The nice thing about parenthood is while the initial jump is huge, you are eased in at the same time. Newborns sleep a lot and need basically no entertainment or other care besides feeding and changing (this is obviously a generalization and not true for every baby).
The thought of Dave going back to work after we brought Sam home often brought me to tears. What would I do all day? But you know, I figured it out. I don't have to fill every minute of the day; there is nap time and lunch time and bath time and travel time and running errands and baby down time and really, only a small portion of the day is filled with time where I am actively playing or entertaining with him and where he want or need that. (or at least, that is my take on it)
I think it's different when you're babysitting and when it's your child. You know your child and what they can and can't do and feel comfortable letting them hang out alone. And one thing we want our children to be able to do is entertain themselves, and Sam is a pro at that. Sometimes I feel slightly bad (but not guilty) that we aren't doing all those structured activities that they list on the internet to do with your children and I keep thinking that I will look some up to do...but I'm not sure I will get to it just yet. He seems to be learning all his skillz just fine. Plus, filling a box with beans and letting him use his developing sensory blah blah blah just sounds like a bad idea to me. Maybe later, when he doesn't eat everything.
At the beginning of the year, I read this post on alphamom that I loved:
"In other words, babies are EASY. One day he’ll be a toddler and will demand constant chasing and supervision and will wake up every morning and ask for “Shoes? Car? Bye?” over and over because he wants to GO somewhere and DO something and you’ll long for the days when all he wanted was a cozy blanket on the floor with a prime view of the ceiling fan."
Sam is past being content lying on the floor, but he is content sometimes to sit in the corner and play with his books. And when he wants your attention, he will definitely let you know. So he isn't ever ignored (well...), but I do let him carry on when he's happy to hang out alone because, well, you know, I'd be kind of crazy not too. And sometimes I go to play or read with him and he grabs the book and turns his back to me like "I got this mom, thanks." oooooookay. I can't remember the last time he let me finish.
We still haven't reached the part that I'm nervous about, where he can walk and talk and tell me what he wants, repeatedly. (crawling and wordless whining is the warm-up act, I guess) When he knows how to actually play with things in a way other than throwing, eating or clapping. But perhaps I will be surprised to find that it isn't as hard as I thought it would be and it will be fun. They only constantly want your attention for a few years in their whole life, right? All kids are different and I'm sure a few of you with older kids are rolling your eyes at my naivete, but hey, I am a first-timer.
some days look like this: