Sunday, February 8, 2009

It's Just Routine, Ma'am

Here at the Hotwheel Hacienda, we live and die round our routines. It's been that way ever since Finn was born, and I was reading mass quantities of parenting books like The Baby Whisperer, The Sleep Solution, and The Happiest Baby on the Block. (As a library professional, I tend to go a little overboard on the reading-to-be-prepared front.) All of these books had one common element - the value of routine in a baby/toddler/kid's life. 

Plus it makes them good sleepers. That was a KEY issue at our house. We might have become parents but sleep was the one commodity we were determined to hang on to... as best we could. 

So we stuck to the suggested methods and have very good sleepers, in their own beds, and at an early age. The only problem is, we have drilled their routine into them so well, Finn and Eli are.... er..., let's just say less than flexible. It's all well and good when we are able to plan around their routine, but if something unexpected or special happens it can be a major pain in the butt. 

When they were babies I was devout about the "5 B's" - bath, books, boobie/bottle, binky, bed. Now it's as follows:
  • Eat dinner around 5:30. Play until 6:30 or 7:00. 
  • Bath, done exactly the same way every night: Eli gets undressed, puts his clothes in the hamper and gets in the tub. We yell at Finn to GET-IN-HERE-RIGHT-NOW-THIS-IS-THE-4TH-TIME-WE'VE-ASKED-YOU. He gets undressed, puts his clothes in the hamper and gets in the tub. 
  • After the scrub down, Eli gets out, is wrapped in a towel and asks to be 'rocked like a baby'. We rock him while singing Wagon Wheel by OCMS and tickling him. 
  • Teeth are brushed, the whole thing is repeated for Finn, and both boys watch cartoons on our bed for 10 minutes before getting tucked in. 
  • It's is 8:00 PM, and Caleb and I have the rest of the night to unwind and have grown up time. Which we utilize by going to bed at 9:00 most nights. (Oh, the excitement!)
Same way... every night. There's even a Tucking In routine that if we don't follow exactly Finn goes to pieces. 

So that's great, right? 

Most of the time.

Except for when it's Christmas and there's a million shindigs we need to attend and they're all on one day and there's no time for the daily nap.  We either miss the shindig or have a horrible time because the boys are Pure Evil due to the missed nap. 

Or when my good friend Amy calls and says she scored free tickets to "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and would Finn and I like to double date with her and Kieran? And the show starts at 8:00 PM. If we go Finn will be all sleepy and unable to focus on following directions like "Don't run into the road" or "Stop climbing over your seat into the lap of that guy that looks like Grandaddy but really isn't." So we pass on the tickets. 

Or when cousin Anna is in a pageant and Eli and I are supposed to go, but it started at 4:30 and now it's 4:00 and Eli is still asleep and if I wake him up and rush to get there everyone in that room will be sorry and I will be that Poor Woman Who Can't Control Her Kid. So we miss the pageant. 

I'm hoping this is just the price all parents pay for having kids, that we can't do it all, and need to be selective about the things we decide to participate in, especially when they are 4 and 2. But that's hard to explain to family & friends when our presence is required. Sometimes it sounds like we're trying to get out of something or snub them. Actually, we're just trying to get by. 

If we have done this to you, our sincere apologies. If we haven't, just give us time - I'm sure we'll snub you soon enough. 


AmySandy said...

Aw, we hated that we didn't get to go on our double date with you. But I had to laugh when I read about bathtime. Both our boys would dive into the tub if we let them, but the GET-IN-HERE-RIGHT-NOW... that's standard for us when it's time to put on shoes, clean up toys, get in the car, etc. Ugh.

BiblioMom said...

I feel like I'm always getting by and taking it one day at a time. The sad part is I work with kids who have parents who, for many reasons, aren't even doing that.

I just had a "friend" de-friend me on Facebook because I'm supposedly not being a good friend to email constantly. At first I felt bad and then I thought, "Wait a moment. I'm a full time working single Mom of two kids and you're single with no kids and you're going to give me a guilt trip for NOT emailing you enough." Ridiculous.

Artist Unplugged said...

You are right, you can't do everything, I'm sure many have been disappointed but you know your own better than anyone else, so stick with the routine. Funny, even 15 year olds have some routine......

Jenny said...

That is the coolest song! I would say "I can't believe I've never heard it", but I can. I easily fall out of touch with the world around me -- for reasons not unlike what you just posted about. Add me to the list of folks who can't do it all -- though, my routines at home have taken a beating lately. The routine, for us lately, has become the UNroutine. Which really stinks.

Fairybookmother said...

Hot Wheel Mama, you are such a guru! I absolutely love peeking into the future of toddlerhood through your eyes. You know that you can't do it all, but I also see such great evidence that you do SO MUCH for those little dudes to give them happy & rich lives (memories of your pumpkin pictures float in my noggin). I can only hope to do as good of a job as you do when it's my turn! :)

Note to BiblioMom: people with such tedious agendas that they must keep their FB friends list weeded to a maximum potential of personal return are just plain narcissistic!!! And didn't Narcissus drown in his own watery reflection? You've got the more honorable platform of taking care of others AND yourself, kudos to you.

Name: The Bryant Family said...

I was so glad when I read the below statement,

"But it started at 4:30 and now it's 4:00 and Eli is still asleep and if I wake him up and rush to get there everyone in that room will be sorry and I will be that Poor Woman Who Can't Control Her Kid. So we miss the pageant."


BookMamma said...

Lee Anne - Missing nap totally stinks! You're damned if you do and damned if you don't. Ah, well. Let's keep telling ourselves they'll grow out of it as they get older.

And as soon as they actually DO grow out of it, we'll be too busy carting them off to soccer practice, and friend's houses!

BiblioMom- That wasn't very nice of your "friend".
I hope you don't feel bad about that. If you think you should try to keep her a friend, send her an email explaining & how you would still like to stay in touch. I've found some of my childfree friends honestly have no clue how busy I am, and really don't mean to be insensitive. But this one sounds kind of beyond hope! I mean, how hard is it to NOT defriend someone on Facebook?

Carol said...

I read all the baby books before my first came along and totally decided routine was the way forward. I had to get good sleepers, I need sleep to be a nice human.

My friend has kids the same age as mine and neither of hers sleep through the night even now because she never implemented routine and they are 3 and 4 and she is expected another in 2 months.

I'd rather deal with inflexibility and have a good nights sleep than be sleep deprived for the rest of my life.

The Patriot said...

Even though my wife and I started our life together with her 3yr old daughter, I was still ignorant on how to raise a child. Then we had two boys 11 months apart. We really didn't know what we were doing as far as giving our kids a routine. When the boys were not long on their feet, I would just stay up till they fell asleep, sometimes till midnight. Because when I put them in their beds, they would cry and cry. I couldn't take it. I talked to my mom about it, and she said that I should let them cry and they would soon figure out how to get themselves to sleep. It worked.

It was a rocky road, but now, after two more daughters, we have a pretty good routine, and they are doing great. My two youngest daughters, (4 and 2) get themselves up every morning around 6:45, while I am getting the boys and my step daughter ready for school. Except for the weekends, every day is the same. Homework (if any) shower/bath, brush teeth, story time, bedtime.

I just wish we had started a routine earlier on. It would have saved us a lot of frustration.

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