Posted on June 9th, 2010
If P has a developmental hurdle, it’s transitions. Transitions are hard for her, which makes me feel guilty when I think of the early mornings, late nights, and the long commutes we put her through for 2 1/2 years. (Or maybe that’s why the transitions are hard. Something to ponder when she hits me up for her therapy bills later on.)
This is hard, because I don’t think of saying things like, “OK, five more minutes of play time, then we have to go.” I get that it’s good for my kid (and thus, my sanity), so after a month, we have developed a routine around here (although by accident or design? Not sure.) I’m not sure it’s Maria Montessori or Reggio Emilia approved, but it seems to work for P.
7-8 am: We wake up. My husband has already left for work (it amazes me we sleep through him getting ready and eating, since we live in a loft). This can be good, as in, “Hi, Mama!” or bad, as in, “I WANT SOME SOY MILK!” or “I WANNA WATCH DINOSAUR TRAIN.” Usually, though, it’s good. We talk about what we want to do that day. If we’re going to go to the zoo, we eat quickly and then shower and go. If we stay home, sometimes we eat now, sometimes we wait until after:
8-9 am: Sesame Street (on the DVR). Before you judge me, I’d like to say P used the words “nature” and “exquisite” this week, almost surely because of Sesame Street exposure. It has to be on the DVR, because 9 times out of 10, she wants to skip past Abby’s Flying Fairy School (although today, she surprised me. It must have helped that she spotted a stegosaurus in the classroom). Also, robots scare her, even the Sesame Street variety, so if there’s a skit with a robot, we have to fast forward past it. This is when I get to do my morning routine: coffee, email, read.
9-10 am: art time. Usually painting, crayons, or play doh. When I first was at home, I freaked out because OMG, what am I going to do with her all day?! And then I remembered what they did with her all day at preschool, and bought art supplies. (Which reminds me: we are completely out of purple paint.)
If it’s painting, it’s not a long art session, because invariably she paints all over herself and then has to be hustled into the shower. Today she said it, so I didn’t have to: “Don’t touch anything!” Painting is my exercise in letting go of being OCD. Obviously, I have some room for improvement, since she knows my routine by heart.
Play-doh is fun. We sit at the table, and I can work on my laptop *and* play. Today I gave her some plastic flatware and she’s having a ball cutting pretend food up. P has her dinosaurs make tracks in the play-doh, or makes fish to feed her Spinosaurus. It’s one of the activities that will keep her busy for a good hour at a stretch.
10-12 noon: shower, putter, read books, talk, play with cars/dinosaurs/puzzles. Sometimes we do more (different) art. Today, she’s already told me that she doesn’t want to go anywhere today, and that’s cool (especially since my plan, the zoo, would probably not have been fun with the rain clouds rolling into town right now).
The great thing about the shower is that she loves to play in it by herself (what she’s doing now) with her bath dinosaurs (they squirt water) and it’s sensory and fun and – best part – I don’t have to clean up after her and I get some free time while it’s going on, aside from having to go back in and turn the water on for her when she turns it off.
After she’s done, she wants to run around in her hooded bath towel and play with her toys until I make her put on clothes. She fights having her hair brushed (“I don’t need to brush my hair!”) but I’m having some small success with the “We brush your hair every day, and until you do it yourself, I will do it for you” logic.
(I’ve given up trying to fight the clothing battle. She has three or four outfits – read: t-shirts and leggings – she likes to wear, and the rest be damned. It kills me to have Hanna Andersson dresses she’s never worn, but oh, well.)
Noon-1ish: eat lunch and start to wind down for the nap. If she wants to take one, she’ll put herself down for a nap. “I want to sleep.” And she’ll go and do it. Otherwise, I will do all the things you’re supposed to do to try to get your kid to lie down, and she won’t do it. If I’m having a savvy day, I will realize it’s futile pretty quickly and get her out the door and to some place she can use up that nervous energy (like the science museum to look at dinosaur bones, or the park, or the roof to blow bubbles – Monday’s activity). If I’m too frazzled to figure it out, I will spend hours frustrated and be exhausted by three. Sometimes I figure it out about an hour in, and then we go for a walk or do a puzzle, or I let her help cook something.
1-4 pm: on a nap day, I get lots of stuff done. I tiptoe around and just generally feel smug. On no nap days, I’m pulling out my hair.
4-6 pm: start to get dinner ready, eat. If she’s napped, or if I took Klonopin on a no-nap day, I have enough patience to let her help me cook. My husband came home early yesterday, so I started cooking when he walked in the door – which meant we ate at 4:30. Which was good, because it was the Queen Mother of no-nap days, and after we were done, we put P to bed. She was asleep by 6! This is when I tend to let her watch Dinosaur Train. My feelings about the show are fodder for another post, but suffice it to say, it’s a mixed bag. She learns a lot from it, the behavior of the child dinosaurs in it is good for modeling, and I learn a lot from it, but she isn’t happy with just one episode. Fortunately she’s learned learning that tantrums about TV result in the TV going off.
6-7 pm: bedtime routines. Which is a joke, if she’s not sleepy. She usually asks to do messy things, like painting, and I tell her we can do them tomorrow, after she wakes up. She asks “to watch,” which means Dinosaur Train. I say “no” but will sometimes allow her to watch Mr. Rogers, which is the only TV show that actually calms her down rather than amps her up.
8-9 pm: when she really goes to sleep, most nights. On rare bad nights, it might be 10. My sister has a kid who is asleep by 6:30 every night. And who naps every day. I can really only imagine how wonderful that must be.
There’s one thing missing, and that’s working out. My goal for this next week is to get that firmly cemented into our daily activities. My mantra for this year is “healthy choices,” and, well, that’s kind of a big piece of the health puzzle. The other bonus is that the gym has a kid’s club and a nice play area, and that would help wear her out and maybe encourage a nap.