Things that are working

I want to take a moment to jot down some of the things I am doing that are working for us, more to solidify it in my mind than to offer anything as advice, and in case any of it is of interest.

Our updated schedule is the first thing I want to mention. Updated to promote a 3-meals-a-day flow for S, a flow that matches ours. It’s so cool to “integrate” with him, to see our rivers become one. Three meals, two snacks, one permanent naptime, and two flexible naptimes. I used to be a Managing Editor of magazines and books, but none of that was as challenging as creating a part-baby-led, part-parent-led schedule for a munchkin whose needs are ever-changing!

Here it is:

Between 6:40 and 7:00 AM: Baby wakes up.

7:00 to 7:30 AM: 8 oz bottle.

Baby, DH, and I gather on the living room rug for feeding S his first bottle, rolling around, stretching, playing, talking, tickling.

7:30 to 8:00 AMBreakfast. 

I make S and I a bowl of grains, usually quinoa or millet or oatmeal, with coconut milk. Fruit (berries, peaches, banana) will either be mashed and swirled into the grains or served whole. Sometimes we eat on the living room floor, sometimes on the front porch. Neither of us wants to sit at the table yet.

8:00 to 10:00 AMMorning nap.

Me-time. I catch up on social media and texts, make plans with other moms, take a shower, dress, do a little yoga, write a blog post (like right now). I also do a bit of housework.

10:00 to 10:30 AM: Free time. 

If I’ve really got my act together, we go for a walk in the neighborhood. But usually we play while I finish up getting ready for the day—bottles filled, diaper bag packed, etc. S will hang out in the activity center and I will try to blend my tasks together with playing with him—a fine art! Music helps—singing and dancing. If I’m doing the dishes, I hand him wooden spoons and whisks and spatulas, which are great favorites.

10:30 to 11:00 AM: Snack. 1 – 2 oz bottle + snack.

Yogurt, cottage cheese, fruit, veg, or somesuch, plus an organic teething biscuit. Sometimes interspersed with a walk.

11:00 AM to 12:00 or 12:30 PMFree time. 

Anything goes. We might go for a walk, play in the yard, read books. He might “help” me look at recipes and create grocery lists. Or sometimes we get on the road to go somewhere for an errand and then lunch.

Most days he takes another snooze right before lunch. This will sometimes push lunchtime to 12:45 or 1:00.

On Tuesdays, this time is used to make batches homemade baby food, which is oftentimes stuff DH and I will eat too. (We’re doing a combination of finger foods—following baby-led weaning—mashed, and heavily thickened purees right now, but his eating abilities change rapidly.) I might even manage to throw something in the crockpot for dinner. As I’m making the food, I’ll show S each step—the peas and kale in the frying pan, the peas and kale after being blended—and let him taste each thing I make.

12:00 or 12:30 to 12:45 or 1:00 PM: Midday nap.

12:45 or 1:00 PM: Lunch. 8 oz bottle + Lunch.

Lately we’ve been going out to lunch together almost every day, either just the two of us or with another mom and baby (or a few other moms and babies). I look forward to it (but it gets expensive!). It’s so stimulating for him to see new places, new faces, to interact with people while he’s having his meal. We’ve gone to Thai restaurants, sushi restaurants, farm-to-table, seafood, southern, diners, pubs, Mexican, French, Indian, on-the-beach, on-the-harbor, in-the-city–really just about every kind of restaurant you can imagine. I usually am able to find something I can give to S as-is or modified a bit, and he eats that plus whatever homecooked thing we’ve brought for him. We use a high chair, and I sit him at the end of the table. I eat with him. I try to be sure to give him some protein—lentils, beans, tofu, egg, chicken—during this meal, along with a starch and a green vegetable. He will end up in my lap by the end of the meal, and that’s where he finishes his bottle, snuggled in the crook of my arm. He makes lots of friends at lunchtime and oftentimes a few people there—staff, patrons—know his name by the time we leave.

1:30 to 5:30 PM: Flexible activity time and nap time and snack time. 

We are usually out and about at this time, doing an outdoor or indoor activity of some sort, and socializing. Gymboree class is still his huge favorite—so fun for both of us. I’ve met some very cool mamas there. Sometimes our lunch spot is also our activity spot—like our local beach, where they have this great old waterside restaurant with a breezy patio. Sometimes we go to a friend’s pool. I’ve organized a few big events involving as many as ten moms and babies (!) at parks and beaches. I’m also about to organize and guide a Women’s Circle at my yoga studio (after baby bedtimes) if there is enough interest.

