The past few winters I had been doing the usual dash from place to place, taking Beatrice to classes across town or out to lots of playdates. For a long while I was also taking her to childcare a couple of times a week, first as part of a childcare swap I had organized with a friend and then later at a cozy home daycare.
This winter we’ve been staying home a lot.
We wanted to save some money, so we didn’t register at any expensive classes across town. I decided not to find a replacement childcare spot when the home daycare she had been attending disbanded. When we went to the daycare’s farewell picnic I wasn’t sure what an entire winter of unscheduled time together with a toddler and a preschooler would look like, but I was pretty sure I was going to really miss the structured activities.
We started this trend of staying in during the first snow of the season. Now that we’re halfway through January and well past the rush of Christmas, I can feel that we’ve hit our stride with this winter routine. To my surprise, most days we stay home. And to my even greater surprise, we like it.
Finding a Daily and Weekly Rhythm That Works for Us
We’ve been doing lots of drawing and writing, colouring with markers, building with blocks, playing with clay. We spend time bird watching. We sit on the couch and read books, Little House on the Prairie, Madeline, Bob Books and Rainbow Magic Fairy stories (totally gak, but she loves them). The girls play dressup, ballerina fairy princesses and cats and “you be the baby and I’ll be the mama”. We wander down to the playground after naptime. We go to homeschooling drop-ins a couple of times a week to visit with friends. On Mondays I bake bread. I play a little at the piano after lunch sometimes. It’s slow. It’s low-key. And maybe it’s the magic of a few months of maturation, or maybe it’s the increased connection and decreased stress, but like Kelly Hogaboom describes in her recent post, Owning It; Opening up, I feel like the amount of misbehaviour and conflict in our house has gone down significantly. I still enjoy a couple of hours of time alone to work and write in the evenings, but I’m not spending all day just waiting for that time.
In some ways I’m not surprised I’m enjoying these days at home. After all, I am an introvert. I like my own space, and I’m quite happy to be alone. What I wasn’t expecting was how well the girls like being home too. They are at ages now where they can and do play together quite happily or entertain themselves for a while. I’m sure there will come a time when they will want to be with their friends more, and that it will be more appropriate to spend a greater proportion of time out visiting or taking classes. I’m sure it will change with the seasons as well, with more time spent outdoors and with other people as the sun returns. But right now, we’re spending lots of our rainy winter days inside playing and working on projects together, and that’s totally fine by me.