Monday, August 20, 2012

Curling Child Care

This post really isn't so much about curling as it is about logistics. When you're a couple of parents who enjoy curling, and also happen to enjoy curling with each other (that's not true for every couple), how do you make that happen? And is it worth it?

I've talked about this before, but we've decided it's not worth it to get a babysitter every week during the "regular curling season". So, I curl in the Friday league, and Amber curls in the Sunday league. (By the way, we're very fortunate that the Triangle Curling Club can now support two leagues. What would we have done pre-2010 when the club only curled once a week?) But during this month's bonspiel adventures, we did want to curl together; same goes for the other half of our team, Justin and Tabby, who also have a young child (8 months old).

How'd we work that out? For the Carolina Classic (at home), our first game was Friday at 11 AM, so we simply took Marla to her normal day care in the morning, just like always. Easy! But for the remaining four games, since Amber and Tabby were alternating games, the plan was for whoever was sitting out to watch both kids during the game.

That worked out...okay. The nice thing was that occasionally, other people from the would be around and want to help out with the "baby care" so that the designated babysitter wasn't too overwhelmed. (A big thank you to those that did!) But once the games are over and we're off the ice, it's back to being parents, and as such, we didn't really have a chance to socialize after the games as much as we otherwise would have. And, we hardly helped the club out at all with the running of the Classic, which we did quite a bit in years past.

When we went to Charlotte, we had a different plan, one that might help us "enjoy" the bonspiel experience a little more. Even though there was on-site day care within the rink, we decided it might be better to get an "off-site" babysitter so that we could socialize more before and after the games. (Socializing is one of the best parts of bonspieling.) This was a bit more expensive, but we were able to share the cost between all of us, at least ($12/hour for the two kids, and we ended up doing about 16 hours total for the weekend). I think it was worth it. Things didn't seem quite as overwhelming in Charlotte.

However...if you have an 8 PM game (as we did on Friday), then you're going to mess up bed time a little bit. Marla's usual bed time is 7, and she apparently slept pretty well from 7 until 11. But once we had to pick her up after our game and take her to back our hotel for the night, well...she did not want to go back to sleep. Maybe by 2 or 3 AM or so, we finally got her to sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time. So, the result was (at least) two pretty tired parents on Saturday. Aside from losing both of our Saturday games, we also feel like we missed out on, you know, being "awake and alert" that day.

Saturday night was better for Marla's sleep schedule, because we picked up Marla around 6 PM and took her to the bonspiel banquet with us, but since Marla was with us, that also meant leaving the banquet at 8, much earlier than everyone else. But she did sleep better the second night.

You always hear about "the sacrifices" parents make, right? Well, here you go. From 2007-2010, 102 of my 119 games (86%) were with Amber on my team; in 2011-2012, only 15 of my 75 games (20%) were with Amber (7 of 66 before this month). And leaving the banquet early really felt like we were missing out on all the fun, but you know, I think we're still doing a lot more than many young parents do. Some couples that were in our curling club stopped curling altogether once they had kids. And it's not that we're curling less post-Marla, necessarily; it's that we're able to curl together much less, and that traveling out of town to curl together is now much harder, to the point where we need to re-evaluate things. When will we go out of town to a bonspiel again? I'm not sure.

Also, I'm pretty sure I was a better curler pre-Marla than I am now, perhaps due to sleep deprivation. My career record as a Skip - the position where concentration is, by far, most important - is 27-13 pre-Marla, and 8-17 post-Marla. Maybe it's not fair to blame Marla for that, but...wow! Well, regardless, Marla is worth it. But I think the moral of the story is, if you're my age and want to be a really good curler, don't have children. (Note: Debbie McCormick does not have any children.)

Well, maybe one day, Marla and kid number two* will be able to go curling with us when we travel! That'll be fun.

(* - There was some confusion last time I made a reference to "kid number two", as if we were already preheating the oven, so to speak. So just to clarify...NO, Amber is NOT pregnant again, and it'll be a while.)

1 comment:

amber said...

I'd also like to point out that keeping Marla with a sitter each day rather than bringing her to the hourly day care center at the rink wasn't just a matter of us wanting to socialize more or pay less for childcare - I think it was genuinely better for Marla than what we'd worked out at our home rink the week before. Marla is immensely happier when she can stay on a schedule and is in a more laid back atmosphere. Keeping her in someone's home with another baby and two older kids (3 and 6) provided just the right amount interesting stuff going on while allowing her to eat and nap on her usual schedule. We also got video/text updates throughout the day, which was an added bonus!