He will nap at some point during this slot.

Sometimes he will nap twice during this slot—once at some point between 2 – 4, another time at some point between 3 – 5:30.

Sometimes he falls asleep on the drive home from wherever, and I am able to extract him from car seat and carry him up the stairs to our apartment and his crib without waking him, and he finishes his nap there.

Between 3:30 and 4:30 PMSnack. 1-2 oz bottle + snack.

This is usually the slot when a snack happens.

5:00 to 6:00 PMDinner prep.

This is the magical moment when DADA comes home. DADA!!! S is SO happy to see his Dada. They play in the living room while I make dinner.

On Mondays, S and I go to the grocery store during the day (we usually actually end up going more than once a week, but Monday is the big shop) and on those days I am often too exhausted to prepare dinner. Either Dada will make something or we’ll order something.

On Tuesdays, DH and S have Guys Night Out. DH, my sweet husband, takes S “out on the town” or to our local beach, and they have dinner and one-on-one time, while Mama takes a bath or does something else relaxing.  Occasionally Guys Night Out also happens on Thursdays, but usually my husband looks so exhausted that I say, “Why don’t you guys just stay here tonight.”

6:00 to 7:00 PMDinner. 8 oz bottle + dinner.

The three of us eat dinner together either at the table or “living room picnic” style on a blanket on the floor.

Or we go out on the town. We do this a few times a week. Fun! We’ve been taking him out to dinner with us since he was a newborn, so at this point, he has a really good idea of how the whole thing goes. He’s either in a high chair or on our laps.

7:15 PM: Finish bottle and take bath and read stories.

This is the sweet/insane time when S is either so amped from being with us that he does epic squirming moves during diaper and pj changes, or he is so exhausted that he cannot stop rubbing his eyes and throwing back his head with moans. There is a LOT of wriggling. We might do carpet acrobatics and parental jungle gym and mirror-time with Dada. The three of us read Time for Bed and Pajama Time. I give massages and rubs. He is very upset when I put him in his crib, but he usually settles down. Sometimes I go back in for a couple of more cuddles, or to wipe his forehead with a cold wash cloth, or to give him something to chew or suck on for his teething pain (he now has SIX teeth—wha??).

Oftentimes, I will take a bubble bath with him while he finishes his bottle, before pj and book. We play with toys and bath books and he snuggles in my arms.

7:30 PM: Asleep time.

7:30 to 10:30 or midnight: Us time. Yoga class time.

You would think I would get all sorts of things done during this time that are personally fulfilling. Um, not really. I try. But I am EXHAUSTED. The range of activities is this: Take bath while staring into space; watch Silicon Valley with DH; ask DH if he wants to have sex and find out he is too tired; get asked by DH to have sex and admit that I cannot keep my eyes open; DO DISHES LOTS AND LOTS OF DISHES FOREVER AND ALWAYS; do laundry; put away laundry; read a tiny amount of some sort of book written about adults and for adults before falling asleep with my mouth open; email people and do FB stuff while worrying that I am wasting my precious time on social media…

But I am going to yoga. Two, sometimes three, times a week! Hurray!!!

7:30 – 9:30 on Tuesdays and ThursdaysYoga class for me.

Lately I’ve been having a great deal of appreciation for my body during these yoga classes. I see a montage of all the things my body has carried me through for 41 years and once, during final resting pose, I had the thought: Holy shit! How am I not dead! Because this body has been through a lot of adventuring and trauma and pain and joy and travel and exercise and partying and sex and hiking and swimming and exploring and writing and meditating and laughing and crying and birthing…well, that’s what the slideshow of images is like. One image after another of all these things I have done and places I have been. I guess sort of like having my life flash before my eyes, except I don’t die at the end of it.

I’ve been trying to finish this post for a week now so I’d better just press publish before it gets any longer. More “Things That Are Working” coming soon.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Sounds like the best of days!

    Reply
  2. Love this! You have settled into mommyhood nicely. Love that you aremamomg time for yourself with yoga :)

    Reply
  3. Davidah

     /  August 9, 2015

    Wonderful! DH and I made a pledge early on in our marriage that sex was more important than sleep. We managed to stick to this through the early kid years and now that our kids are older (high school age and older elementary), our marriage is still very strong (at a time when a lot of friends are divorcing).

    Love your posts!

    Reply
  4. I want to be your kid based in this post! That is what I thought the whole time reading this… We need to get outside more that is for sure, but it sounds like you all are having a much better time and you are able to fill up your soul a little more. ❤

    Reply

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