I’m three weeks into being back at work and I am finally getting into a groove. Most of the time our days look something like this:
5:30-6:00—Hutch wakes up crying in the next room over. In the morning he always wakes up crying, never babbling happily. (Or maybe he does babble happily for awhile and only cries when we don’t come for him… All I know is I am dead to the world until I hear those tiny desperate shrieks, and then my day begins.)
5:31—Kyle or I get Hutch, change his diaper, get him a bottle, and bring him back to bed with us where he proceeds to maul our faces or the blinds for the next hour, punctuated in nine-minute intervals by the sound of Kyle’s alarm. Kyle snoozes his alarm seven or eight times before he finally gets up in the morning. I hate it. It’s the worst part of my day. If things ever don’t work out between the two of us I can guarantee the couple’s therapist will pinpoint Kyle’s absurdly long wake-up routine and my inability to cope with it as the main cause for our marital troubles.
6:30—As a confirmed non-morning person, I was depressed to realize that my day really does go better if I just get up at 6:30 and face the day. If I buck up and do this, Hutch is usually tired out and ready for a nap by 9:00. If I don’t and instead fight with Hutch to go back to sleep until 9:00, naptime doesn’t come until 1 and then lasts so long he doesn’t get tired again at night until like 8 or 9 and it takes close to an hour to get him to bed, and the day is just completely buggered. The grown up thing to do is to get up at 6:30. I’m working on growing up.
7:30—Poor Kyle leaves for work, and I use his goodbye kiss as the real start of my day. He leaves and I finally get out of bed officially, though I’ve been awake at this point for over an hour.
7:30-9:00—Get up. Feed Hutch, usually some sort of chopped up fruit plus a little yogurt and/or oatmeal. Have for breakfast whatever food he didn’t want. Let him wander through the house destroying things while I try to get some work done. Give up on that and give my son some attention: read books, go on a walk, twice we’ve even had a dance party like what the good moms blog/brag (brog?) about doing and he looked at me half like I was crazy and half like I was the greatest and best person he’d ever seen. (My song of choice was “Bad Girls” by M.I.A., inspired by a recent marathon viewing of The Mindy Project. Which you should watch so it doesn’t get cancelled.)
9:00—Give Hutch anther bottle and then lie down next to him in our bed. For some reason when he naps in his crib he inevitably wakes up crying after 20-40 minutes, never to nap again, but when he has a nap in our bed it lasts for 2-3 hours. And if I nap with him the whole time it can last up to four hours. (I’ve done it. Don’t think I haven’t.)
11:00—Hutch wakes up, happily babbling this time if he’s slept long enough, crying if he hasn’t. If he’s still cranky I lie down with him and he usually falls right back to sleep. If he’s babbling happily I usually go in to find him already on his hands and knees waiting for me to rescue him from the edge of the bed. We have lunch together, usually punctuated by demanding yelps on his part because I can never seem to think of anything healthy to feed him quickly enough. I need a better system for that.
Early Afternoon: If I’ve gotten enough done in the morning we will have the afternoon to play, run errands, etc. This time of day is hard because he’s not quite old enough to be entertained for long by toys or books or much of anything. The only thing he is guaranteed to love for more than 10 minutes at a time is a walk, which can be exhausting for me. I mean I would probably love walks too if I was being pushed around in a carriage with shocks beefy no-flat tires and a full UVA/UVB-blocking sun shade, but we can’t all be His Majesty the King.
3:00 or 4:00—If I play my cards right and don’t let Hutch fall asleep on our walk or drive (if we happen to walk or drive anywhere), he is usually ready for another 2-hour nap around this time. If my work is done I use this break to pee uninterrupted and start prepping dinner or doing laundry. Sometimes I also just eat a bowl of ice cream and zone out on Instagram. No shame in that.
5:00—Hutch wakes up. I don’t know if it’s because he’s felt neglected all day or just because he’s sick of my face, but for whatever reason this is when he starts becoming whiny and demanding. It’s also when I become very excited for Poor Kyle to get home.
5:45—Poor Kyle gets home. Both Hutch and I are glad to see him. The boys play. I pee again.
6:30—Dinner clean up, Kyle bonds with Hutch, I read or do more chores.
7:30—Bedtime routine begins. For awhile we would take turns giving Hutch a bath and bottling/putting him to bed, but as of late we’ve gotten into a pretty steady routine of Kyle doing bath time and I doing bedtime. Kyle is more fun to have as a bath-giver, and I am more patient to have as a bed-putter when I haven’t just spent the last 20 minutes being splashed in the face by an energetic toddler. Plus if Kyle is the one to put Hutch down I often hear the two giggling away in the nursery when Hutch is supposed to be winding down—I think Kyle just can’t resist those tiny little giggles, and I can’t blame him because he doesn’t get to hear them any time throughout the day like I do. So it’s good. While Kyle is bathing Hutch and getting him jammied, I spend 30 minutes or so outside watering my flowers and my vegetable garden. It’s probably my favourite time of evening, when the sun is lowering and I can enjoy the fruits of my labour. Sometimes if Kyle is done before I am he brings Hutch outside, freshly bathed and so happy to be outside, and we visit while I finish my work. I love that.
8:00—I get Hutch’s last bottle ready. (I don’t know what we are going to do when he stops having formula next month! Do we still do bottles but just with milk or do we switch to sippy cups altogether? I don’t know how I’ll get him to sleep without a bottle. I mean it’s happened before but it’s rare.) I rock him in his nursery with the blinds shut and lights out. He chugs away happily while I say prayers and then sing my favourite songs for him: “By Oh By Baby” and “Guess How Much I Love You, Hutch,” (a cpsf original composition). If it’s a good day he knocks off before the bottle is even finished. If it’s a bad day he finishes his bottle and tries to escape my lap and explore some more. Either way we usually come to an agreement and he falls alseep by around 8:30. I give him 100 rocks in the glider from the time his eyes shut until I put him in his crib.
8:30-11:00—Free time! Unless Hutch wakes up (which is becoming more rare but I never let my guard down—when you let your guard down is when they get you. Toddlers can sense parental confidence and will crush it).
And it starts all over again in 6 hours.
For one of those people who seriously needs—needs—eight hours of sleep in life, I feel I’m coping surprisingly well.