The weekend toddler hand-off

The baby has officially become a toddler. He can walk across a room, and is starting to prefer walking to crawling. Of course, he’s also falling over all the time, and putting everything in his mouth too.

Someone needs to watch him constantly. We’ve baby-proofed a section of the basement but someone needs to be there with him, and with four other children, the baby-proofing is hard to keep perfect (I found random pieces of paper in there yesterday that he naturally tried to eat). Constant vigilance does not make for a relaxing weekend. But five kids in, this stage is not a surprise. So we’re back to the Official Toddler Hand-off around here to ensure that both parents get their downtime.

Sunday in particular we wound up with nothing formal on the calendar. Another snowstorm dropped at least six inches during the morning and early afternoon, and so the kids’ activities were canceled. My husband and I decided to trade off every 90 minutes around nap time. Like alarms set and everything.

I can attest that 90 minutes spent watching a toddler definitely feels longer than 90 minutes not spent watching a toddler. However, 90 minutes also doesn’t feel endless like a full day stuck at home can. I got a treadmill run in, finished my 1000-piece puzzle, did Legos with the 11-year-old, took some of the big kids sledding, and, with the addition of nap time, helped the 9-year-old clean off the two craft tables in the basement to make them usable.

If it had been possible to go anywhere, then a longer window might have made more sense. One party might do the morning, one party might cover post-nap to bedtime (in a one-nap scenario, which is where we’ll be in a month or two). But for a snowy day, the official 90-minute hand-off worked pretty well. So we’ll probably be repeating it until things warm up around here.

Do you do weekend trade-offs?

In other news: This post reminds me, again, that I am in awe of single parents.

In other other news: Amazon had a one-day sale on the ebook version of 168 Hours over the weekend (I sent a blast out to my weekend newsletter list about it Saturday when it happened). It was so fun to see a book that came out eleven years ago climb up the Kindle ranks. One of my goals for the year has been to sell my “back catalog” as the publishing industry calls it. Between the Kindle sale, Drew Barrymore holding up a copy of I Know How She Does It on air, and a large virtual book club reading All the Money in the World, I’ve now seen bumps for three titles. Now I just need a celebrity to mention Juliet’s School of Possibilities or Off the Clock…

Photo: Intrigued, but unsure about the snow thing…


7 thoughts on “The weekend toddler hand-off

  1. So true about 90 minutes being a long time with a toddler. My littlest one loves to do pretend play right now which I find exhausting. So I tell myself to just do it for 20 minutes or something. Sometimes I do set an alarm to make sure I go through with it.

    1. @Sarah K – I keep reminding myself that they do grow up! It also helps that the cuteness factor is pretty compelling right now…

  2. I am a single parent + professional with no family where I live. My daughter is twelve and a bit now so constant vigilance is really not needed anymore, not the way toddlers/multiple-kid households need. But my daughter has just started secondary school and that brings with it logistical nightmares if the activities are not planned well. Since there is nobody to hand anything off to, I have always recognized the value of a strong social network and I have tried to build and sustain one ever since I moved here. What it means is that we help each other out in reliable ways. For example, we carpool – I drop my kid and her two friends who go to the same school on most mornings and one of the other parents picks all of them up, my kid waits at one of her friend’s place till I get there; it’s not a long wait (10-15 minutes) but I do have to drive about 30 kms back from work. Other comings and goings I manage, but single parent or not, the planning process is the same and I’m sure we are all running around and resting just about the same if we looked at the big picture.

    1. @Usha – thanks for your comment. I agree that a strong social network is key. Other adults are very helpful!

  3. Yup, I’m very glad my husband and I figured out the hand-off! (Might have read about it here or heard it on BOBW!) I think knowing there is a finite end helps a lot, even if it feels long while you’re in it. We’re down to one nap and often switch off every hour, as it just seems to work well with our schedule.

  4. I love All the Money in the world and am currently going through the handbook. I’d be excited to read more posts on the topic!

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