The baby/non-baby list

After almost a full year of parenting this child, I've learned a few things, and perhaps one of the most important aspects of this learning process has been figuring out how much I can get done when Nora is awake. Sure, I should be spending those hours interacting fully with her. I know. But you want the real deal? Ok. FORGET IT. If I played with Nora every single second that she was awake, I wouldn't ever eat! Or sneak glances at The Superficial!

But in all seriousness, at this stage Nora takes some serious looking after, because, nowadays, all it takes her is a split second to make her way to the stairs, where she rapidly starts climbing. Or to the toilet, and do you know what she likes to do when she gets to the toilet? Put her hands in. Did you hear that, Dad? Your granddaughter likes to put her hands in the toilet water. Just something to keep in mind when the two of you are hanging out next.

So I have this casual set of rules about what I can and cannot do when I'm watching her by myself and, over time, the set of rules has changed, because I've realized I can actually do a lot when Nora's awake, as long as I deal with the situation the right way. Like, if I want her to hang out in her bouncy seat in the bathroom while I'm taking a shower, she needs two toys to play with. Not just one. If I give her the ladle and a big salad bowl, she'll play on the kitchen floor for a pretty long time while I do the dishes.

Lately I've been finding myself doing this or that while Nora's napping and thinking, "Wait a sec, could I do this when she's awake? Damn straight I could!" Because when you really get down to it, the non-baby hours are best utilized by doing stuff you absolutely, one hundred percent cannot do while the baby is on the go. And yes, that includes getting a pedicure, but it also includes writing a novel and launching a brilliant career. Which I may or may not be doing. Ok, whatever, I'm not.

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about:

Things I Can Do While Nora Is Awake

take a shower drink a cup of coffee (in a semi-relaxed state) watch the news laundry do the dishes take the dogs for a walk run errands have a phone conversation go out to eat go to the bathroom start making dinner

Things I Can Only Do When Nora Is Asleep or Elsewhere, or J Is Home

get a pedicure drink a cup of coffee (in a totally relaxed state) watch a movie read a book or the newspaper have an important phone conversation finish making dinner read emails and write back write a blog post