Friday, January 21, 2011

The Daily Routine

When I posted about New Year's resolutions a few weeks back, I said we were working on getting some type of daily routine implemented. I'm still open to finding new ideas for how to best use my time with that Lo, but for now, here is the loose "schedule" of each day:

Approx. 7:00-8:00 AM~Lo wakes up. Often he nurses upon waking, but sometimes not, especially if Jerry is still at home in which case Lo Lo gets excited to jump out of bed to go play with Daddy. Lo Lo is such a morning person, always his most cheerful and alert when he just wakes up for the day.

When Jerry is gone, that Lo and me read together. The order of reading starts with scriptures (Book of Mormon children's reader--about a page's worth, and the actual Book of Mormon or Bible--about one verse). To get Lo ready for scripture reading, I sing the Primary Children's song "Book of Mormon Stories" and he has gotten quick at recognizing it; he sometimes even brings me the reader when I start to sing. After scriptures we read at least one Chinese book and a few other books from the shelf--whichever ones Lo picks out. Then we eat. That Lo is able to spoon-feed himself with some accuracy. This photo shows how his shirt stayed mostly clean, and he had eaten a whole half jar of blueberry applesauce all by himself by bringing the spoon to his mouth! Some mornings he eats relatively alot--a few bites of eggs, cheese, a piece of bread, yogurt, cold cereal from my bowl, etc. are all common breakfast foods for him right now. But some mornings he doesn't seem hungry at all and I wonder about it since I'm not sure how much milk he gets at night during nursing sessions. But I really avoid forcing him on any food issue.

Oh, and his face could be a little cleaner during self-feedings, I suppose. He is going through a phase where he gets bothered by messes. If he sees a drip of food landing on his hand or the table, etc. he often points to it until I wipe it up. But apparently messes on his face don't bother him because they aren't visible to his own eyes. lol.

After eating, we do some chores. Usually this entails unloading the dishwasher and folding laundry. Lo likes to "help" with both.

Then we have some playtime. It seems a bit arbitrary, but I decided to make pre-nap playtime be all about Gross Motor Skills, and post-nap playtime focus more on Fine Motor Skills. This just helps me feel more purposeful and brainstorm ideas of what we should do, but I don't restrict Lo if he wants to switch up the activities. Here are the pre-nap activities I have been instigating: rolling balls back and forth to each other, throwing/catching balls (Lo is on the cusp of catching the ball but not quite there yet), playing tag/chase, playing hide and seek, making forts (as seen above in photo--he actually was loving it more than his face shows, but when the camera comes out he stops smiling in order to concentrate on what I'm doing all of a sudden), climbing (we pile all the couch cushions into a puffy mountain and he seems to enjoy trying to scale it), dancing to music (Raffi on Pandora is a favorite) and going on walks outside.

This outdoors time is something I'd like to do every day right before naptime. It has been such an ordeal getting bundled and sometimes much too cold to stay out very long that I am having a hard time making us do it every day. But the days we have gone out, I haven't regretted it.

