There has been a change in the tempo of our days lately. Dave was caught in the latest round of layoffs at his company. This is not an immediate financial issue for us, since we’ve been fairly conservative in our finances. More to the point, we built up a substantial amount of savings last summer for adding insulation to the house; which project, for a variety of reasons, didn’t quite happen. Up until Dave lost his job I was a bit impatient at the delay. Now having that cushion just makes us look incredibly foresightful and responsible.

In any case, we are doing our best to look at the situation as an opportunity. Although it’s true that having a steady income has a certain appeal, it’s also true that it can be good to get an occasional chance to stop, take stock, and perhaps change direction. Dave has been spending his time at home polishing his resume, true. But he’s also taken the opportunity to work on some personal programming projects.

This, of course, involves doing programming at home. And that is not a trivial undertaking. Since it’s still winter and the kids spend most of their time inside, there is always something going on around here. Personally I’ve pretty much given up the idea of doing any programming, writing, or anything else involving serious concentration. Maybe when the kids are older. Or leave home. (This post is getting written with the aid of some play dough. I figure that gives me fifteen minutes or so, assuming they don’t get the bright idea to start throwing it.) But Dave appears to be better than I am at filtering out interruptions, and we’re doing our best to structure the day so that he can get good programming time in each day.

Nathan and Ryan have very quickly adapted to having their father home all day. But it hasn’t really changed their expectations of me. The notion of me as the primary caregiver is too deeply ingrained; when they want something, they come to me, almost without exception. This is good for supporting Dave’s concentration, but I have to admit that sometimes I wish they weren’t quite so adamant about preferring me. When Ryan is tired he often refuses Dave’s help altogether, even with Dave standing right there offering it. “No! Mommy!” he yells. Apparently I’m the only one with the right technique to lift him down from his chair, or get him a drink, or any of a hundred other trivial little tasks that happen daily. I guess it’s good to be needed.

My absolute favorite part of this arrangement is that it’s now possible for me to leave the house with only one kid. It’s so, so much easier doing errands with just one little guy along, for example. And Ryan’s penchant for taking walks is so much greater than Nathan’s; he and I have gone out multiple times, just the two of us. I really enjoy spending that one-on-one time with my boys.