rushing about. In fact, I would have to say I am quite enjoying it.

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