I’ve always considered myself a pretty chill, laid back gal; sure, I have a pretty good dose of Type A in me (an unhealthy obsession with making lists, for instance), but I think I tend to be rather relaxed and go-with-the-flow. EXCEPT, that is, for Buddy Boy’s routine.
Because I’m home all day during the week, I can afford to be anal and neurotic with our schedule. Feeding before the first nap starts at precisely the same time each morning and any visitors are strongly suggested to come between 11:30-1:30. (Wow, just typing this sentence makes me realize that I must appear to be a rigid and psychotic freak). Afternoon nap starts at roughly the same time each day. Bath time is precisely at 7 pm, followed by feeding, stories and sleep. So if you want me to meet you for breakfast at 9:30…sorry, I can’t. If you’d like to run errands this afternoon…only if it’s between 11:30 and 1:30. If you invite me to dinner tonight…alright, but I need to be home by 7. Sure, it makes for a rather solitary existence at times, but I don’t regret it for a second.
Recently, we attended our parenting group for a session on “traveling with baby.” Well, that’s silly, I thought, who would travel with a baby? Let me tell you…I was in for a rude awakening! Apparently we are the only sad souls who do not travel with their child. I thought that parenting was the great equalizer; I just assumed that once you have kids, everyone just chooses to sit at home on Friday night and no one goes on trips or vacations until the kids are a little older. I guess I was wrong!
During the course of the aforementioned “travel with baby” conversation, we learned that three couples have taken airplane rides and most have gone Up North several times. When it came time for our turn to share, I sheepishly said, “Well, we go to Mass on Sundays and we sometimes go to Target.” And, darn it, I look forward to these little adventures! Furthermore, it was suggested that traveling with your baby stimulates their brains in a way that hanging out at home just does not. So for the past (nearly) five months, Buddy Boy and I have been holed up inside, safe from H1N1 and the polar vortex. (This is not entirely true; we did go for walks each day before winter savagely killed this precious ritual). Here I thought I was doing the right thing by staying home out of the cold and away from the germy masses and it turns out I’ve been robbing him of intellectual stimulation?
While having conversations with some other moms I know, I discovered that maybe I’m just a weirdo and I march to the beat of a different drummer. There is no “falling asleep in the swing.” (First off, we don’t have one; secondly, that sounds a little too loosey-goosey). There is no “taking naps together.” (For starters, I’d be afraid of rolling over on him; next, I don’t want him to be dependent on me for sleep; lastly, when else am I going to clean my bathroom?). We did not have a bassinet; we got home from the hospital and Buddy Boy went right down in his big, cold, lonely crib all by himself. (Clearly, I am the Mother Ice Queen). In the first few months, one of my favorite things was for my son to take a nap on my chest. Yes, it was sweaty and yes, my right arm fell asleep most of the time…but I loved those moments and will look back on them fondly for the rest of my life. However, a 5-week-old taking a nap in your arms is much different than a 5-month-old taking a nap in your arms. I’ve found that my older baby does much better with a…you guessed it…routine!
So I guess the moral of the story is that every family is different. As long as you’re doing what you think is best for your child, then that’s the best you can do. Different strokes for different folks, and all that. I may be singing a whole ‘nother tune when I have three of four kids running around…but until then, I’m sticking to our routine!