Saturday, August 10, 2013

Unstructured days

In our two months here, we've spent a fair bit of time unpacking, setting up life, being tourists, and hosting guests. But a good number of my days with Jackson are fairly unstructured. We go with the flow of Jackson's interests, whether that's taking a walk or heading to the park. There are some regular events everyday -- wake-up, lunchtime, naptime, bedtime -- but the exact timing is always fudgeable. For example, he usually rises around 7:30, give or take half an hour. We eat lunch anywhere between 11:30 and 2:00. I aim for naptime around 1:00, but it's frequently nearer to 1:30. He typically naps for two to three hours. (He's a darn good napper.) Dinnertime varies. And we like to say his bedtime is 8:30ish, but since we've been in Scotland it has been closer to 9:30.  It's more of a quasi-schedule, perhaps a suggested schedule, than a rigid Benedictine-like rule.

Here is how Jack and I spent Thursday:

7:00 am  I wake up, shower, get dressed
7:45        Jack wakes up
8:30ish   Everyone eats breakfast.  Jack consumes two scrambled eggs, one piece of toast,
               pineapple, mango, and milk.  Jack eats more than I eat.
9:10        Jack, Mattie, and I walk Kate to work.  Her walk to work takes around 15 minutes at
               a normal pace, but when accompanied by Mattie, with stops for sniffing and
               meandering, it takes about 20.
9:30        Jack, Mattie, and I examine a bulldozer on campus
9:35        Jack, Mattie, and I walk back, past our house, to watch construction
9:55        Watch diggers, forklifts, dump trucks, and concrete mixer

Jack would prefer to be much closer, preferably touching the vehicles while they work.
10:05        Construction workers go on break, Jack deploys large puppy dog eyes and asks,
                 "We go swing, Daddy?", then looks longingly at nearby playground
10:06        Play at playground, Mattie deploys large puppy dog eyes and asks, "Woof?",
                 then looks longingly to come into playground and knock kids over with tail,
                 sighs and harrumphs while sitting
10:45        Return to construction site. Nice man in forklift waves to Jack, as he does every
                 time we visit.
11:00ish    Walk home
11:15        Drive to get Jack a haircut
11:30        Girls at barbershop dote on Jack, plying him with his first taste (i.e., dozens) of
                 Gummi Bears (which have a different name here). Jack sees no reason to leave
                 after completion of haircut.
11:55        Jack holds my hand while he walks Sumo-style down the sidewalk toward the
                 car, obstructing passersby
12:00 pm  Drive home
12:15        Play with trucks and trucks and more trucks

Trucks go with us nearly everywhere. This mischievous smile was replaced seconds later with a rather different face when I took the truck and put it on the floor while we drove.
12:40      Immediately after declaring "No lunch!!!", Jack eats lunch of leftover pasta
               and baked beans, but mostly devours grapes and mango and blackberries
               (motto: if fruit is available, why eat anything else?)
1:05        Coloring
1:08        Play with trucks again
1:15        Go up to read books before naptime
1:30ish   Jack lies in crib, stalling by saying, "Daddy stay one more minute?"
1:40ish   Jack babbles in crib while I wander house with monitor and clean up messes
1:50ish   Silence from baby monitor, blessed silence
1:52        Jack suddenly yells, "Shoo fly, don't bother me!", atonally reciting his most
               recent favorite song lyric
1:53        Silence from baby monitor, blessed silence
2:15        Emails/news scouring/reading/writing time
4:30ish   Jackson rises
4:35        Play with Duplo legos

Looks just like the picture on the box, right?
4:45        Go outside to playground near house
5:20        Come inside to "play Grammar's iPad"
5:30        "Mommy's coming home. Want to go meet her?"  "No."
5:35        Daddy carries "urnge" (i.e., "orange") dump truck while Jackson carries
               monster truck down the sidewalk to find Mommy
5:40        Spot mommy up ahead!
5:40        No kiss, no hug, grow bored of mommy
5:40        "Daddy, carry this."
5:42        Arrive home, Jack goes into wildman mode, toys everywhere
6:15ish    Eat dinner of pork chops, potatoes, and peas.  Also watch an old Muppets
                episode, Jack loses interest after 15 minutes or so.
6:45ish    Play time
6:50ish    Jack arranges multitude of vehicles in a row across deck, berates Mattie for
                daring to sniff them
6:53ish    While walking by the coffee table, Jack grabs Grammar's wine glass and takes
                a sip of red wine, then smiles when scolded
7:10ish    Go outside to playground near house
7:45ish    Watch elementary school-age neighborhood kids make a bad music video on
                a phone camera
8:00ish    Watch neighborhood kids dance "Gangnam Style!" without any accurate
                dance moves

Gangnam Style, obviously.
8:15        Go inside, Jack announces "No bed!"
8:45ish    Jack heads upstairs with mommy to read before bedtime
9:20ish    Jack babbles in crib after Kate comes down to watch an episode of
               Downton Abbey (we're behind the times)
9:35ish    Silence from baby monitor, blessed silence
9:36        Watch first episode of House of Cards (we're behind the times)
10:40ish  Watch an episode of Downton Abbey
11:30ish  Go up to bed

Some days we spend lots more time with Duplos; or coloring; or taking long and/or multiple walks (Friday was 2+ hours of walking/construction site/playground/walking); or playing educational apps on Grammar's iPad. I'm not much of a doer of arts and crafts, but I think I need to bite the bullet and occasionally get crafty for Jack's sake.

Learning rudimentary physics...okay, not really...on Grammar's iPad.
Other days we go to museums (e.g., Kelvingrove last week, the science museum two weeks ago) or touristing. What I think Jack misses most from home -- besides his Nana and Grandpa Bill -- is having a regular set of "buddies" from daycare and our friends' kids. Two year olds don't generally play with other kids, but they sometimes enjoy playing nearby other kids. {Ed.'s note:  experts call this "parallel play," blah blah blah.} Here, Jackson encounters some kids at various parks, but it's an ever-rotating cast of characters and not always reliable. While he can quickly be "friends" with another wee one, he doesn't see any kid regularly enough to develop a real friend or buddy.

Jack with newly-met "buddy" Pearl. They bonded over mutual likes of crashing trucks, jumping up and down in place, and yelling "No!" at their fathers.
Our days will be changing a little in the upcoming weeks, as I ramp up some learning activities. But for now, we enjoy our freewheeling days.

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