Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Time Management and Other New Year’s Resolutions

Ok, ok, I know. We’re almost mid-way through January. New Year is becoming a distant memory. Hell, if I listen to Kylee the year is half over. So here I am posting blog Number 2 for the year. I’ve actually been having a lot of problems with this post, trashing draft after draft. Apparently great literature takes time to craft. Don’t be misguided by that last statement, as I fear that it is closer to doggerel minus the verse.

So, why all the trouble writing this post?

Well, I started writing ages and ages ago about how much time I seemed to have in my day. I was new to house-dadding, still had a Monday to Friday 9 to 5 work mindset and I didn’t really know what my role was. Sure there was this baby that needed looking after, but that was fairly straight forward, eat, sleep, change nappies, nurse in arms or place in bouncer, all could be relied upon to facilitate contentment. Then there was some cleaning and I was managing to stay on top of that (it actually takes months of staying at home before you notice dust settling, scuff marks, sloshes, spills, et al, etcetera, etcetera). So, there I was sitting one day when this Rolling Stones song popped into my head;

Yes time, time, time is on my side, yes it is
Time, time, time is on my side, yes it is
Oh, time, time, time is on my side, yes it is
I said, time, time, time is on my side, yes it is
Oh, time, time, time is on my side
Yeah, time, time, time is on my side

I have an inkling that I’m not the first person who’s found themselves in my situation, thinking they have all this spare time and then leaping to the next obvious connection, ‘I should do some study, post-grad, or maybe something totally different. You know, treat this time as a hiatus.’ So there I was trawling through university web-sites looking for courses that might be of interest and then I remember something… I wasn’t a very good student in the first place. ‘Very poor time management skills’ would be the comment on my report card. I would always get assignments in late and needing to throw myself at the mercy of lecturers to accept my offerings. I even tried doing deals, “can you mark my assignment and no matter what its actual grade, I’ll take either a pass or fail.”

I decided I could do without that type of stress again so I didn’t enrol to study.

Anyway, that’s a synopsis of what Version 1.0 of this post was going to be about. Version 2.0 had my mind ticking over about the ethereal nature of ‘Time’. To most in society it’s a concrete concept. A concept that will result in chaos unless it is heeded and adhered to. To me, however, it has become more abstract.

The other day when I was tapping away at the keyboard on this subject I wrote, ‘Today is Thursday 7th of January 2010. I have to tell myself these things as I often lose track of time.’

And it’s true to. Over Christmas I had no idea of the date or the day. I didn’t have the usual markers to help me out. Kylee wasn’t at work, so I couldn’t tell if it was somewhere in between Monday or Friday. Gymboree was on a break so I didn’t know if it was Thursday. I was lost… Not that it bothered me, but it drove Kylee mad.

“How can you live like that?’
Shoulders shrugged “I don’t know? I just can.”
I pulled out the white board marker and tried to sit My Sweet down to further explain, “Time and its various denominations sometimes seem irrelevant when you’re the stay at home person.” I announced with authority, however, seeing her eyes glaze over, I felt it necessary to get her back onside.
“Don’t get me wrong, I count down until 7pm when its time for James to be in bed and I look forward to Fridays and the weekend help you provide. And I’ve never missed the immunisation days at the library.” Not entirely true, but since they jab kids there on the same day every week, it’s not like missing a ‘real’ appointment.
With the feeling that she was back with me, I ploughed on.
“For me, time has new units of measurement. From time to time I find it necessary to utilise the traditional hours, minutes and seconds approach, but I also have a new, creative system for measuring time. For example, if James becomes clumsy, tripping over his feet and comes up whingeing, its time for his morning or afternoon sleep. If I look in the mirror and see light stubble, it’s been around 3 days since I shaved.”
Kylee appeared unconvinced. More examples would be required to add substance to my new world view. I decided to head into safer territory.
“Ok, look at this way. If, say, I only vacuumed on a Monday, well that wouldn’t work, would it? So, traditional time does not dictate when I vacuum, however, ‘messy time’ does. Things just get done, when they need doing.” I saw a nod of agreement. I had Kylee where I wanted her. She was about to agree that ‘laissez faire’ house keeping was a good idea. That a ‘just-in-time’ approach could work. But, I am male after all and I tried to over-reach with a confidence that wasn’t backed with ability.
With earnestness I continued, “And take for example the sheets on our bed. They’re not ‘dirty’ dirty after only a week. With my approach to time I get a feeling … a sixth sense if you will … an instinct … its intuition that lets me know when its been an appropriate length of time between changes …..” Cut off I was.
“And what is this instinct, intuition, sixth sense if you will …” dripping with sarcasm “… is it when the pillow case sticks to your head when you get up in the morning or when you hear a cracking noise as you turn down the sheets at night?”
Point taken, another situation where my time-keeping ability had been challenged and had been found wanting.

