Confessions of a nap time procrastinator

Hello my name is Darren and I am a nap time procrastinator. There I’ve said it. I feel better already for letting it out there.

When I started my adoption leave I had grand plans to ‘get lots done’ during the girls nap time each day. I would write some more of the novel I have intermittently been working on for the last 18 months. I would read lots of books, focusing on the key works of literature that I have never got round to reading. I would start an online interior design course and do a little bit of work on this a few times a week. I would do little odd jobs around the house to ‘stay on top of things’.

The reality is I have done none of these things. I am ashamed to say that since having children, apart from the odd parenting book which I have flicked through, I have not read a single book. I am just too tired to read in the evenings. I did try, but after a week when I had only got to page four I gave up. I have not started an interior design course. I have written some of my novel – a grand total of about 800 words, which is the equivalent to a paltry 5 words a day for every weekday I have been on adoption leave. The mountains  of paperwork, the broken cupboard handles, the grubby-looking paintwork and the piles of pictures that need hanging are all a reminder that I have not ‘stayed on top of things’.

In fairness to me, I completely underestimated how much work it would be just to do the basics – tidying up the mess that the girls make, clearing away breakfast and lunch, keeping on top of the washing, doing the online weekly shop, planning and cooking dinners etc. However, underestimation is only part of the picture. Undoubtedly the biggest reason for my failure to do anything I had planned to do is that I spend most of nap time doing things that I really have no need to be doing. From browsing local planning and licensing applications to identifying which tent would be best for us to go camping (I’ve never been) to googling ‘what ever happened to Heidi from the Sugababes?’ – there appears to be nothing thats too ridiculous for me to waste my time on during nap-time.

Today for example, I have spent nap time doing a pencil sketch of what I would like my alcove cabinets to look like once we have the house refurbished! Of course we have yet to organise the finance, find an architect or even get planning permission for our project; but today, instead of emptying the washing machine, filling in the girls passport applications, organising the eldests haircut or sweeping up the post-lunch crumb littered floor; I plumped for imagining how backlit bookshelves might look and whether I could get a hidden pullout keyboard rest built into one of the cabinets.

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To make matters worse, now that I have finished doing that I have decided to blog about it. I just can’t help myself!

Yesterday I spent a good hour narrowing down areas of France or Spain that I might consider buying a second home in. Now bear in mind that we are going to need to rein in our spending to pay the 2 x nursery fees we will be faced with once I return to work, let alone have money to buy a second home and you can see what a ridiculous waste of an hour of my life that was. I even picked out some properties that I liked that were within my imaginary budget!

Every day after wasting my time with something or another I find myself glancing at my watch, realising with horror that the girls will be waking up in about 10 minutes and rush about trying to tidy up or make a necessary phone call before they do.

I suppose even writing this blog is a form of procrastination, although I like to think of it as something important and worthwhile. A kind of therapy. Maybe now I have ‘spoken’ about my problem I might be able to do something about it. I wonder what would come up if I type ‘procrastination into Google…

Life’s a beach when you have kids

It’s amazing how having children can completely open ones eyes to something that had been taken for granted before. I realised this as my partner, the girls and I splashed our feet about in the sea over the weekend on our visit to the grandparents.

My partner’s parents live very near to the beach and for the last 12 years we’ve gone down to visit them about one weekend a month. However, in that whole time I never really made the most of being so close to the sea. I could probably count the times I’ve been down to the beach on both hands. Which is ridiculous really now that I think about it.

Since the girls arrived we’ve made much more of an effort to go down to the beach each time we visit. The sea air does something to the girls which is wonderful to watch – they come alive, their appetites grow and they sleep so soundly at night, usually waking a whole half-hour later than the crack-of-dawn they usually do! It’s beautiful to watch them scrambling across the pebbles looking for shells, building sand-castles or seeing their confidence grow when splashing about in the sea.

Having lived in London all my life, and with the beach only ever a very occasional treat for me growing up, it’s lovely to think that the girls will grow up experiencing both city and coastal life. I love the idea that they’ll try things that I never have. Maybe they’ll learn to windsurf or sail, both of which seem so alien to my resolutely urban self. I love the fact that they will experience a slower, cleaner, greener existence to counter-balance the faster pace of city life.

Thinking about all of this has made me realise it’s also an opportunity for me to experience something new too. I spend a weekend a month by the sea, I need to make the most of it. I’ve resolved to bring my running gear with me on our monthly visits from now on, so that I can go running along the beach in the early mornings – something I’ve always wanted to do; and weather permitting I’m going to have a proper swim in the sea. Well at least once a year anyway.

 

Photo: Cloud-Cukoo-Land.com

Keep calm and carry on potty training

It’s the middle of summer and I return to work in 12 weeks time (eek), so now seems like as good a time as ever to start potty training with S my eldest, who is now two-and-a-half.

As with everything to do with parenting there is so much conflicting information out there about when to start potty training and how to go about it. My partner and I have changed our minds on numerous occasions about whether S is ready to be potty trained or not but from tomorrow we are giving it a go.

I’m not anticipating it’s going to be easy. In fact I think it’s going to be an absolute nightmare, partly because I know I’ll struggle to remain upbeat when there is a puddle of pee or a pile of poo on the floor and partly because my daughter is likely to be so distracted by the world around her that pausing for a second to realise she needs the toilet, or that she’s already been, is difficult for her. My youngest, M, on-the-other-hand, who has just turned 18 months, already proudly lets me know every time she does a poo and tells me to ‘change nappy’. I was tempted to just try potty training with both at the same time but quickly scrapped this idea when I found M with the potty on her head saying ‘pretty hat’. I think just getting one child trained at a time is plenty!

The plan is to go nappy free from tomorrow morning, letting S wear just a small pair of knickers (I have bought a 10 pack – I hope this is going to be enough), putting her on the toilet every half hour and just taking it from there really. I have a book of stickers ready as a reward for successes and plan to remain calm no matter what little surprises I might find around the house.

We can do this. I am writing this for myself more than anything else. At least we don’t have any carpets, so cleaning up any ‘spills’ should’t be too bad. I am just praying that we don’t have any accidents on the rugs or soft furnishings!

I am going to keep a diary of how it’s going, I’ll post up our progress later in the week. If you’ve already been through potty training let me know what worked for you in the comments. Wish us luck!

 

Header Image by Paul Bica