We walk out to the mailbox to drop letters, or we take out the trash. Often we see people walking their dogs, and Lo has really developed a love for "dog-dogs," as he calls them. Sometimes we even walk to the grocery store, dollar store, or hardware store. Yes, even in the winter. I always feel a bit crazy and pioneer-ish as the wind whips my hair and burns tears into my eyes, but that Lo keeps warm enough if I wear him snuggled up next to my heart in the mei tai.
11:00 AM ~ I put Lo down for a nap. He is pretty consistent at going down near this time, which is a huge relief for me to be able to count on and make plans accordingly. He is totally a "one nap per day" kid now, and naps for about 2.5-3 hours. Though sometimes he cries halfway through and I nurse him back to sleep before he can become fully awakened.
After that Lo wakes up, we eat lunch. Common lunch foods for that Lo include whatever I am eating (dinner leftovers from the day before most likely). He tends to refuse eating anything that resembles baby food. Though he likes the Gerber finger foods a little too much. (since they are processed I am trying to limit his puffs, graham cookies, etc.).
Fine Motor Activities we have been doing: magna doodle, coloring with crayons and markers (brave of me, I know--heavily supervised and I've got a Magic Erase sponge handy). Once he accidentally drew on his hand with a dry erase marker and he was entirely distraught about it until I scrubbed the mark off in soapy water. We also do Legos (the big kind, and he only pulls them apart, does not put them together yet). Blocks are another favorite, but like the Legos, he tends to just knock down the towers I make rather than building up his own towers. Must not have hit that block stacking developmental stage yet...He does like putting the shapes into the shape sorter, and I'm impressed how well he does at that activity. Needs some scaffolding on it still, but totally gets the idea. We also have a puzzle we've played with a bit, but it is still out of his age range really.
I forgot to mention that sometime in the day by now we normally have a shower. The time varies, but usually I do it pre-nap. Lo showers with me, playing with toys at my feet but sometimes he likes to be held/nursed while the water runs over him and that's okay with me too. Sometimes our showers are pretty long.
Anyway, around 3-4:00pm I start dinner. Often that Lo plays in the kitchen at my feet while I cook/chop veggies, etc. but if he starts to get clingy, I do one of two things: wear him in the mei tai or put on a Chinese DVD for him to watch. I know it is bad to use TV as a babysitter, but the Chinese movies we have are totally educational! And I try to still talk to him and interact with him while he's watching since the laptop in the living room is near enough to the kitchen. Here's an example of one of our favorite Chinese DVDs:

Another thing I encourage Lo to do while I finish dinner is to go watch out the window at all the cars driving by. He imitates their engine noises, and often "talks" to me about what he sees out the window.

6:00 PM ~ Jerry gets home from work. Actually, lately he's been getting home later than this. =( But we normally wait to eat dinner once he arrives. After eating dinner, Jerry and Lo play a bit if there is time. If we are short on time, we go straight to Lo's bath. Jerry is primarily the baby bather, and it is their prime bonding time of the day. Often I leave them to themselves, letting talk Chinese together in the bathroom, while I clean up from dinner.

7-8:00 PM ~ Lo asleep. Some days if he is fussy, I put him down as early as 6PM, which he has especially been needing over the past few weeks as he transitioned from 2 naps/day to 1 nap/day. Occasionally, if we try to go to a quick run for groceries or something after dinner, we can push Lo's bedtime to a bit after 8. But I really hate more than anything to mess with his sleep times, so I am pretty much a Nazi about putting him to bed at the same time frame each day. I nurse him to sleep. If I'm gone to a Relief Society activity or book club, Jerry puts Lo to bed by soothing activities. It is a lot of work, or so I hear. So perhaps the nursing has become a crutch. I stopped caring about it after reading one of my sleep books.

Anyway, there's the Lo Routine. We still have moments during the day where I shrug and say "Now what do we do?" But having the simple commitment to work on Gross Motor Skills & Fine Motor Skills at varying times of the day has seemed to really help me stay motivated and Lo seems happier than he's ever been. He notices that I am more excited about how we spend our time. And I am loving my days for the most part. Motherhood is a blessing, giving me more joy than I ever thought I could have. And that Lo is the most special, wonderful little boy! A lot of times when he is sleeping, Jerry and I say to each other, "we miss him!" But we like our time alone from him as well. ;)

Wow, this got really long. Thanks to anybody who stuck with me.


Sarah Walker said...

I am very impressed! Look at you using what we were taught! I like how you make before nap time a little bit more active than after. I bet that helps with his naps. Thanks for the idea.

Anna said...

I loved this post, gave me ideas to use with Rachel.

What sleep books have you read? I still need help!!

ps. Rachel LOVES Gerber puffs. She was up to eating a can a day. We have since successfully switched her over to "big-people" cereals, but that took awhile!

TheTamFam said...

I'm glad the post was useful to you guys. Thanks for the encouraging feedback.