And although Version 2.0 was coming along ok and could have been a post on its own, it wasn’t quite right. I was sitting down, trying to write a post for the beginning of the year. One that would excuse my tardiness for weeks without posting, particularly as I had started this blogging with lofty ambitions.

So, here I am writing Version 3.0 Since it’s the beginning of the year perhaps it’s appropriate for me to make a few New Year’s resolutions. First of all, I resolve not to use bad language around James, although he can’t talk, he will soon and I don’t want his first words to be ‘dead shit’. Secondly, I resolve to limit the amount of time that the TV is on during the day. And thirdly, I resolve to have better time management and be more organised for the sake of Kylee’s peace of mind and James’ well-being and as it pertains to this blogging thing, well rather than posting every other day as was my ambitious but fool-hardy goal, perhaps if I can manage one or two a week, then I will have done well.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Happy New Year

Well it’s a new year now. Officially we are now eleven days into 2010. I haven’t exactly come out of the blocks flying with my blogging. Quite sluggish really. Can I put it down to all that left over pudding, ham and festiveness?

So much has happened over the last few weeks in the busy life of a house dad. Beginning with Christmas, where once again James was more interested in the wrapping than the actual present until he had time to investigate the whirring noises and flashing lights that could be produced.

We hosted as many of my family who could make it for Christmas this year. An excellent idea if I do say so myself. Kylee and I could dispense with packing for eighteen different contingencies and instead had the relatively simple task of catering a lunch for 8 adults and 5 children. The winner on the day was definitely James.

He had his pick of cousins to play with. There were boy games with Aiden, a few years older but happy to have a shadow, who could pass on his worldly knowledge. Switching to Lauryn, he had a big sister who ensured James played by the rules. And when tired of this Alanna, who is closest in age, was more or less a peer. Last but not least, Ethan, a two month old, gave James an insight into the world of babies as he took up a squat pose and watched him in his rocker.

James was certainly up for interactions with other children. Kylee and I had seen this at a pre-Christmas BBQ where he was able to hold his own and play with the other kids. And what a relief too. To have a child that you can now put on the ground, pat him on the bottom and coax him off to play instead of feeling the need to keep him on your lap because he seems too young to be able to interact ‘sensibly’.

There was more still. A few days away for New Year’s with other couples and their young children meant more opportunities for play with kindred spirits. I don’t know what it is about James but again he became the attention of a young girl who had the desire to mother James and ensure that he was ok. This scenario of course gave way to adult comments of boyfriend, girlfriend and impending marriage.

And so onwards and upwards it is for James in the socialising stakes. A phone call prior to Christmas announced that his name had come to the top of the queue and he now had a place in day care, if we so desired. I leaped at the opportunity, while Kylee acknowledged that she could see the benefits for James (and me). The big day came last Friday (I’ll hold back on some of the details, as it might be the subject of a future blog, who am I kidding, of course it will) and when Kylee and I arrived to pick up our son, we were met with the oft spoken words of a carer, ‘James, yes James, he’s around here somewhere’. And that somewhere was outside covered in chalk, investigating a new world that wasn’t his usual domain. And when he spied us from a distance, he smiled and toddled over to us. There was no great hurry, just a swagger and a smile that said ‘I’ve had a good day’.

And as we turned and looked over our shoulders while stopped at the lights on the drive home, both Kylee and I could see a new grown up boy in his seat. Ah, I think 2010 is going to be a good year for Kylee, me and Toddler James.