Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Slacker Parenting

It occurred to me today--as I left Genevieve playing with toys in her highchair (Julia still asleep in her room) while I ran upstairs to put away a gigantic load of clean laundry, only to come down quite awhile later to find all of Genevieve's toys on the floor and Genevieve studiously, but perfectly happily, sucking on her highchair seat straps (something I would never have done in a million years, by the way, when Julia was an infant--leave the baby all alone for any length of time? while I went to another room to do something else?--but which if I did not do this time around I would literally NEVER GET ANYTHING DONE around the house)--that Genevieve gets way less one-on-one interaction than Julia did as a baby. I feel bad about that, and think about it often, but....well, it seems inevitable. Most days I feel like I'm running some sort of childcare-laundry-cooking-cleaning race, and I'm just hoping that quality-interaction-with-baby just happens in there somewhere, in an adequate, if not impressive, amount.

It also occurred to me, relatedly, that Genevieve is a MUCH different baby than Julia was, willing as she is to entertain herself for loooong stretches of time without fussing. Many, many times a day I set Genevieve up on the floor with some toys and largely leave her to her own devices, whether that means I'm reading to Julia a foot away or am around the corner in the kitchen doing the dishes. Julia NEVER tolerated this. She literally cried when I disappeared around the corner to go to the bathroom for thirty seconds. She demanded constant proximity, constant attention. I never got anything done, and back then I only had ONE baby to take care of! I had actually completely forgotten about this, until this morning when I spied Genna happily munching her highchair straps.

Although, I have to admit, "happily munching her highchair straps" doesn't exactly scream "overachiever, " now does it? Oops.

Uh, I'd better go and talk to the baby.


Christopher Tassava said...

I don't know - she's not solving differential equations (and only, I'm sure, because she can't yet count), but being able to occupy yourself no matter the situation is its own kind of overachievement!

Donna said...

DITTO! It's true in our house, too!! Often times I leave the kids with each other so I can take care of dishes, cooking, laundry, etc. So they really aren't alone, right? At least my son will yell or come to get me if my daughter needs me. And like you, my first is much less tolerant (and still is) of being left alone - or where he can't see or hear me - my second just thinks that's the way things are supposed to be. There's definitely something to be said about birth order, huh?

Shan said...

Yes, that's for sure. Donna, I'm so glad it's like this in your house too. And doesn't it all seem just a little too stereotypical? (the ignored, tolerant 2nd child; the way parents just throw all that hyper-parenting to the wind when #2 comes alone, saying, "Eh, she'll be fine..."?) I mean, sheesh, does this happen to literally everyone? It's so....predictable!

Question said...

HA! I am just finishing a post about this exact same topic.