Babies and Multitasking
November 2, 2017 7:38 AM   Subscribe

Asking experienced parents: I have a three month old baby. Other than the sleep deprivation, caring for my baby has been great so far. I am able to write my novel while he sleeps, and sometimes when he is awake too. When does he get more active and I have to entertain him full time?

I have a list of activities I would like to bring him to, like baby signing, swimming, sensory classes. I can’t do that now as he’s just a little too young to reap full value from those classes. But this means I have a lot of time to write my novel. What age do they become more active and I can’t do my hobbies quite as much?
posted by moiraine to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Here's basically the answer to every parenting question ever: it depends. My firstborn needed more full time attention starting at about three months. My second born was perfectly happy entertaining herself from the get-go.

As for reaping full value from the classes, it's kind of not about the baby when they're little. A lot of those classes' benefit is meeting other parents and forming a support system. I have a friend who teaches Baby and Me yoga, for example. Those littlest ones (from six weeks up to about 4 months) aren't there to get their yoga on. They're there because their parents want to get out of the house and do something active but they want to take their babies because they know that they'll meet other parents who have kids the same approximate age.

You'll know when your kiddo starts getting more active and attentive to the world. It's kind of a gradual thing but I'd be surprised if he doesn't start wanting to "play" any day now.
posted by cooker girl at 7:54 AM on November 2, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: It depends quite a bit on the baby in question. My first needed (and still at almost 9 needs to a large degree) lots of stimulation and interaction. I was flabbergasted that people worked from home at all, because I couldn't get more than 5 minutes or so to focus on things other than him. Then I had my second baby, and the first time I was home from work with her (just a little older than yours), she played quietly on her own for whole stretches of time. She still at 4 likes to play independently and even in a big group of fun kids, will kind of alternate between running and playing with the other kids and then getting focused and quietly doing her own thing for a bit. Older guy is just in the last year truly able to play on his own and much prefers being in a big raucous group or out and on the go somewhere.
posted by goggie at 7:56 AM on November 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'd say once they can crawl - for me that was 6-7months iirc.

Swimming you can start any time - I did this at 4 months.

Depends on your kid, but don't leave them alone too much - don't forget the sing songs and zerberts and such even at this age. Doesn't have to be all day but a few 10minute spurts is helpful.

My kid is a stage 5 clinger so ymmv.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:58 AM on November 2, 2017

Baby music class was most useful from 1 years to 2 years (learning sounds, rhythm, not yet talking). I wouldn't do it before the baby can sit up comfortably (~ 6 months) but at that point it gave me a lot of ideas for things I could talk about/do with my kid. Talking/ vocabulary and giving them the chance to move around (tummy time!) is really important.

Baby swimming before 3 is mainly getting them comfortable in the water. We did the baby version with our oldest for a few months (warm indoor pool, dead of winter so nice for us too) as he hated baths (and swimming made him love the water). Then skipped it for awhile until he hit 3-4 when we had him learn to float and do basic kicks for safety. We skipped baby swimming entirely for our second as he loved baths and just took him to the pool when it was warm enough in the summer. Once he's 3 we'll take him to class so he can learn to float.

Finding a good kids museum / nature museum / play area that has a reasonable annual membership has been gold for us. Exposure to various colors/sounds/shapes/concepts and VOCABULARY is important no matter how you go about it.

Nthing that the level of entertainment depends greatly upon the child.

To try to answer your question our most intense parenting time for kids under 5 has been between just over 1 year up until a little after 2. (Diverting my attention for 30 seconds was a gamble during this phase with my boys.)
posted by typecloud at 8:19 AM on November 2, 2017

Best answer: I was Mr. Mom when my son was born. Things went smoothly until he started to crawl. Then getting anything done when he wasn't sleeping became next to impossible. I was still able to get work done during naps, but, that left me working on projects until midnight to keep up.
posted by trbrts at 8:34 AM on November 2, 2017

Best answer: I worked from home 2 days a week after my son was born (the other three days he was with my mom). I had planned on sending him to daycare around 6 months, but then my husband got laid off and we needed to save the money, so I kept on keeping on with that arrangement until 1 year.

Things started getting hard around 8 months. Once they get down to 2 naps a day, it gets hard to get much accomplished in those spaces. And then they develop object permanence and sometimes even the naps are hard to make happen. Then the crawling and you can't just park them somewhere and expect them to stay there. Then the walking and so much falling and crying. Things get intense in the walking baby/toddler years. Once locomotion and communication are mostly sorted out, it slowly ramps back down again. (But then your kid wants to talk your ear off ALL! DAY! LONG!)

As for classes and stuff--we started toddler gymnastics (basically toddler obstacle course) with him when he was 2. It started as just something to do in the winters so we could all stay sane, but now he does it mostly year round (he's 5). As a younger toddler, we had a membership to the Children's Museum, which in our case has a room just for toddler/preschooler sensory stuff, and a huge water play area. A more science-oriented Children's Museum probably wouldn't have been as big a hit. Younger than 2 and they're just kind of along for the ride and it depends on the personality of the kid what they'll tolerate.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:53 AM on November 2, 2017

Nthing play it by ear because it depends, and babies change so fast. While your little one is small and easy to tote around to activities without wanting to be in that activity, you can check out your list of activities to see how they operate, which can give you a better feeling of how your little one will eventually fit in, if you haven't already.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:46 AM on November 2, 2017

Best answer: What age do they become more active and I can’t do my hobbies quite as much?

Also a writer, and I was so productive when I had a non-mobile baby. She napped a lot, I finished a book between ages 4 and 6 months, life was generally great.

She walked late, 15 months, and everything went totally to shit the. Later, I'd realize that my kid was (is!) a total extrovert and that's part of the reason she's so demanding but multitasking while doing childcare became impossible and my productivity went way, way down. It still hasn't recovered, and she's nearly 4. Thank god for preschool. 🙌
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:47 PM on November 2, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks, it looks like the general consensus is that productivity drops by crawling, and definitely over by walking stage. Good to know! Now I just need to finish this book by then
posted by moiraine at 11:47 PM on November 6, 2017

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