I have read literally a dozen books on sleep, because I myself have had sleep issues for a lot of my adult life. There were two that seemed to have the biggest impact on how I handle Lo's sleep. Pantley's No Cry book just to reinforce my philosophy of gentle parenting approaches, but I really trust the credentials and science parts of Weisbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. This book is the one that reassured me cosleeping was best for our family and letting Lo fall asleep at the breast would be natural and fine (as long as it isn't the ONLY way baby falls asleep). This book also taught me about the "sleep begets sleep" idea and how putting kids to bed at an earlier bedtime really helps their hormone cycles. And the importance of sleeping in the dark. Weisbluth does have some parts to his book that are not relevant to me (like, 80%) because of how much he encourages letting babies cry. But based on my previous readings on sleep, his citations are trustworthy and he was the first person to convince me in my HEAD that letting baby cry won't result in attachment problems. But I'm not convinced in my HEART letting cry is ok for me & that Lo personally, so we don't do it as a matter of philosophy. It just isn't necessary. Except three times in Lo's life. When it was for the best. I think. Since I'd already messed up his schedule at those particular times and had to do damage control. Anyway, to sum it up, I'd recommend HSHHC, but read with your Attachment Parenting lens on. Hope it helps.

TheTamFam said...

ps. a CAN A DAY?! Wow, that's a lot of puffs. Then again, the serving size is like 90 puffs or something huge like that, so she was probably just eating normal serving sizes...=)

Melody said...

I'm so grateful for this post. I am encouraged to maybe guide my son in some I do, but his interest doesn't stay (which I know is normal for kids). But I worry that he's moving from one thing to the next (and he's very independent) and is unable to develop concentration for an extended period of time.
It's interesting how it's so hard to deal with "damage control." Our poor little first ones...there is just so much to learn! Like for sleeping and feeding. Once we finally got him to sleep, it was great, but it was too late for feeding. Better next time. I guess it's a good thing my son doesn't sit in front of a tv, but sometimes I wish he would! He doesn't much care for it. But I would love to get one of those language dvds! Any recommendations for Portuguese? (I couldn't find much from Little Pim)

Anna said...

Thank you!

Yes! It was getting ridiculous. And expensive. Now you can feel better about the amount that Lo is eating. :)

Susie Stout said...

I have always put my kids to bed between 6-7 even these days I can get Addy to go down then and they always sleep great through the night and it was a blessing to me. Now that Addy's a little older it is harder to pull away from activities when she's having fun with cousins and things so I realize how hard it will be with the other kids. I too need to have more constructive play so thanks for the ideas but our schedule is mostly go to gym, go to grandpa's farm, come home and nap, play in play room while I get dinner ready then eat and get ready for bed with reading and a song or two. I just think the hours they play at grandpa's probably are pretty stimulating with all the animals, chores with grandpa and grandma, and cousins to run around outside with.

Jocelyn said...

WHat a great "loose" schedule. I have no problem with the "let cry" factor after taking care of numerous kids I know some of them just need to cry it out! I did it with Brock for a few days when he was 14 months old and it worked like a charm he learned that It is time for bed, lay down close you eyes fall asleep Mommy will be there in the orning. Nicholas on the other hand
OH BOY he is a clingy mommy's boy and very rarely will he let me put him down let alone let him cry to sleep{ he doens't I've tried 3 seprate times and after an hour I just gave in and picked him up, he was out. sounds awful letting him cry that long, but he was safe and okay just wanted to be held. needless to say I don't feel he's ready, he's still in our room, so I guess I will suck it up and just rock him to bed, it's just hard when Brock needs/ wants attention too!
I really need to get Nicholas on a schedule his first nap and 2 meals are at set times, but other than that he just follows along with Brock and hangs out while I do "Learning" with Brock. but you helped me realize he needs a little more structure, maybe I will let brock to more alone learning and work with Nicholas more one on one.

Morgan said...

Go Supermom!!! Courtney, you are amazing! I love how you apply the things we learned in school so consciously! I'm more haphazard about it but I got lots of ideas from your post about things I can do better with my kids. LOVE IT!! Thanks!

TheTamFam said...

Jocelyn, I totally get why Brock is ok with sleep training, since I remember him as being the most calm, easy-going child. Interesting Nicholas has his own personality though!

"Melody" (I sometimes forget it is just your screen name and am starting to think of it as your real name oh dear) I am not sure about the Portuguese, but know that Rosetta Stone is supposed to be the ultimate for language learning. I think they have a kids version, and in some school districts they will cover the price for homeschooled kids to have access to the Rosetta Stone programs. At least, our friends in Utah got to do that with the Mandarin version.