The Caretaking Dances

On workday mornings, my husband and son are the first out of bed. My husband, whom I call Orchid, chooses clothes for Sunboy to wear and starts making breakfast and coffee. I sleep until Flowergirl wakes up, which usually happens soon after the boys of the house start milling around downstairs. I take Flowergirl downstairs, change her diaper and get her dressed. By the time I put her in her highchair, Orchid is putting food on her tray and the children eat breakfast together. While they eat, I get dressed, grab a yogurt and pour coffee. And so our day begins like an orchestrated piece of music. Written for a quartet.

In the evenings, I make dinner while Orchid plays with the kids. The four of us eat dinner together. After dinner, my husband corrals Sunboy into the shower while I take Flowergirl upstairs for a bath. Sunboy changes into pajamas and meets us upstairs where both kids have their asthma inhalers if they need it. We stand in marvel of two clean children ready for bed. Just for a moment.

At this point, we switch kids. The idea of switching began when I started to wean Flowergirl a few months ago. These days she happily asks for Daddy in the evenings. I miss my special time with her, and hope that we will switch back at some point. For now, I am enjoying bedtime with Sunboy, who is at a rather inquisitive age.

I kiss Flowergirl goodnight. She says, “I wub yoo!” which makes me swoon. I go into Sunboy’s room to read books with him. We read three books or three chapters of longer books every night. Sometimes the reading is forgotten as we digress into long conversations about what we’ve read. Sunboy could talk for hours if you let him, and he has fascinating ideas. But it’s getting late. We turn off the light, turn on his nature sounds, say a prayer, share more tangential ideas, snuggle and eventually sleep. After a little time alone to decompress and catch up on the internet, my husband and I find our way to the couch to exchange foot massages. Our second routine of the day is complete.

Our caretaking dances require little discussion. We know the steps and the timing. We take turns leading. We switch partners. And when the dance is over, we massage each other’s feet.

This post grew out of a conversation with twitter friends about co-parenting routines. Feel free to share your co-parenting dance in the comments, or if you have a post about this, feel free to link.

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4 thoughts on “The Caretaking Dances

  1. The daily routines are like a piece of orchestrated music. When one player is missing, the rhythm falls apart. How fortunate you are to have Orchid to share the ins and outs of the day with you.

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  2. Our daily routine is less like a choreographed dance and more like a contemporary freestyle number. :) Because my husband works from home and I’m a stay-at-home mom, we are all home together nearly all the time. That allows our caretaking roles to ebb and flow, depending on who what’s going on each week. My husband typically always gives the toddler a bath and puts him to bed, allowing me a chance to decompress after a long day of childcare or to finish up whatever needs to be done around the house (dinner, dishes, laundry). But we swap roles when need be. It works well for us. I can’t imagine the extra steps that go into planning a day with multiple children, schools, jobs, and daycare! Great post — it’s fun to hear about what goes on at your house!

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    1. I’ve been enjoying hearing about co-parenting balance in other homes, both here and on twitter. Everyone has a different dance. It must ne nice that you and your husband are at home so much, for everyone!

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