Today, it occurred to me that in just 1 1/2 months, I will be working full-time. I have been on Maternity/Parental leave since May 12th and as of January 5th, I will be joining the millions of other moms that were once in my shoes, making the decision to re-enter the workforce. It was a very tough decision for me to go to work full-time when my daughter will be just 8 months old. However, I was FINALLY offered a full-time teaching position assisting in a kindergarten room at a private school. Teaching is such a passion of mine and I feel that it is one of the things I was put on this earth to do. So, after much debate, tears, guilt, excitement and nervousness, I decided it was the right move to take the job. Since I made my decision, I have been frantically cleaning and organizing our home, going on more family outings, but more importantly, I have been spending more quality time with my munchkin.
I know what you are thinking, I currently stay at home and am with my daughter 24/7, how is that not quality time? Or, what do I mean by quality time? Well, my idea of quality time is being completely enthralled in one another; where nothing else around you matters and where you can have fun and enjoy each other’s company completely. Where cleaning and laundry can wait and when you feel like dinner can just make itself. These are some of my favourite moments of the day, where baby and you have so much fun and you laugh and you really get a sense of your baby and their little personality. Spending quality time together doesn’t need to take an hour or longer and you don’t need to set aside half a day to prepare but rather, can be done in just minutes 🙂
This is my FAVOURITE!!! I love finger painting and after today, I discovered Memphis does too. I decided to paint on the kitchen floor because it is easy to clean and is near the bathroom so it is convenient for a quick bath afterwards. We made our own paints using 2 Tablespoons of sugar, 1/3 cup of flour and 2 cups of water. Put all ingredients into a saucepan and stir using a whisk on medium heat until the mixture becomes similar to a paint like thickness. Pour mixture into different dishes and use food colouring to mix your colours. Let mixture cool or use the freezer to help quicken up the cooling (I did this because I don’t have the greatest of patients lol), and start painting. I had an extra canvas so I let her paint of that but you could use any type of paper you have. We had a blast! She used her entire body as a paintbrush. We were both covered in paint and in the end, we ended up with a pretty cool art piece to hang in her room.
Taking a Bath Together
I just discovered this today (post-painting). She LOVES the bathtub. Generally, we give her baths in her little baby tub but today opened up a whole new fun way for her to have a bath. We splashed and kicked and she chewed on her cloths and we played with different toys. She was smiling and laughing and had so much fun. When she was a newborn, i would often lie/sit with her skin-to-skin, but since she was about 3 moths old, we have been doing it less often and so this was a really nice substitution.
Reading to Baby
Everyone knows the benefits of reading to a baby and why it is important which is why I do it so often. Another reason is because it offers a great opportunity for us to have quality time. Once a week, we go to the library and pick out a bunch of different books to read at home. This breaks up the repetitiveness of always reading the same books on her bookshelf and it acts like a little adventure outing for us. I know she’s only 5 1/2 months old, but I let her pick out most of the books by browsing what the library has on display and whichever one she touches- that’s the one we go with. We often read at night before bed, cuddled up on the couch all comfy in her pjs and under a blanket. I take my time reading the book adding in different voices or noises where necessary. I also point out different objects as we read so she begins to learn associations between words and pictures. We usually read 2 books per night and it really relaxes her, setting her up perfectly for bedtime.
It has become a custom in our home to have music playing when we are busy in the kitchen making dinner. As I chop away, Memphis is in her chair in the corner of the kitchen playing with her toys and chewing and drooling on everything. As a huge Elvis Presley fan, my station of choice is the Elvis station, which plays lots of Elvis and other classic artists such as Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly etc. I have often been known to throw on the ‘Dirty Dancing’ or ‘Footloose’ LP as well 🙂 Before long, I have Memphis is my arms and we are dancing around the kitchen. She loves to dance and laughs and smiles as I twirl her around and rock her back and forth. When a good power ballad-comes on, we each have our microphones (silicone basting brushes) and we take turns singing and ‘cooing’. Dinner time at the ‘HJ’ household is definitely entertaining and it generally takes way longer to make anything but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We have gotten into a pretty normal routine when we wake up in the morning. Bum change, turn the coffee pot on, bottle, momma gets a coffee and then we have cuddle time. For about half an hour every morning we snuggle on the couch side-by-side, playing with toys, giving her lots of kisses and tickling her until I hear that adorable little laugh.
These are just some of the things you can do with baby. I’m sure there are a million others that you can do but these are just some of the ones that I have done. After I do any of these with her, I feel immediately calmed and relaxed and I have a huge smile on my face because even for just a few minutes, I know we spent some good, quality time together 🙂