She Laughs…or Rather Cries…at My Routine

My day starts sometime after 7am. Light is just starting to find it’s way through our larger, south-facing front window into our living room which is generally littered with small cars, stuffed animals leftover from before-school morning cuddles, and the occasional chocolate milk sippy that wasn’t put away before leaving.

Sometimes there are Legos that get stepped on. Those mornings are sweary.

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I don’t ease quietly and serenely into my day. No, I wake up to a hungry and angry baby girl shout-crying into my face via the monitor on my night stand. As I blink away the sleep, she gets crabbier.

I mutter something like, “I’m coming, Alice,” as if she can hear me…or would care if she could. You know what? It’s hard to pee when you’re trying to convince your brain you are indeed awake and not still dreaming all while trying to hurry because the boss has not gone from crying to some sort of shrill wail that makes it sound like feral cats are about to attack her.

Once I get my bathrobe on, the coffee going, the Today show on, and the bottle in the baby’s mouth, I can say the day has begun.

This has been our only consistent routine since the little lady joined our household seven weeks ago. Every other attempt I have made to find some sort of schedule or regularity in our days is thwarted by Little Miss Alice.

During week six, I thought we finally had it. Every day she was taking a lengthy snooze in her rock n play in the morning while I cleaned or baked or wrote or read or also snoozed. The afternoons were lazy. Since I was so accomplished in the morning, we usually cuddled together on the couch for some Netflix or History channel or Tiger ball game or just silence. Sometimes I read my book while she was curled up in my arm, sometimes I slept.

On the days Eddie doesn’t go to the after school program, we would go pick him up then come home to start dinner while Eddie entertained Alice.

Things were breezy, man. Totally breezy. I even made a laundry schedule and a “chore” list for each day (example: Mondays = groceries, and doing Alice’s laundry along with a load of our laundry…the darks, yo).

Then week seven happened.

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And I remembered that babies are on their own schedules, and sometimes that means lengthy fussy times because OMG LEARNING ALL THE THINGS AND GROWING IS SO VERY HARD AND EXHAUSTING AND I JUST NEED TO CRY ABOUT IT, MOMMA.

I showered less last week. I slept less (exhibit A = the giant bags under my eyes in that picture up there). I got WAY less done. I said, “Oh, Baby Girl!” a LOT. But by Thursday we were finding our way again.

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She was still a mad head and didn’t want me to put her down, but dude. Life needs to continue. So the Moby wrap was taken out of the car (I use it for shopping with her), and I threw her in it while I made dinner. She still fussed a bit, but it worked well enough until her daddy came home and could properly hold her and whisper in her ear that she was pretty.  Which she likes, of course.

The week wasn’t all bad, after all. She cried a LOT, but she also laughed for the first time. I was singing “Three is the Magic Number” and “I Love Rock n Roll”.  I am telling myself that she laughed out of pleasure and not because my singing was so bad.

Alice has begun to coo constantly at me and Cortney and her brothers. She definitely recognizes me and Cortney when other people are around, and seeing her brothers after they’ve been gone all day is sure to elicit smiles.

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I also read that she can now appreciate colors and textures, so I busted out the activity mat…or the gym, as we call it. She found herself in the mirror and smiled immediately, which is funny because neither of the boys ever cared one speck for that mirror. Of course my baby girl would find it and love it.*

All the new stuff made her tired and cranky though, as I said. So the week had highs and lows. I spent a lot of the time holding the baby.

With Eddie this would have sent me into a rage-filled spiral. With Charlie I learned that the bathroom filth will be there tomorrow. With Alice I am practicing what I learned. I didn’t even worry about the bathroom or the dusting. It never crossed my mind to worry about it not getting done.

I just scooped her up and patted her butt until she fell asleep in my arms.  Then I dozed off too. Or read a book. Or watched some TV. Because I knew she would wake up sad if I put her down.

So I just didn’t put her down.

