Boogers, cookie crumbs and crawling. That was my week.
Imagine spending eight hours a day for five days in a small room with 2-4 children, all four years old or under. Now imagine it with no ability to get internet.
It’s not an ideal way to spend a week, but I knew for months it was coming. My wife was running a blogging workshop with several adults, and a couple of those adults had children who were coming. In all, six children, two of which needed no supervision (10 and 13 years old respectively) and in fact, helped out occasionally when Cole would want to go outside to play. The rest of the kids were 4 years old or under.
The days started tranquilo. Ish.
The aftermath. Casualties – 1.
Everyone attending seemed impressed that I pulled it off. I’m not sure what they think I was doing in there. One person said I should go into day care. Another insisted I should be charging for the service.
Just so we’re clear: no reputable institution would give me accreditation for child care. In war terminology, this was child care triage – doing the bare minimum possible to keep children alive and not screaming.
What’s involved in child care triage?
Feeding: We are talking easy, messy, crumbly things here. Cookies, crackers, bread. For hydration it was water or milk, and occasionally Stella needed a bottle. I didn’t even make the formula bottles for the other infant. Junk food won the week, I think it was easier for all the kids to hang out in such a small space with all sorts of food debris they could easily grab and shove into their mouths.
Literally the only time both of these kids were hungry at the same time.
Holding: You don’t realize just how heavy your baby has become until a younger, lighter baby comes into your life. The other baby in the group was a big fan of mine fairly quickly, which was a lot of fun because holding him (and occasionally tossing him around if it entertained him) made me feel like some sort of super hero. Stella would want in on the action eventually, and we would hang out and flirt with our reflections in the bathroom mirror. This was the hardest physical part of my week.
Playing: The only one who really wanted play time was Cole, and he only wanted to play with his legos, which was great! Because there was a baby who would put pretty much everything it could into his mouth. This created a natural excuse for why we couldn’t play with legos for very long. “Sorry dude, the baby is going to eat all your legos.”
Sorry, no Legos for you. Only all of these other potential choking hazards.
Viewing: We watched a lot of movies. I learned quickly that if Frozen started playing, I went from watching four children to watching three. Frozen essentially “froze” the three year old in her place for 90 minute chunks. WONDERFUL.
I’m happy that everyone was impressed with my handiwork. As an externally motivated guy, I soak up praise like a sponge and transform that praise into the need for even more praise. Still, I don’t think I am particularly deserving of heaps of credit for my week in the small room.
Now, if you want to praise the fact that in the margins of each day I kept the apartment reasonably clean, I’ll take it. That’s not at all in my wheelhouse, as illustrated in the below venn diagram:
THE END. Until the next child care triage event, at least.