We are settling into a bit of a schedule nowadays so I figured I would document a typical day for us. By typical I simply mean the most common occurrence. It is by no means always like this, or even normally like this. Hell sometimes it is only like this 2 days out of the week, but those are the only two days that are even remotely similar so we'll go ahead and call them 'alike' and group them together under the grand over-rated heading of 'schedule'.
6 am: Alice's bloodline is beginning to rear its early waking head. My grandparent's genes, buried so deeply inside me, seem to be front and center in Alice. I try to talk her into going back to sleep by flashing a boob at her as I pull her from her crib to my bed which she happily takes. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed she has breakfast in bed with me while I snooze.
7 am: I get up to change her diaper and hand her over to Tim. They greet the day while I go back to sleep for a bit. I hear tell of some Nick Jr. watching, epic Exersaucer playtimes, Tummy time in her playroom (once her bedroom) and Baby Bjorn back porch tours.
8:30 am: Nap-ready, Alice rejoins me in bed. Tim gets ready for work while I nurse Alice and we both grab some ZZZ's. If I am lucky, her morning nap lasts an hour.
9:30 am: We get out of bed. Well, I get out of bed. Every morning I lay Alice's head up on the pillows and float the sheets up over her while I make her into the bed. She loves this and flails her arms up while they are coming down and then pops them over and out as soon as it lands. She looks just like a big person in bed, laying there with her head on a pillow all tucked in. She is just reaching out in anticipatory 'pick me up' gestures so I sweep her up and we go in her room for a quick diaper change before getting dressed and heading into the kitchen for breakfast. I turn on some music and we hang out at the kitchen table together, me with my coffee and yogurt and her with some sort of fruit in her little feeder thingy. We'll just look out the window, our cat Scraps gives us a good show by chasing her tail, or I'll read Alice the latest National Geographic issue (she loves being read and looking at the photos) or a gardening catalog. After a bit, we will go into the living room. Alice hangs in her Exersaucer and gums her raspberry nubby thing (teething, poor girl) while watching Let's Make a Deal while I check my email.
11 am: Nurse and nap. I have been trying not to nurse her right before sleeping time so we don't get into a expectant dependance on it but sometimes it is a valuable tool in my arsnal of things used to lure Alice to sleep. So, I nurse her and see how sleepy she is. Sometimes she falls asleep directly after nursing, in my arms and I just lay her down in the crib next to our bed. Other times I have to bounce her sleepy against my chest while she sucks on my pinkie. Then I lay her down on her side and she drifts off. If I am lucky, putting her down only takes 5-10 minutes and once she is out I take our video monitor in the bathroom with me while I take a quick bath. Her naps can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours. Usually this one is only 30 minutes.
11:30 am: Alice wakes up and hangs out in the crib while I get dressed and chat with her. She likes to play with Lima bear (a bear from a sweater my mom made her) or a teething ring while she adjusts to being awake. Then we get up and change her diaper.
Noon: Either we leave the house or stay in, depending on her mood. From 12-3pm Alice has an aptitude for fussiness. Usually around this time I utter phrases like, "Did I accidentally put your fussy pants on this morning?" "Hmmm, it seems like there were a few more ZZZ's left on that last nap." and "Oy Vey." Everything or nothing has an equal chance of working. This is the most difficult chunk of our day together and I display the earmarks of a mother whose child was colicky ie: panic that it is returning and doing anything to avoid her crying at all costs. We nurse. I turn on some music and dance her around while singing. We also listen to old Motown, Buddy Holly, Billie Holiday, Sinatra, Patsy Cline, and Elvis. She is lucky I know the words to every Beatles song ever. Alice loves watching me dance, snap, and clap. Sometimes this will put her in a good enough mood where I can put her in the Johnny Jump up and do the dishes or make some lunch. Other times, we just look out the window or abandon the plan completely and go on the back porch and I explain how wonderful everything will look in the spring time when my garden is going strong and how much fun we will have in the summertime when we can blow up the pool and go swimming while the laundry is hanging out in the sunshine. But in reality we are looking at the blue recycling bag flutter around in the wind because all my plants are dead, rotting skeletons and Scraps has pooped in my wooden planters.