I don’t know what week eight will bring this week, but I am sure not going to count on anything other than a baby who will eat, sleep, poop, and cry…but not in that order. At least not in that order every time.

 

 

*Fun fact: to get me to stop crying as a baby/toddler, my parents would plop me in front of a mirror. I would sit and smile at myself forever.

a scheduled life is a clean life

You may or may not have heard, but we finally traded in my teeny tiny 2003 2-door silver Chevy Cavalier for a REAL mom vehicle: a shiny red 4-door 2007 Saturn Vue.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!  This has really been needed since Eddie was born three years ago, but it just wasn’t in the budget to add a car payment (both of our vehicles were paid off) while paying for Cort to go back to school.

Well, we had to bite the bullet when Charlie arrived.  It was becoming ridiculous to try to figure out who should drive the Blazer (which can fit both boys) any given day since my tiny Silver Bullet could only fit one or the other.

In preparation for this purchase, we had to make some sacrifices.

One was a cut to our personal allowances.  The other?

The cleaning lady had to go.

Cortney blessed my sanity over a year ago by hiring someone to do the cleaning bi-weekly initially so that I could have my weekends (during the school year) so I wouldn’t be so stressed out, then it was more to help me out when I was too pregnant to bend, and even more recently it was to help me after Charlie was born so I could concentrate on healing and bonding with him and not on vacuuming.

But things are going great, and I am finding that since Charlie is such a good baby, I can do the cleaning myself and save us that money each month.

Money that could go toward a car payment so I can have a real mom vehicle.

Per my Type A personality, I sat down and created a daily list for cleaning, errands, and laundry that would be manageable and still give me my weekends to NOT do housework.

Lots of people on the twitters and facebook were intrigued by this, so I thought I would share.

I also thought that someday, when I wonder how I managed to keep a clean house while having little kids at home, I’ll be able to look back and be amazed at my organization.  Or laugh at how crazy I was.  Something.

The lists began when I had Eddie and couldn’t use the stairs to do laundry.

Cort knows I am very specific about how I do each load, so I made him a cheat sheet of what goes in each load, what the water temp should be, and what sort of things go in (what kind of detergent, bleach or no bleach, etc).

Again, I started with a laundry schedule that is four days, so no laundry on the weekends:

yes, this IS taped to the dryer.

This also helps the other people in the house to know when certain things will be washed.  For instance, Cort’s shorts go in the Monday cold water load/non-delicates.  This way he knows if his shorts are in the laundry basket before Monday, they won’t get washed OR he will have to do them himself.

Once I had these days figured out, I assigned days to the rest of the housekeeping chores.  My weekly schedule looks like this:

Mondays:
cold water laundry (delicates and non-delicates)
sheets laundry (every other Monday)
clean bathrooms

Tuesdays:
Eddie’s laundry
Charlie’s laundry
dust entire house

Wednesdays:
whites laundry
towels laundry
clean floors (vacuum carpets, mop floors)

Thursdays:
warm water darks laundry
change sheets (every other Thursday)
clean kitchen

Daily I have to load/unload the dishwasher and wash up the hand wash items (including bottles).

Usually I do errands on Tuesdays and Fridays and treat myself to Starbucks on those days as well.  And I get groceries on Saturdays.  Sometimes I take Charlie in the Moby, sometimes he stays home with daddy.  Depends on what Cort and Eddie have planned on Saturday and what time I go.

That’s it.

This schedule gives me a day of leeway with Friday since I don’t have anything planned on Friday.

Of course I am writing this on a Tuesday after a holiday yesterday where I did NOTHING but play, so I am busting out all my Monday and Tuesday laundry today while writing this post.

But I do everything with this little man following me around the house as my audience, so it sort of makes it fun times.  Or at least it gives me someone to talk and sing to while I shake my booty clean the house.

"you missed a spot, mommy!"

Tell me…how do YOU clean all the things?  Or do you let it all go to hell and then tackle it?

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