I’ve mentioned before that my kids are early risers. They take turns being the earliest bird (6 or before) but one of them usually has me half conscious half an hour of more before my alarm clock is due to go off. Most people would probably be happy to sleep until 6 or 6:30 but for this night owl, it’s hard to break old habits. I try forcing myself to sleep but often to no avail. I’ve read so many mom tips about beating your kids awake so that you have a few minutes of solitude but that’s a race I haven’t won often (twice, actually). I don’t know if it’s just me but when the kids are awake it’s like our family’s version of beat the clock. We’ve tried to teach independent play but somehow the lesson fell on deaf ears. Sometimes (ok, a lot) I’ll tell the kids I’m going to check the laundry only to be distracted by the phone ringing or Dexter needing to go outside. When they “catch me” off task I feel myself start to give excuses, to a three year old. I mean honestly, who does that? Me, apparently. I had always heard jokes about not going to the bathroom alone when you’re a mom but I didn’t know how true it was but it’s not just about the bathroom. Pouring a drink, putting clothes away, and washing dishes suddenly become the most fascinating thing in the world with my crew when faced with the grim possibility of alone time. Please don’t misunderstand, I love including my kiddos whenever and wherever I can but as far as “idle tasks” plain and simple, they ain’t having it. Unapproved pastimes include reading a book, an article or blog post, making multiple phone calls and sitting for an extended period to eat. I’m learning though that small things grow into bigger ones. Pages become chapters, and chapter books. So each page I read during the day I’m considering an accomplishment and slowly but surely we’re incorporating independent play into our days….heavy on the slowly.