Blogging with a Mobile Baby (A Quick Update)

baby girl dress

Tuesdays and Thursdays are Kick Over Furniture Days here at the Quiring household.

[If you’re curious, Mondays are Meal-Planning/Grocery/Food-Prep Days; Wednesdays are Gardening and Preserving Days; Fridays are Organizing and Targeted Deep-Cleaning Days; and Saturdays are Housecleaning Days.]

Well, officially, Tuesdays and Thursdays are supposed to be Writing Days, but that’s not quite how they’ve been turning out lately. Lately, I spend so much time pulling gross things out of Lydia’s mouth, prying sharp objects out of her hands, whisking garbage cans away from her searching hands, rescuing her from the edge of the stairs, holding her over the potty, comforting her after tumbles and head-bumps, changing wet diapers, wiping down high chairs, washing my hands, and begging her to sleep so I can get some writing done, that at some point I end up wildly frustrated and start kicking over chairs and throwing notebooks.

It’s not pretty.

I do all of those other things with Lydia every other day of the week as well, but somehow things don’t end up quite as ugly on those days. None of those other activities — cleaning, cooking, etc — require the uninterrupted concentration that writing requires.

Constant interruptions are just part of life with a mobile baby, I’m learning. And I can deal with that on an ordinary day. But on a day when I’m trying to create? I don’t handle it so well.

Lydia at ten months is easily double the work she was at three months. She barely naps, is drawn to all the grossest and most dangerous objects in the house, can crawl with lightning speed, can open drawers and cabinets, and (most annoyingly) can reach the computer mouse and keyboard while I try to type.

She can also reach into the toilet (yay, splashing!) and can climb into the open dishwasher (yay, knives!). She loves to eat dog food and paper.

I hate that on Tuesdays and Thursdays I can’t be fully present to my baby. I’m irritable and distracted.

At the same time, I hate that I have close to thirty drafts of blog posts in my notebooks, and not enough uninterrupted time to turn them into complete posts. The way things currently run, a single post takes up to five hours to complete. I just can’t manage it these days.

All this is to say: blogging might be a little spotty for a while until I can figure something out with the munchkin. I’m hoping to make arrangements with the grandmas a few times a week so I can keep my butt in the chair and actually do some writing.

I must add that Lydia is also double the fun she was at three months. When I take her to the grocery store, she makes so many people smile that I feel like I’m doing an act of community service by taking her with me. And at the end of every trip I feel kind of bad that I’m the one who gets to take her home for unlimited kisses and snuggles. Why should I get her all to myself all day?

Anyhow, thanks for sticking with me, and I hope to be around more in the near future!

If you do creative work and have had a mobile baby, how did you manage? Please, tell me! I’m begging you!

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  1. Thanks for the heads-up, so I know not to get TOO excited on Tuesdsays and Thursdays …

  2. Also, I’m impressed with how productive/structured you are, with different tasks assigned to different days. I think if I were a stay at home mom my life would be far less organized than that. Have you always done it that way, or just since Lydia?

    • Sorry, Emily — your comments were marked as spam for some reason and I only found them now.

      I’ve only been this structured since January, in response to how chaotic and unproductive my life felt. It was a New Year thing. I’ve never been so organized. So far, I really like it — I feel more motivated and in control. The only problem is that when I don’t live up to my schedule, I get really frustrated and down on myself. I need to be more forgiving to myself.

      Also, thanks so much for your enthusiasm!

  3. Hugs! Thanks for letting me know what I’m in for ;) Ana isn’t mobile yet, well other than rolling all over the place, so she often plays on a blanket or sits in a bouncer or I wear her – depending on what I’m doing. I hope the grandma thing works out! I love reading your blog.
    Michele recently posted..What I Thought Motherhood Would Be LikeMy Profile

    • Yes, that was nice when I could put Lydia down in one spot and she’d stay there! :) The trick, I’m learning, is to not expect too much of yourself. As long as I don’t place too many expectations on myself, I’m happy to just hang around and watch Lydia all day. She really is a ton of fun. And thanks for the kind words!

