For the month of July, Jasper is serving as a training baby for the Northwest Montessori Institute's Assistants to Infancy class. This means that he gets to go to a beautiful prepared environment every afternoon, play with some teachers-in-training, stare at some other babies, shake rattles along to songs played on guitar and autoharp, learn to eat politely at a table, and generally have a great time. It also means that he and I have a daily commute, 2.5 miles each way on the Yuba.
The scheduling is tight. The observation period is from 1:00 to 3:30, and it takes us a little over 25 minutes to make the trip, as it is all uphill. Jasper can only go about three hours between naps before he melts down entirely, so in order to make class go well I try to let him sleep as long as possible beforehand, waking him at 12:30, changing his diaper, and putting him straight into the bike. This, of course, structures the morning as well: he needs at least a two-hour nap, so we have to be up by 8:30 so that he can go down by 10:30 and be successfully up at 12:30. He does great at school, attention hog that he is, and loves staring at the students who stare at him. But by 3:30 he's usually hitting his limit, and he invariably cries when I put him back into the bike. Every day so far he's fallen asleep in the bike on the way home, which I then roll into the shade of our front yard fig tree and get myself some much-needed lunch while I wait out the rest of the nap.
We've been doing it for nearly two weeks so far, and I love the routine. The rush out the door is frustrating, and I'd like to learn to do it more smoothly, but I'm really enjoying having so much structure in our days. Plus, having a standard daily commute is making me noticeably stronger-- before this, I'd go longer than 5 miles when we rode, but we weren't riding every day.
What I didn't expect is that, in spite of delegating Jasper's care durning the school period, I'm still not getting much other work done. It turns out that watching Jasper and the other babies play with help from their teachers is pretty absorbing.