TO SUM UP: I HAVE SUCCUMBED TO THE DREADED 'NEED FOR ROUTINE'
I never would have EVER thought I would admit this but.... I LOVE ROUTINE! I used to shudder at the word! I still do a little bit because I am becoming one of those annoying mothers who believes the key to parenthood is routine but it truly is! I find it so reassuring, breaking the day up into little manageable segments so that its not a never ending chunk of hell to be survived instead of enjoyed. It's just about balancing it and remaining flexible. I still keep to my rule of taking every day as it comes and not thinking that I have managed to crack motherhood and therefore all will be forever easy and perfect. That's just impossible. One good day is just that, the next and all the ones after can and most probably will be a whole other story. But, the routine gives me a great chance of cutting out the needless worry and stressful crap. Here's a breakdown of our routine:
7am - 8am - Baby wakes up. We set up camp in the living room, TV comes to life and I change his nappy and leave him to enjoy the wonderfully educational 'Lorraine' on telly whilst I fix us both breakfast.
8.30am - We eat breakfast together - him, porridge and milk, me, couscous pancake with banana and blueberries and a hot chocolate (so yummy!)
9.15am - Morning nap time for baby whilst I have a bit of me time by watching tv, writing blogs, reading... sometimes I nap too, using the Jeremy Kyle show to bore me into a slumber.
10am - Baby wakes up and we have play time! Currently consists of me trying to get him to sit upright independently and stop chewing on everything he gets his hands on. Also encouraging him to try to roll over but his round tummy leaves him flailing about like an upturned turtle at the moment. We play what I call 'bouncy bounce', which involves him sitting astride my leg whilst I bounce him up and down to music. Then we escalate to full on dancing round the room which creates lots of smiles and giggles. We also do the housework together and he loves to watch me putting my makeup on whilst getting ready.
11 -11.30am - Elevenses consists of milk for him and a yogurt for me. Eaten whilst usually watching 'This Morning' which somehow captivates us for an hour.
12.30 pm - 'Loose Women' comes on and I realise I need to get out of the house and interact with adults before we both become Janet Street Porter. Get Baby washed and dressed then he screams at me to tell me he's tired again. Panic he's already copying Janet's grumpiness and put him down for nap time which allows me to organise his bag of equipment ready for going out into the world and then I finish any remaining housework.
1.15pm - Baby wakes up and notifies me of it being lunchtime by yelling consonants at me ie. 'MRRRRHHH!' Prepare pureed fruit and milk for him, sandwich for me.
2pm - 4.30pm - We head out and run errands. I do food shopping, pay bills, pick up the odd thing we might need but if there's nothing to do then I at least get out and go for a walk. It helps to get outside and not feel too isolated.
4.30pm - Get home and prepare dinner for all of us. Baby watches me cook as I talk him through each recipe in manner of 'Ready, Steady, Cook'. He seems to enjoy it from the way he flaps his arms and legs about in his bouncer and even answers me with coos and smiles from time to time.
5pm - Baby gets fed his dinner whilst ours cooks slowly in the oven. He devours two helpings of pureed veg, milk and some more fruit puree.
5.45pm - More play time, usually less vigorous so that he can wind down for the evening. Lots of books, soft toys and singing of Disney Songs.
6.15pm - I strip him down and let him lie on his changing mat and wriggle about. I read somewhere that when they are naked, they can feel their bodies more which encourages them to move about more easily. He seems to love it, and as long as he stays on his mat, any toilet mishaps aren't too troublesome!
6.30pm - Bath time! I run a bath with bubbles and rubber ducks, set up his towel, nappy, talc and clothes before scooping the little, naked ball of cuteness up and plonking him into the tub. Lots of chatting ensues, along with studious staring at hands and sporadic bouts of splashing and shouting. Smiles happen when I sing 'The Ugly Duckling Song', complete with rubber duck accompaniment in manner of puppet show. The end of the song signals that bath time is finished as I scoop him back out of the tub and wrap him in his towel like a Baby Burrito.
6.45pm - My smiley Baby Burrito turns into Satan as soon as he hits his changing mat and I get told off for not being quick enough with the talc, nappy and fresh pyjamas because his screams are saying ' I WANT MY BED NOW!!!!'. I put his milk on to warm whilst I get deafened and hurriedly check our dinner isn't burning.
7pm - Paul arrives home just as Satan hits the mattress and turns back into cute little bundle, who eagerly suckles his milk bottle, with one hand playing with his ear and the other curled around my little finger. He drifts off to sleep, I switch on his monitor and tip toe out of the room.
7.15pm - I finish making our dinner whilst Paul changes out of his work uniform and we sit down to eat, have an evening together and enjoy baby free time.
10/10.30pm - Bed time for us.
3am - Baby wakes up for a nappy change and a feed and goes back to sleep by 4am
7am - 8am - It all starts again!
Of course, this is a rough sketch and each day has it's differences depending on Baby's mood, the type of errands I run and Paul's schedule for work... But it's our main little routine framework and it works. I make sure to follow the evening routine religiously, wherever we are, as it really helps Baby to unwind and settle down for a good sleep. I'm waiting for his teething to truly hit us at night time as I'm sure that will make things interesting.... not to mention this month the clocks fall back an hour so I'm intrigued to see how that will affect things. And by intrigued I mean full of trepidation and dread but shall try to keep positive and not expect the worst! I have Netflix and hot chocolate at the ready for if we need to camp out in the living room until any restlessness passes....
Additional information and findings from this week:
- Baby loves to be thrown around. Any rough play gets met with giggles and smiles.
NOTE: Must never be done after Baby has eaten.... laundry pile is high enough.
- Cats and Baby have started to interact more. Lots of gorgeous moments where they have come and nuzzled Baby, who receives their furry affection by flapping arms and legs in delight before gently reaching out a still more than clumsy hand to pat them on the back/head/tail. They are very patient with him, especially with me murmuring encouragement to both parties to be 'Gentle' and after the moments pass, they get up and slink away, all pleased with themselves for braving to approach the gurgling tub of goo in the first place whilst said tub of goo looks after them with awe and wonder. So beautiful.
- Toys for babies of this age are pants. So we give him crinkly packets, plastic bottles and measuring spoons from the kitchen. Lakeland should link up with Toys'r'us.