  4. You’re going to have to learn to skip the rough draft, and publish on the fly. That may mean the quality of writing isn’t quite as high as your expectations, but it will still be far higher than ours, and will mean more content. Winner all around! Plus, writing with little or no editing is an art-form.

    • *Sigh.* I know you’re probably right. I’m just such a perfectionist. The other problem is that I often scribble drafts in the middle of the night in bed as the ideas come to me.

  5. I was a grad student when my first was in that “I am mobile, capable of getting in the serious trouble, and have NO sense of self preservation” phase. The only way I could get anything done was to gate off one area in the apartment where all the hazards had been locked away or put up too high for Mr. Mobile to reach. He had a lot of things he could do, including books that looked like my study books to ‘read’ and pen and paper to to fiddle around with, just like I was doing in my notebook. I actually have a picture of him sitting and ‘reading’ a copy of the Iliad from this period. Also, setting up the computer on a high counter, where I stand to type, helped a lot.

    And, yeah, cut yourself a whole lotta slack and decide that there IS such a thing as good enough.

  6. I am SO with you! I work at a bead store with my super-mobile one. A BEAD STORE. Seriously. Everything is already bite size for her! But I do know from the other ones that this ends. The days are long, but the years are short. And I love the playpen or jolly jumper! They are lifesavers. You’re doing great! I have the book “The Busy Book for Toddlers” and that has some great ideas for keeping them busy for a few minutes.

  7. My daughter is 15 months now and the change from 10 to 15 months was almost as big in terms of time investment, as now she can run, climb, etc. She is into EVERYTHING (I thought she was at 10 months, when she’d just started walking, but I was wrong). Also, she now needs real exercise, not just playing around the house, (minimum of 45 minutes/day), so that has to go into the schedule too.

    So I think this will be a continuing problem, and you’re smart to start thinking of solutions now. Babysitting is great if you have family willing to do that for you: take them up on any/all offers. Thoroughly childproof the entire house (or gate off areas where this isn’t possible). Then she can roam freely and amuse herself, and you don’t have to watch her the whole time. This is troublesome (since it’s harder for you to access things too) but completely worth it, not only for your sanity, but because then your daughter is able to have a little more independence.

    I also think if it’s possible, you need to encourage her to nap better. Babies her age should be getting 14 hours of sleep daily, so if she’s not napping, she might not be getting enough sleep (which can lead to attention problems and even stunting). Around this age, my daughter started fighting sleep/naps because even though she was tired, she wanted to play/interact. I had to think of her best interest and enforce them for her. I know you co-sleep, but supposedly they can distinguish between day and night time sleep, so you don’t have to use the same sleeping methods for naps that you do at night, if that turns out to work better.

    Best of luck and I hope you have more time to write soon!
    Grace recently posted..My Daughter Is My Living DollMy Profile

  8. I do most of my blogging at night after Henry is sleeping or during nap time (like right now!) Considering doing more short posts for the time being and investing the quiet hours to editing longer, detailed posts for a once a week/bi-weekly occurrence. Eventually she’ll move out of the age where you need to watch her every second, so it’s not a forever deal.
    Molly W. recently posted..Stitches and RiceMy Profile

  9. First I have to agree with your ‘community service’ comment. It’s so true! I always loved taking my kids out and seeing all of the joy and smiles they brought to other people. My kids are older now (7 & 5) but when my son wears his cowboy hat/shirt/boot combo or when my daughter insists on wearing a her ladybug costume with wings to the grocery store it still has the same affect.

