So this weekend my friends mocked my schedule. They were just joking around I’m sure, and certainly meant no offense but I have to say that I keep thinking about it. You see I take Noah’s schedule seriously because it really seems to work for both him and me and because the childcare books talk about how important it is that a child have a schedule, a routine. That isn’t to say that I don’t vary the schedule when I have things to do – like go visiting. And it doesn’t mean that Noah is a mess when I do vary the schedule, in fact I think he’s more flexible because of the calming effect that the normal predictability gives to him. What it does mean is that the schedule helps me anticipate his needs -he gets sleepy and hungry around the same time every day and takes pretty long consistent naps.
I’m certain not all babies like schedules – since you can’t make a generalization about baby preferences because their personalities are as different as adults. And not every family can maintain a schedule as easily as we can because I’m home. Even our weekends are highly variable because there are constantly things to do and people to see. And just having Mark in the mix all day changes things because he’s an extra set of hands and he can play with Noah while I take a longer shower etc. But Noah seems to do well with his schedule and I know I do. It alleviates some of the feelings of “What am I going to do with him next?” and gives me a framework for which I can try to get some things done. I’ve even been thinking of scheduling my free time while he’s napping so that I’ll try to read a book, do the laundry, straighten up on the same day of the week or at the same time. This sounds a bit crazy even to me because I’ve never been a very organized regimented person with my own time. But I think it might alleviate the feeling that I should always be doing something else but I’m not sure what. I’ll let you know if I end up doing that – and you can be sure to mock me on that too. Because even I think it sounds lame.
Anyway – here is Noah’s schedule. It’s not thrilling reading, but it’s helpful for me to jot it down. The one thing I could really use help with is Noah’s playtimes. I’m always trying to think of new and fun things to do with him, more for my need for variation than his own. If you have some ideas, I’d love to hear them.
5:30/6:30 am – Noah awakes – he’s changed and fed and the three of us play and talk in the bed until it’s time for Mark to get in the shower. I keep Noah occupied with toys and tickling until Mark gets out of the shower and then Noah just enjoys watching Mark get ready for work. He especially loves watching Mark put on his tie.
7:20 am – Mark leaves for work. I put Noah in the Hop n’ Pop while I shower. Then he plays on the bed while I dress. And then he sits in his old car seat while I dry my hair.
8:00 am – Breakfast. Noah and I head to the kitchen. He has either baby yogurt with cereal and apple puree or oatmeal with prunes. Then hr plays with toys or jumps in the jumperoo while I have coffee. If I’m super exhausted I skip the coffee so I can take the morning nap with him. After we have both had breakfast, I change Noah’s clothes and then we head to the office and play on the floor until he starts getting visibly tired.
9:00/9:30 am– Morning nap
10:30/11:00 am – Playtime. Either in the office or in the nursery. We read books. Pass a ball back and forth. Crash cars. Rattle things. Roll around on the floor. Sing. Dance. Jump. You get the idea.
12:00 pm – Lunch. Noah has a jar of vegetables and half a jar of fruit.
12:30 – 2:00 pm Free time. This is the most variable time of day. What we do depends on the weather, Noah’s mood, errands that might need to be done. Sometimes he’s just content to play independently so I’ll read email and blogs while he plays on the office floor – or we might go out, for a walk or just sit in the yard or on the front stoop.
2:00 pm – Afternoon nap
3:00/4:00 pm – More playtime. What else do you do with a baby? It’s not like I can send him to work at the mines.
5:00 pm – We go to the kitchen to get ready for dinner. Noah will Jumperoo or play in the Pack n’ Play while I make something to eat.
5:30 pm – Mark comes home. He feeds Noah a jar of meat and half a jar of fruit and we eat dinner.
6:30 pm – Noah has a bath if it’s a bath day. Then the three of us go to the nursery. Mark typically plays with Noah on the floor while I watch or get something done. He often plays guitar for him.
7:00/8:00 pm – Noah goes to bed. Mark and I have adult time – often TV or movie time until about 10:00/11:00 pm. Then we go to bed exhausted knowing we may well be up at 5:30 am.
Laugh if you must. But it really helps my madness to have some method.