Wednesday, December 4, 2013

There Are All Kinds of Routines

I've found a sweet rhythm in our morning routine.  We wake up at 7:30. Well, to be clear I wake up at 7:30, poor Hubs is already out the door for work by then!  I get the Little Man dressed and set up with cereal and his tv show, or he gets therapy if it is a Wed/Thurs, then I feed Vegas his morning bottle.  He is sleeping from 10:30 to 7:30 now that he is in his big boy crib which means we're all enjoying a fairly good night's sleep. By the time Vegas finishes eating, it is time to get some teeth brushed, face washed, and throw the lunch I've packed the night before into Little Man's backpack. Then we walk down the driveway to wait for the bus.  I usually bring the rest of his breakfast with us and he happily eats that while we watch the other neighborhood kids walk to their bus stop and leave for school.  I savor this short wait with my happy Little Man, when he wants nothing more than to giggle and run around with me, where his patience and energy level are usually the best they will be all day.

I come inside and watch Colbert and Stewart while having my coffee and breakfast, and then its time for chores and catching up on whatever I missed last night on the internet.  Once a week, usually Tuesday or Wednesday, I go grocery shopping.  But our daytime is fairly quiet and blissfully uneventful.  Vegas is an easygoing baby, and aside from his tendency to only nap in 15-20 minute increments, is an absolute dream.  He's either swinging, eating, or hanging out in his gym.  Or getting snuggled on - I'd missed having a squishy little baby around!

His easy nature is helpful, because Little Man has become a total pill at night for the past few weeks.  Maybe it is the loss of naptime now that he is in school.  Maybe it is the realization that home is not nearly as structured as school, and that he can push boundaries here with us.  Whatever it is, after school is now the most stressful time of Little Man's day.  That means that from 4:45 - 9:30 is usually the most stressful part of MY day, because there is certainly no perfect rhythm to our after school/nighttime routines.

Once Little Man gets off the bus, he is usually so exhausted that I walk/drag him up the driveway and get his coat and leg brace off to settle down for afternoon snack.  He is also always ravenously hungry (which is weird, I know they have snacks at school and he has a huge lunch), and flips out if snack and dinner don't come in quick succession.  Every time I step into the kitchen, he panics and immediately needs to be given a snack.  If I tell him that there is no junk food til after dinner, it is full out tantrum time.  His tantrums have gotten so bad that he now does the typical toddler "lay down and flail around kicking" thing - with a few added special kid bonuses.  He smacks his chest so hard that he leaves bruises and scratches all over himself.  Sometimes he pinches at the skin on his neck.  He cries so hard that he loses his voice.  He chews on the feet or zipper of his pajamas.  He intersperses tantrums with flopping down onto Daddy or Mommy to just cuddle for a few minutes.  Or watching his shows.  Or chewing on toys.

Needless to say after a few hours of these kind of tantrums we are excited for bedtime.  We put him upstairs in his room and he usually settles right down to sleep.  The problem now is that there is literally nothing we can do to keep his diaper and pajamas on anymore.  Nothing.  He has no problem at all if he stays dry.  But if he pees and wakes up wet he takes off his pajamas and diaper and goes back to sleep naked, and this happens at least twice a week.  Even with an extra fastener to keep the zipper closed, he just hulks out of the zipper and rips the pajamas open, leaving the fastener on top and wearing the pajamas like a cape.  This routine means a setback in the morning - an early morning half-asleep bath and frantic scramble to be ready for the day.  But this is actually a best case scenario if I walk into the room and see the jammies off.

God forbid the kid makes a dirty diaper. This almost always happens at night before he falls asleep for good. I have no words to describe how disgusting it is to clean up a full sized boy's diaper, when all you want to do is crawl in bed and pass out in exhaustion.  Give me all the baby diaper blowouts in the world - they don't even phase me anymore. The tough part is that it doesn't matter what we do - we can check on Little Man every half-hour after bed, and the kid will magically poop the second our back is turned.  It takes all my energy not to flip out at him and scream.  Logically I know that the reason he takes off his diaper is because its gross to sit in a dirty diaper.  I understand that to him, it is off and now he is happy and wait, why is Mommy so angry that I am 'clean' and dry?   And now, he gets a late night bath.  HURRAY everything is awesome in Little Man's world!  Mommy and Daddy are the ones bleary-eyed scrubbing the bedroom and kidlet at 10:30.

This is my most dreaded of all our routines. We have a lifetime supply of Resolve and Lysol wipes and Clorax spray thanks to Costco.  The washer does a nighttime load and in the morning we throw a soggy pile of bedclothes into the dryer.  We move through these motions on autopilot.  We applaud ourselves on the nights we find Little Man in the process of tearing open the pajamas, we sigh in exasperation on the nights we miss our window.  There are half-hearted lectures to Little Man about never doing this again and a stern goodnight and back to bed.  Then Vegas finally gets his moment of peace and quiet (because Little Man usually goes back to sleep after removing a diaper, and is very. upset. at being woken up to be cleaned up), and we scarf down a late bottle before being tucked into bed.

Routine.  It's all routines at this point.  Some of them I like more than others.