But Is It Fair?

One of the benefits of my job is that I’m able, now and again, to work from home to help cover childcare.  Since my company’s holiday party, I’ve been working from home to cover the kids – first the Monster, whose school has been out for nearly two weeks, and then R, because his school let out just before Christmas, just as the Monster’s “School’s Out” program at the JCC started.

Neither kid has really been ‘programmed’ while home with me, since still I have to work (obviously), but… tomorrow, the Maryland Science Center is doing a “Midnight Noon” event for the New Year and I’m taking the day off to go with R and my wife to it, after we drop the Monster at School’s Out.

But is that fair?

My wife asked the question when we were getting the Monster registered for the session.  Is it really fair to exclude the Monster from going to the program just because it’s “easier” for us to handle it when it’s just R with us, or because we can’t depend on how he’ll behave, how he might hold up?

I thought about this a lot before we finalized his registration.  (School’s Out is a day-by-day registration.)  And to me… the answer isn’t always really about “fair” or “not fair”.

The Monster, for starters, deals better with fewer moving parts.  He knows how the program at the JCC works, and the schedule is relatively fixed day-to-day, which works well with his need for organization.  There’s a fixed batch of things that he can expect – fine arts, sports, swimming, lunch, and people he knows.  The noise levels are a known, and the people there are all familiar with him enough to know when he’s signaling that he needs a break, and they all love having him there.  (As they tell me every time we pick him up.)

And going downtown isn’t guaranteed to be enjoyable to him.  There are things for him to do when we go down there, but since it’s a special day, there’s no assurances that we’re going to go do those things in specific.  Whether that may or may not set off a meltdown while we’re already downtown is already something to dissuade us, and given that it’s going to be New Years’ Eve and undoubtedly crowded…

There’s also R to be considered.  We do so many things where we have to tailor what we’re doing around the Monster’s needs and schedule, and we don’t get a lot of time for both of us to be with him, and for him to dictate what we’re doing.  (And believe me, our little threenager is very happy to be dictating.)  It might be easily argued that it’s more “fair” to him to give him a chance to enjoy this by himself…

It’s hard to fix a decision based on what is “fair” to either or both children.  I’m feeling fairly secure, though, about the decision to send the Monster to School’s Out (which he’ll enjoy) and take R to the science center (which he’ll hopefully enjoy)…

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