(Sing above title to the tune of the 80s Klondike Bar jingle.)
I ponder this question every day, what to do with my curious, active, demanding almost-toddler. First, I'll give you a rough sketch of what our days look like. On a good morning - and today was the first good morning - I will wake up early, work out in the gym downstairs from 6:00-6:45am, and run upstairs to take a quick shower before Cora wakes up a little after 7:00. Of course, more often, she wakes up closer to 6:30 and Chad has to deal with her, which usually involves Cora playing with toys while he dozes on the couch. Anyway, so then it's Chad's turn to work out downstairs while I give Cora some milk, make my coffee, and finish getting myself ready. We all eat breakfast together, and Chad leaves the house around 8:15.
Cora and I then have two hours before her next nap. We drag out every toy that is stored in the living room. She picks her favorites, and I put them on the couch for her. She climbs up on the couch (using her little stool), and we watch the news together. Then I can usually do some of my more active chores, like dishes, laundry, or cooking while she climbs up and down on the couch and picks through all her living room toys.
10:15 rolls around, and Cora starts making the sign for bed (hand on the side of the head and leaning the head). She goes down without a peep, and I bee-line for the computer to do email, finances, and any google search/information gathering I had intended to do. If there's any leftover time before 11:30, I work on homework for my Monday night graphic design class. All of this productivity is, of course, on a good day. On a not-so-good day, I take a nap too.
11:30 she wakes up, and I get her settled with a toy from the closet (the reserves) while I make lunch. We eat together for about 30 minutes, then we pull another toy or two from the reserve closet. I sometimes try to sneak in more computer time, but Cora generally gets impatient with that and cries at my pant legs from underneath the chair until I come play with her. We go back and forth like that for a while. Occasionally, I attempt to woo her with children's TV programming. She didn't take to Curious George or Clifford, but she likes the Backyardigans and a Swedish program called Pingu (about a clay-mation production about penguins). I say, "likes," but that means she dances to the intro song and laughs, then returns to toys or pestering me to play with her and her toys.
Just to change it up, we go into her room, where she pulls all the board books off her little bookshelf while I try to read some of them to her. That's plenty entertaining until 2:30 nap time!
She goes back to bed, and I try to clean up a bit (why? I don't know...). Then, I do homework, return phone calls, make various travel arrangements, plan meals, check facebook, etc. Sometimes I even manage to go through some of the photos and videos I've taken recently or read the blogs I subscribe to. You'd be amazed how quickly the time goes. Wait, I'm sure you know.
3:45-ish, and she's up again! If we haven't gotten out by this point, we'll try to go out for coffee, make deposits at the bank, stroll through the library, or run to the store, all of which involve at least a half-mile to mile walk each way. Sometimes we do this after lunch, in which case you could switch this paragraph with the two describing her post-morning-pre-afternoon nap segment.
Once we're home again, I start dinner, while she sorts through the tupperware drawer. Cora would say, "Mama never organizes the tupperwares right, so I have to come in and fix it every day! Sometimes several times a day." Chad usually walks in the door around 6:20 (thankful for that!), and he helps with Cora. We all eat dinner together. Every other night, Chad gives Cora a bath, and then it's PJs, book, and bed. While they do that, I clean up dinner and the day's disaster aftermath.
By 8:30, Cora's sound asleep. Chad and I collapse on the couch with a beer to catch up on the news or watch one of our shows. We recently finished Dexter and are on the look-out for another. We rarely make it passed 10pm, and we're out too. For those of my readers who remember us from our student days, both of us asleep by 10pm would have been unimaginable, more like 3am (Chad at least). Now, we're parents.
Cora and I are about to embark on a series of new crafty activities. After a recent trip to the craft store, I'm armed with crayons, kid scissors, construction paper, pipe cleaners, and big wooden beads. I'll let you know what works.
**There are a few consistent differences in the above "day in the life of." I go to graphic design class Monday evenings, Wednesday morning we go to an indoor play class, Wednesday afternoons the babysitter comes so I can run errands, and once a week Cora and I meed Chad in the city for lunch.**