My two-year-old has long since learned to unlock deadbolts. I discovered this one morning when I got out of a prolonged bath to find my neighbor, Shirley, standing on my front porch with Liesl. Turns out, Liesl had taken her stuffed elephant, Mimi, on a walk with her Mimi-sized stroller. In her nightgown. With bare feet. And yes, Shirley found her walking in the middle of the road. *Sigh* Thank heavens for kind, watchful neighbors.
Needless to say, I no longer take baths while the kids are awake.
Alone time is difficult to come by the older children grow. Liesl is now over two years and a half years old. She definitely doesn't need a nap any more, and in lieu of the afternoon nap, she gets to watch a movie while her baby sister sleeps. If the movie's entertaining enough, Liesl only comes to pester me once for cheese and grapes, her favorite snack. But if it's not, I end up with a toddler climbing all over me trying to poke at the screen or the keys or "make" my hair, and nothing can convince her to stay planted before the tv. Better she pester me, though, than have her wake her sister an hour before naptime ends.
Like most people I polled, I almost always spend my free time on the computer. Even though I don't work from home, I find myself spending more time in the office than I do even in the kitchen. The last month, I spent at least half my days doing online research in preparation for buying a car. At the end of many of those days, I couldn't remember whether or not I'd made my baby laugh or read a story to Liesl.
As I spend my time blog-stalking, writing, reading the Drudge, or, recently, researching minivans, my daughters have been left to their own devices. How many messes (you can use your imagination) have I cleaned up merely because I wanted just one more minute reading or blogging? And what about the sweet pleas, "Should we read anudder story, mama"? will I ignore them just so I can read about Timothy Geithner? What's more important, anyway?
So while I struggle with my lost alone time, what have you done? How have you balanced children and those little self-indulgent activities?
Or for those of you who selected another option on the poll, what do you do to "neglect" your children?
What kind of activities give you a few more precious minutes to yourself?
What does your child do during quiet time?
I suppose this post isn't so much about sharing advice as it is about sharing stories. I presume most of us feel pretty guilty about these times we put our children on the backburner. I feel that I should spend time with my children every day, but I also feel it's unneccesary to spend every second with them. What do you think?