Saturday, 14 August 2010

R is for routine

One of my cross-stitch creations
Routine, the 'R word' that can make parents tremble.  I vividly remember the child health nurse asking me what newborn Joshua's 'routine' was and having no idea as to what to say. Never had the answer to such a simple question seemed so important or loaded with implications. If his 'routine' didn't accord with the nurse's concept, did that make me a bad parent? Was I doing it all the wrong way? Why didn't I know? Surely working it out shouldn't be that hard, should it? I think I stammered out something to do with sleep-eat-sleep which received a nodded response.

And that, of course, was one of the many questions to vex us as Ian and I proudly wore our 'L' plates as parents. We learnt a lot more over the months to follow. It soon became apparent to us that there were two camps, those who completely fitted in around the baby's routine and need to sleep in its own bed at all times and those who made the baby completely fit around them. We decided we wanted to be somewhere in the middle but leaning towards the baby side. That has entailed spending a lot of time at home, particularly in the early days.
My 'bible' for the first year
I devoured this book, many times, often in the wee small hours.  I really like Robin Barker's practical, down-to-earth views.  I have also found the follow-up book, 'The Mighty Toddler', helpful.  The child health nurse provided a lot of help with informative pamphlets on routines and a sympathetic ear (often).  We made many late night calls to the 24 hour Tresillian helpline and were assisted by those angels of mercy.  After a lot of trial and error, I learned that every baby really is an individual (including each of my pixies) and that such routines are only guides.  Of course, that didn't stop me comparing my babies with others.  I suppose it's only natural but it's not always helpful, is it?  The things we parents do!

After having three babies in under four years, I now know roughly what type of routine the pixies should be in, depending on their age.  Joshua follows the routine of a kindy child, India a toddler and Sam a baby becoming a toddler.  It is a real juggle, keeping those three balls in the air at all times. Getting their differing routines to coordinate is, shall we say, 'challenging'.  The main issue is sleep (is it ever anything else?!).  Joshua doesn't have a day sleep anymore now that he attends kindy.  India really needs her day sleep but has been objecting lately that she is a 'big girl' and doesn't need it.  Of course, she does and her rattiness at the end of the day proves that.  Sam is still having two sleeps a day although I expect it will shortly move to one.  That, of course, means even less down time for Mummy...

And of course, you saw our night time routine here.  The pixies are having dinner now and the bath has been run so I had best be off.  I'd love to hear about the routines you have with your littlies and any tips you might have.  We parents need to band together!



  1. I know this is going to sound unimaginable to you while you are in the thick of it all.... but you don't remember!... you don't.. you struggle to remember what your day consisted of. Write it all down... here. Write everything you think you will need to jog your memories. I look at photos and think, "look at him, and his gorgeous cheeks, do I remember kissing those cheeks?, how did he sound?, what was he doing when I took that photo? how were we spending our days together?".... and I was a SAHM! Days with little ones are so detailed and busy you just assume that you will never forget them... but they become busy big little people and memories are replaced with all the details of school life. Enjoy every little sleepless minute as it all is gone in the blink of an eye. I miss all that you have described... having them home, having their little sleeps... Sigh! A-M xx

  2. Thanks for the lovely comments, A-M. That is exactly why I am doing this. One clever reader suggested I print out every post and make it into a book just in case my blog crashes and I lose everything. I think I will make three copies to give to the pixies when they are older. You are right - every evening, my husband asks how my day has been and I can only mumble 'Same as every day'. I can't even remember unless there's been a disaster with particuarly bad consequences ;) I looked at some DVDs we made only a year ago when Sammy was born and couldn't believe that was me. I cannot recall it at all. I had a six week old baby, 1 1/2 year old and a 3 1/2 year old when we moved state. And I was BF around the clock! That post is coming soon...I'm pleased it jogged memories for you. I worry that people will find this boring - it's hard to be objective when you're in the middle of it,as you say, and your brain feels like cotton wool! J x


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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