When Calvin was an infant, the daycare center we found didn’t offer part-time daycare for infants. So, even though I worked part-time, we paid for full-time daycare. Most of the time I’d pick him up after I finished work. However, since he was full-time, I basically was able to choose which set of hours during the day I wanted to work. Plus, if I was sick or for some reason got overloaded with work, I could keep him in for the full 8 hours. I got use to this flexibility.
As most of you know, Calvin has always been an intense child that needs to know he’s the center of the universe. This makes it difficult to do anything useful when he’s around. As a result, I got in the habit of taking an extra hour after I stopped working to clean the house or do other essential things such as pay bills. Once he graduated from the infant room, I debated changing him to part-time care. However, the cost savings weren’t enough to off-set the work I wouldn’t get done while he was home. Plus, Calvin only takes naps at daycare now. He probably hasn’t taken a nap at home, unless he’s in the car, for more than 6 months now. Apparently, Jaeger stopped his naps at 2. However, it’s very obvious that Calvin still needs his nap. He’s an absolute terror when he doesn’t get one.
I mentioned that I can’t do anything while Calvin is home, right? This includes supper preparation. I’ve tried all sorts of ways to get dinner on the table when Calvin is home but the only thing that actually works is letting him watch TV. We don’t have broadcast or cable tv so the only “tv” Calvin watches is from DVDs I’ve checked out from the library. I do like this method as it prevents him from seeing commercials and it’s easier to vet exactly what he’s watching. However, increasingly I noticed that he’d throw mini-tantrums when I turned off the TV. This worried me but I wasn’t sure what else to do.
About a week ago I was listening to the Freakonomics podcast episode title The Upside of Quitting. In it, they discussed sunk costs. I’ve always been pretty good at not letting monetary sunk costs determine my future actions. However, I realized that daycare was a huge sunk cost that I wasn’t fully utilizing. I had been picking Calvin up between 2:30-3:00 everyday. However, if I kept him in an extra hour, I could use that time to pre-make supper. Then, once I picked him up, I could completely devote my full attention to Calvin without having to worry about doing anything else. It got even better. I took a look at the daycare schedule and realized that the extra hour Calvin was there is during outdoor play time. So, I’d be swapping him sitting on the couch watching TV for running around on the fantastic playground equipment that daycare has.
This was the first week we’ve tried this schedule. However, it’s been a weird week in a couple of ways so I’m not sure this was a really good test. Monday, Calvin slept in till almost 9 (usually he gets up at 7:30) so I didn’t really have the extra hour I was planning. Tuesday is swimming lesson day and this is the one day we consistently get takeout. So, I used the extra hour to clean the house. Wednesday, Jaeger and I went to evaluate a potential prescohol for Calvin. The person I talked to said most parents take about an hour. I should have realized I would take longer. We took a full two hours. I probably spent more than an hour of that just asking the director questions. This meant that I was much later for work than I planned so I spent the extra hour working instead of fixing food. Today, Calvin slept in again, though not as much as Monday, so I was late to work again. Plus, Thursdays are the day that I go work at the library and that takes an hour in commuting time (30 min each way). So, I didn’t really have much extra time today either. Given that it’s past 9pm and Calvin’s still resisting sleeping, I suspect he’s going to sleep in tomorrow also.
Even though this week hasn’t gone exactly as I envisioned it, I think this schedule is going to work out well for us. In general, it just gives me more flexibility in my day. I’m hoping that next week things will be calmer.