2:30 pm: Nurse and I try to talk Alice into taking a long nap to get the stick out of her rear end. If she takes a nap longer than 30 minutes it is usually at this time. Sometimes an hour and a half, sometimes she doesn't wake up until 5pm. If we are still home, I get ready to leave the house just in case she wakes up by making grocery lists and getting everything on stand by ie: coat pockets packed, reusable bags ready, diapers and wipes, Alice's carrier ready and my shoes on.
4 pm: Alice wakes up, gets changed, nursed, and strapped into the carrier. We layer up and leave the house to run errands or just get some air. Weather permitting, we stroll through our gorgeous McGlorick park and stop to watch the dogs play in the dog park. Sometimes we walk further through Greenpoint and into Williamsburg to get a bubble tea or something equally lovely and just as unnecessary, just some excuse to have some sort of destination. Alice is a hardcore people watcher so she enjoys the trip to and from pretty much anywhere. Usually we are gone about 1.5-2 hours and she takes a 30 minute nap in the carrier on the way back home.
5:30-6 pm: Nurse Alice and prep stuff for dinner. Alice sits in her highchair (a portable things that clamps onto the end of our table) and plays with some toys while I chop whatever it is we are cooking that evening. Some of her favorite toys right now include a yellow rubber duck that came on the top of a cupcake that Tim brought home for me when his office had a daddy shower for him, a wooden teething ring, a 6" tall brown rabbit made from canvas and wearing the cutest romper you have ever seen, and the lid from a can of Quaker Oats- an affair that began accidentally one day when I was baking oatmeal cookies.
6:30-7 pm: Tim comes home. If it is bath night we immediately give her a bath and get her PJ's on. She hates getting dressed so it is best not to leave this task until she is tired. Then Tim puts her in the Bjorn and hangs out with her while we catch up and I cook dinner. Sometimes Alice eats with us, sometimes I put her to bed in the middle of cooking and Tim finishes dinner. Other times she is asleep before we begin cooking.
7:30-8 pm: Nurse again and put Alice to bed. For us this can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes and involves bouncing in various positions, pinkie sucking, humming and shhhhing. I hang out with Tim for a few hours once Alice falls asleep.
10 pm: I go to sleep. (Although sometimes not until 11 pm and I nurse Alice then rather than waiting for her to wake up later.)
12:30 am: Alice wakes up and I pull her into bed with me. She nurses and falls back asleep. I lean over and put her back in her crib. Sometimes she sporadically begins rustling around and before she wakes up, I reach my arm over and she settles back down from sucking my pinkie. These are unusual wakings as they are not related to hunger or loneliness. She seems to be dreaming? I am certain she isn't really awake as her eyes are completely closed and she settles back down immediately.
4:30 am: Again we nurse in my bed and fall back asleep. I put her back in her crib.
6:00 am: Alice rustles herself awake and I use nursing as a weapon against full-on upness. As described above, it rarely works as she seems to be an early riser.
And there you have it. One of the things I have been struggling with as a parent is the idea of feeling like I now what I am doing. With so much information out there about how-to and this-is-best and I-know-what-I-am-talking-about it is overwhelming because everything seems so definitive. Like, here's how you do this and here's how to get your child to sleep, and soothe and whatever else and to date extremely little of it has actually applied to Alice. But seriously, she can't be that different from everyone else's child (?) so I have come to the long awaited conclusion that everyone who gives parenting advise is just full of shit. I am amazed that there are so many books on a subject that is so completely subjective, personal, and ever-changing. The enormity of the parenting section at the bookstore may simply reflect the desperate demand of your everyday parent to try to figure out how to do this, rather than there actuallybeing a way to do this. Anyway, around here we are becoming instinctual, go with the flow, baby steps in an eventual direction, try to be consistent but don't get bent out of shape and remember to laugh, love, and enjoy kind of people.