Since my goal at the end of all this blog shemozzle is to print off a book of these posts (maybe yearly?), I thought it would be fun to take a mental snapshot of life. Right now it seems impossible that some day I might forget all the little details that characterize day-to-day activities and routines. Hilarious bed-time antics, family dinners that regularly involve feeding stuffed animals, her little self-reprimands “No swiping, Abby. No Ma’am.” But if I stop for a minute I realize, hey…I already forget. Things like how many ounces a newborn should drink per day, and how to wrap a proper swaddle and the newborn smell. (Thankfully, I also forget the agony of sleep deprivation. Seriously – forget modern torture techniques – just put prisoners into a cell next to a newborn for a few nights and they’ll spill the beans on anything).
Deep down, I know this wonderful, quirky, although-I-complain-really-I-wouldn’t-trade-it-for-anything stage will eventually end too. One day preschool will replace naps, strollers will become tricycles…our little girl will grow up.
This family unit of ours has a unique dynamic in that both of us work-from-home the majority of the time. Aside from periodic week-long business trips by hubby, and a few hours a week where one of us has away-from-home-work-commitments, most everything else happens inside our four tiny walls. I know this lifestyle wouldn’t be for everyone – but we frequently comment on how much we love our setup. See we’re best friends, the hubby and I. And how cool is it to spend every day with your best friend, all while watching your very own flesh-and-blood learn to walk and talk and grow.
It was tempting to pick our busiest, most exciting day to document – you know, the rare one where I actually manage to get out of workout pants. But in the years to come, I think I’ll smile more at the little details of an average day…
6:15-7:15 At some point in this range we wake to hear the familiar “Mama, snuggle…Daddy, kisses” that quashes any lingering hope of sleeping in. Abby stays in her bed, with or without whining, until 6:30ish and then based on her mood (and ours), we’ll get up. When she wakes up/stays happy she gets a little sticker, and the last few weeks she’s been giving us more and more sleep-in days.
6:45-7:15 Her cup of milk and a stack of books and she’s good to go. My dear husband often, sacrificially, lets me stay in bed a bit longer. Abby loves, loves, loves this time of the day. She is just so content to explore all her toys, and basically just ignores us. Aside from my utter disdain for morning, this is my favourite time of the day too.
7:15-7:45 Breakfast. Cereal (Raisin Bran, without the raisins…she’s on a raisin strike), yogurt, parfaits, applesauce, toast, or scrambled eggs. Last week I made pancakes. By myself. For the first time…ever. Let’s not comment on the fact they were a just-add-water mix. Pancakes have always been the hubby’s domain. I intend to keep it that way, but can now cross “Make pancakes” off my bucket list.
8:00 By now, it’s time to get dressed for the day; then we play some more. Building blocks, colouring, hide-and-seek, and reading books are tried-and-true fav’s. These activities have just changed in complexity as she gets older (like now we name the colours of every block, and count how many we’ve stacked).
8:30-9:00 Independent playtime. Pure magic I tell you – and something we look forward to every day!
9:00-9:45 More play. Occasionally we watch a short YouTube video (especially these vidzforkidz videos). We’re pretty adamant about no (extended) TV viewing, but since we have a three monitor setup in our office for work purposes, this allows her to enjoy a few minutes of “screen time” while we can use another monitor to answer e-mails, get started on our work for the day all while being able to hold and snuggle her and interact with whatever Elmo video is playing.
9:45-11:30 Outings. Some days this just means walking outside to get the mail. It could also be church, Bible Study, Story Time, or the Farmers Market. In the summer, we went on daily (loooonnnggg) family walks, but Canadian winters are pretty harsh, so outside time has been more limited of late. Can’t wait for summer to get lots more outdoor play…
12:30-1:00 Nap prep. Finish lunch, change diaper, pick up toys, and wind down for a nap. We have this down to a science. Babywise principles have definitely helped set a good foundation for how well naps/bedtime goes. We recently dropped the soother, which seems to have made falling asleep even easier. We read a few books, sing a few songs, and then she lays down. After kisses from Daddy…we’re good to go. Last week, she decided to go on a nap strike – and this was the result. A nice, deep slumber on our afternoon walk. Baby eyelashes slay me every time. Maybe why I take so many sleeping pictures. Mickey’s ear gets a cameo (she kept a death-grip on him the whole nap).
