When Ruthie was born, I barely went anywhere for the first month of her life. I stayed home, enjoyed visits from friends and family, and snuggled my baby. Eventually I started meeting weekly with a friend at Starbucks so that I could write on a regular basis, but mostly I was home, reading books and watching movies and lots of court television. (I have strong opinions about daytime TV judges. Very strong opinions.)

Things aren’t quite the same with kid #2. For the first week I was home, I had to go get his bilirubin checked on a daily basis, which means I had to very quickly figure out how to take two kids to the doctor in zero degree weather. Now that we get some official downtime, though, it’s still not the same as the quiet first days I got to share with Ruthie.

Ruthie is a great kid, and Neville is a laid back baby. Yet,  it’s still quite a task. Ruthie gets to watch way more TV than I want her to, because other methods of entertaining a four-year-old require things like hands and arms and mental energy. Most of the day, that is directed at feeding Neville and/or holding him. Chalupa has been down with a respiratory infection (and in our lives, that’s a bigger deal than it is for most people, because it means he could be out of commission for a few weeks), so his support has been meaningful but mostly moral, not necessarily practical. So Ruthie watches The Croods and Leroy & Stitch every day, plus a few episodes of various TV shows, and I feed the baby.

I wish I could be the sort of mom who is constantly doing something to keep the four-year-old occupied while I keep the baby fed. I’m just not that sort. I need more sleep than that. I need more down time. Ruthie is the sort of kid who needs very direct involvement in her playtime, so it’s hard to give her a fun task and expect her to complete it if I’m not right there, participating in every step. Do I feel a little guilty for the number of times she’s watched The Croods this week? Of course. But not enough to make myself feel bad about it. Besides, when I can, we do more than just watch TV. There may be more TV time than usual in these first weeks with the baby, but I can handle that.

This morning was one of those mornings when I realized I had the time and the energy to do something special with my girl. I asked Ruthie to cook with me. While Neville slept in bed with his dad, who wasn’t able to work today on account of the severe blahs, she and I got out her kids’ cooking set and made blue pancakes that we then cut into various shapes with cookie cutters.

It was great. I also realized that blue pancakes, cut into circles, look like the moon. If I were planning some sort of space-themed party, I might have to call these “mooncakes” and serve them as a special treat.

pancakes 2

Of course, as the adult, I sacrificed and ate mostly the scraps instead of the cool shapes.

pancakes 4

And so, this morning, almost three weeks into Neville’s life, I finally did something fun for Ruthie! And then I let her go hang out on the couch and watch 101 Dalmatians while I took a nap.

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