Family Magazine

Five on Friday: Girls Flying Solo

By Daisyjd

B started sailing many, many years ago (he grew up in Detroit on the water, he was intrigued by a small neighborhood sailing club) and it is a hobby that he has been really lucky to be able to continue through law school and adulthood. Sometimes I hesitate to write about it- could anything sound more yuppy or WASPy- but it is a pretty cool extracurricular if you ask me. During the height of sailing season he is gone for many Saturdays. Last summer I was really overwhelmed by this (as I’ve mentioned). The baby was small and still napped three times a day (making activities and errand running difficult), we only had one car (making logistics tricky) and so I ended up feeling grumpy and isolated. This summer B and I are making bigger efforts to make sure that we still get family time and I’m ensuring that Gracie and I fill our time with more than playing at home in our pajamas. Not that there is anything wrong with playing at home in pajamas. But here are some of my loose plans to fill our girl time before we head over to meet B post-sailing. Anyway, here goes Five on Friday.

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1. The solo meal out. Last night Gracie and I went out for a girls dinner while B was at pre-race meetings (weather reports? talking about rope tying? I have not a clue) and while this idea was awesome in theory it tanked in execution. The restaurant sat us in an awkward seat and somehow it wasn’t communicated to the server that we were there so almost 20 minutes went by before I flagged someone down and asked for water/milk/can we order please. That 20 minutes ate up a good portion of Gracie’s attention span so by the time the food came she was done. Next time we do this I’m going more low-key- Potbelly’s or Chipotle, something fast and easy. See also: happier times at the same restaurant.

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2. Swimming. We have access to a few pools (family/friends), the nearby beach and of course local Chicago Park District pools. You know who loves to play in the water? Gracie girl. It is time to say goodbye to the days of reading a magazine on the side, invest in a pool bag and some beach towels and get in. Although sol0-swimming sounds a little exhausting (I start thinking about wet bathing suits and diaper wrangling and sunscreening) I know the end result will be totally worth it. Look at that smile the first time I took her to the beach!

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3. Friends. This one is kind of obvious but I’m trying to get in the routine of inviting girlfriends over for Saturday afternoon lunch so we can catch up on the porch while Gracie naps after the food. It is harder and harder to get together in th evenings (childcare is such a buzzkill!) but I’ve found Saturday afternoon can be a great way to catch up with someone you miss. It also gives me a chance to make quiche. Who doesn’t love quiche? B, that is who. But ladies who lunch love quiche, in my non-expert opinion.

4. The farmers market/zoo duo. I’ve mentioned one million times over we are zoo members which gives us free parking in the always-congested Lincoln Park, but seriously it is such a great way to kill two birds with one stone. We head down to the zoo parking, meander through the zoo after the gates open but before the exhibits, which is prime animal watching time anyway (low crowds, lower temps, animals who are excited for breakfast/their trainers) and then hit up the market where we share split a fruit smoothie, grab fruit and veggies for the week ahead, listen to music and pet doggies. We swing by the farm zoo on the way back to the car, where we can watch cows (mmmmmm), sheep (baaaaaa) and goats (perplexed silence). It is an awesome way to spend our Saturday morning and has something in it for everyone. Just wait until you are older Gracie, we can graduate up to the fresh cinnamon sugar doughnut holes instead of fruit smoothies. Last fall she was very unimpressed by the market as you can tell, but she seems to dig it now.

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5. Old faithful- arts and crafts at home, splash table and bubbles at home, our local playgrounds. Now is the time to strip the baby to her diaper and let her play with paint and a roll of butcher paper, splash away to her hearts content on the front porch, or spend an hour at the playground just because. We had such a tough winter and none of these were options for entertainment (too cold, too cold, too cold) and now that it is warm enough I need to take full advantage.

I love that B has a hobby that he loves- he decompresses, enjoys himself, spends time with friends. The hobby has brought a lot of wonderful people and memories into our life, and I know we are both looking forward to Gracie’s first lessons. We had a lot of talks about B sailing after we started a family- there is a commitment to a team, and with that comes time away from home- but ultimately we both know that for everything B puts in, he (and we!) gets a lot more out. I also know that in a few years Gracie’s Saturdays will be filled with her own activities that don’t include me, so for now it is all about enjoying the time we have.


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