Monday, March 18, 2013

Back in the swing of things

We've recently returned from a vacation to Oklahoma, which I blogged about here, and have now completely unpacked and gotten back into the routine of life. I feel as though we are starting to hit our groove with this work/life/daycare/fun time balance. Our days are pretty structured, but I have committed us to less (in my opinion) however if you were to ask my husband he may have a different answer. I am feeling somewhat more in control of our lives, which sounds laughable and naïve I know, but who knows - maybe we may actually be getting the hang of this parenting thing after all?

Our days look something like this: 6am wakeup for myself and the Babe (some days it's closer to 7am for her), a bottle and snuggle time for her with Daddy while I get ready for work, finish making her lunch and coffee for us and breakfast for me, 7am I am out of the house and the Babe is sitting down to breakfast with Daddy. Once we figured out that my husband was going to be the one taking her to daycare, my stress level decreased immensely as I no longer ran around the house like a screaming banshee trying to dress her, feed her, get out the door and into the car and to daycare on time. The day goes on normally from there while we are at work, and then I pick up the Babe sometime around 4:45pm. We head home, having a one-way conversation about our respective days. Me talking while she checks out the scenery. Sometimes we sing. Sometimes she cries. That's usually when the radio goes on, volume dependent on the level of crying. 5pm We get home quickly, and begin the dinner preparations. If I've meal-planned well (which I am getting better at), then dinner is usually a short process as everything is purchased and prepped on the Sunday prior to the week. If I haven't meal-planned well, I'm fumbling around attempting to chop and mix a million things while the Babe opens drawers and flings Tupperware around at my feet, creating a small obstacle course for me to dance around to get to the stove. Somedays, the Tupperware gets the boot. Other days, the dog by accident if she's underfoot. Once dinner is ready, the Babe and I eat together, sometimes joined by my husband if he's home in time. This is dependent on his worksite, as it's ever-changing.

If we finish dinner early, we play with toys for awhile, sometimes have a run around the hallway or bang on pots and pans in the kitchen. We rarely put the entire Tupperware obstacle course away, and I'm often left lid-less when packing dinner away for lunches. I suddenly understand how people end up with so many Rubbermaid containers. The lids seem to get up and walk right out of the house, choosing the life less lived. 6:30pm we're heading for the bath, the Babe in the bath and me or Daddy sitting beside the tub, trying not to check Facebook and to continue to engage with our child. My "no cell phones from 5-7" rule works better on some nights than others. Damned you Pinterest and all your tasty slow cooker recipe ideas! And stop it friends, stop pinning even more cute outfit ideas which I must catalogue before they disappear off my screen, pushed down by calligraphy and wedding ideas of other friends. After the bath we sit quietly in the living room with a bottle. This used to be a calming zen time for the Babe and I, but lately she's become squirmy and chooses to walk around or on the couch, bottle clenched between her teeth. It's sometimes a fight to get her to finish it, but not as long of a fight now that we've dropped to 4oz of milk from 6oz. Two pee-soaked mornings and the idea of lessening her fluid intake at night became quiet appealing! Most nights it's Daddy putting her to bed, but some nights it's me. We put on the sleep sack (when is she too big for these?) read a story, sing a song, turn on the ocean sounds and down to bed. A good night wish and I'm out of there, usually no later than 7pm.

I wish this is when adult time began (deep conversation, a cuddle on the couch watching HBO, reading together in front of the fire) but it's usually just back to the kitchen to do the dishes, clean the counters, pack the lunches, throw on a load of laundry, and then I'll take a shower to give myself more time to get ready in the morning. Add in a weekly run with a friend, soccer for me and a softball or hockey game for my husband, and that's our routine.

Whew, I'm tired just writing it. But I am a creature of habit, and once I get in a routine, I like being there. This is both good and bad depending on who you ask. I'm working on leaving the weekends open, so we can spontaneously go to the park, zoo, a family member's house or even, gasp, clean the house! That last one rarely happens. I'll be the first to admit that other trying to keep down the clutter, my cleaning regimine is non-existent. We have a cleaning woman in once a month so nothing goes too long without being disinfected  however I don't do much in between her visits. Frankly I don't have the time and I'd rather be taking the Babe on a walk with our fat beagle. We all could use the walk more than a cleaner house ;)

I think it's the meal-planning and the help from my husband that has saved us. Before the morning routine was sorted, and I was making meals up as I went, my stress level was crazy high. I felt I was neglecting everyone and everything, most of all the Babe. But now I leave the house in the morning with a daughter who's blowing kisses at me while her dad makes her scrambled eggs. It keeps me smiling all day until I see her little face at daycare, banging on the door when she sees me walking up to get her. Ahhhh ain't life grand?

~ H

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