1:00-3:00 Mommy/Daddy time. Sometimes this stretch is includes some down time – our Bible reading, responding to personal e-mails. Usually, though, it’s full-on work mode. We send e-mails, contact clients, manage spreadsheets, and make any calls that are too important (aka. require any concentration whatsoever) to handle with a little chatty sidekick chiming in. There is never enough time to accomplish all the tasks. We usually try to squeeze in some meal prep if we aren’t having leftovers. Once every few weeks, I’ll give in to the urge and take a nap.
2:30-3:00 Up from a nap. We used to leave her for a predetermined amount of time, but now that she wakes up wanting Mama or Daddy immediately or sooner, after letting her fuss a few minutes (she often does this in between sleep cycles and falls back to sleep) to make sure she’s actually not going to go back asleep, up she gets. Life’s too short to cry over short naps. Though I still do sometimes….
3:00-3:30 Snuggle time, milk.
3:30-5:00 Play/outing. If we didn’t walk in the morning, we generally go for a walk now (or at least play outside for a bit). Occasionally a playdate, errands, a pre-planned activity (making cookies together, playing with playdough, or colouring).
5:00-5:30 Final prep for supper. This can be sometimes be rough. Usually we’re all starting to get weary, and there are lots of requests for “Snuggle, Mama” which is infinitely more difficult when trying to stir pots and chop veggies and set tables. But other days, she just stands at the coffee table and alternates between talking to her stuffed animals, trying on her mittens, putting on boots (by herself), and reading the ever present books.
5:30-6:15 Supper. We always, always, always sit down for this meal together. We start with prayer – we all hold hands (she insists), and she is starting to close her eyes which is adorable. Amen is her favourite part. She’ll often request “Grace” multiple times during a meal, just so she can say “Amen”. Mealtimes are pretty smooth sailing. If she’s teething, she basically refuses to eat. If she’s not teething, she’ll eat until we pull the plug. We always try to include things she likes in each meal but, ultimately, what is served is what’s available. We don’t make two different meals. The result – a broad palate, including an appreciation for, get this, wasabi! She even wolfed down brussel sprouts last night. She has inherited a love for desserts too, so most evenings we top it off with some applesauce and a small cookie. More than anything, though, she loves dark chocolate.
6:15-6:45 Bath time. We usually bath/shower every other night. If she’s particularly tired/had a bad nap, she can go to bed as early as 6:30. Most nights it’s about 7:00.
7:00 She LOVES the time leading up to bedtime. She had a small sippy of milk, “reads” her books, and is just so happy and cheerful. She’ll hide in her room and then run out waiting for us to scare her (the kid LOVES to be scared). We brush teeth (not a favourite activity, and she voices her dissatisfaction LOUDLY), and then I tell her it’s bedtime. She runs, literally, to her bedroom. She pretends to fall asleep on the floors (sometimes complete with fake snoring), we open and close the door a few times for kicks, and then we snuggle. Singing is always involved (Only You, Edelweiss, Only a Boy Named David, and Twinkle, Twinkle are favourites; after each song, she always, always says “again”…). Then a quick prayer, and a plea for “Kisses, Daddy” (who has her laughing hysterically by the time he’s done saying goodnight).
7:00 – Ah, peace and quiet…we relax for a bit.
7:30-9:00 Usually we do some work. Sometimes paid tasks, like filtering through each inbox and handling any lingering issues that need sorting. We do house tasks too like dishes, cleaning, making grocery lists, phone calls.
9:00-10:00 More us/work time. Read a book, take a shower…
10:00-11:00 Watch TV. We love old sitcoms and usually watch an episode or two every night to unwind, talk about our day, make sure we’re up-to-date on the following days schedule, etc.,
11:00-11:15 Sometimes work necessitates being up this late; if so, after one final kitchen cleanup, chapter of a book, and a date with some toothpaste, it’s lights out.
Can’t imagine how much this schedule will evolve in the coming months and years, but so glad that we’ll always have such great memories of this cherished time in our lives.