    Anyway, onto the topic at hand. When both of my children were young (around 8 or 9 months I think) I started implementing an ‘Independent Play Time’. I made sure their room was fully baby proof and set a basket of books and a few toys (that rotated every few days to keep them interested) on the floor for them to dig into. The door was gated so they couldn’t escape. You start with 10 minutes and stay close-by. It can be rough the first few times you do it, especially if baby is used to being near you all the time. I think it was on the 3rd or 4th time where both of them caught on that they just had to play and then I would be back to snuggle. Once they were comfortable with the 10 minutes, I increased the amount by 5 minutes every few days, working up to an hour at the appropriate age. I think, in my opinion, this is a great tool for mothers to have. It allows you some alone time to get things done around the house (or a blog written) and it allows baby to become more independent and confident. Ever since then, my kids have done well entertaining themselves with books, toys, and crafts. When they get old enough, you take the gate down and they’ll know to stay in their room for play time.
    That’s just what I’ve done to get through the mobile stage.
    Bria recently posted..18 more days.My Profile

  10. Oh Kathleen, I’m with you! I’m not sure if you noticed, but my blogging did a massive nosedive once Miriam really started moving. I don’t have any advice, because I’m still trying to figure it out myself!

    I finally realized recently that naptimes must be dedicated to the computer, because it’s just frustrating for both of us when I try to get on it (and keep her off of it) while she’s awake. So naptime cooking, showers, reading, sewing, etc. have all been forsaken now for the internet. That gives me 1.5 hours each day to do all of my blogging and emailing. (Don’t get me started on how she needs/I need her to nap longer!)

    It doesn’t feel like enough, but it’s what I’ve got now. I try to only get on a bit at night, so I can spend time with my husband or do those aforementioned things like showering, so I don’t ever feel like I can focus enough to do real writing or even emailing then. However, he recently mentioned wanting to spend a couple hours with her on the weekends, so I’m hoping to institute a regular weekend routine where I get out of the house and go somewhere to type while they play. If I was lucky like you and had grandmas close enough, I would totally want to take advantage of that, too!

    Good luck figuring something out! (Warning: It will change again as her napping routine changes, but I assume you already know that.) We’ll be here waiting when you do get a chance to post! Oh, and I completely agree that the older she gets, the more fun it is!
    That Married Couple recently posted..7 Quick Takes (83)My Profile

  11. I just don’t even read anything I’ve posted because I’m sure there are horrid typos and probably entire sentences that don’t make sense. But I have to squeeze in writing or doing anything online really, into naptime, which is now also cleaning/mommy goes potty by herself/mommy takes a minute to relax/mommy showers/mommy runs around like a chicken with her head cut off time. But you are so right. They are so much more fun now than they were even two months ago! It just keeps getting better.
    I’m lucky in that my real creative outlet is music and babies love music! So as long as I’m not completely ignoring him when I practice/play, he seems to really enjoy it. But I don’t get to practice like I used too with hours and hours of uninterrupted concentration!
    You’ll figure it out as you go. I’m beginning to think mommies are in constant morphing mode! Always changing to suit baby’s needs!
    Bekah recently posted..The Myth of the Pregnancy Glow.My Profile

  12. Oh! You’ve already gotten such good advice! I’m trying to write a book these days, with a self-imposed deadline staring me down and a house-move between me and said deadline. And my babe is about to start walking. Hmm…

    I’m blessed in that she likes to spend time by herself playing independently, but that is also something that I’ve tried to cultivate. Of course, she’ll only take it for so long. So my husband (who has a flexible work schedule) takes her two mornings a week (Thurs and Sat) and I get to write. (This only works if one or the other of us leaves the house.) This has only been happening for two weeks now, but it’s a good rhythm and I like it. So does my husband, who loves his baby time.

    On days with her around, I write what few blog posts I can during naps, sometimes just letting her nap in the Ergo so I don’t have to get up and soothe her back to sleep in her crib. We’re pretty attatchment-y but we have a crib and it works for us.

    Night has always been my best writing time too, so on those days, I just forgo sleep. You gotta do what you gotta do.

    You’ll get there. We’ll be those professional writers someday and look back and think, “Wow! I got started in the least likely moment!”
    Laura recently posted..Looking back…My Profile

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