A new schedule

I am a person who loves a schedule.  I thrive on to-do lists and mental organization.  I love planning and knowing what to expect.  It makes me happy.  It’s my inherent nature.  However, these things don’t mesh incredibly well with mothering young children.  In some ways it works to keep us organized and do things like get my daughter to preschool on time or make sure that we don’t miss doctor’s appointments.  But in other ways, it’s quite a challenge.  I can plan my day to my heart’s content, but all too often my kiddos change things up on me.  It’s the nature of small children.

I also feel like they like to throw me off balance when they can.  For months now, my son has taken two naps a day.  He’s now working down to one.  I’d have appreciated some sort of notice about this fact ahead of time.  After all, I’m scheduling our life around his nap schedule.  I say that with complete sincerity.  Some moms make their kids’ schedules work around theirs and that’s fine.  I’m not one of them.  I work from home and I choose to maintain a schedule for my kids that is consistent and keeps everyone at their best.  If an event happens during my son’s nap time, then you can almost always count us out.  I only make exceptions for big events.  I am blessed to be able to do that.  I know what to expect and the kids know what to expect.  Our routine works well for us.  And then one of them will change it.

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I’ve been through these changes with my daughter.  They didn’t make me happy then either.  But, I learned they do happen and they’re out of my control.  I can get upset or I can find a way to go with the flow as the flow changes.  And that’s what is going on around here right now.  For the longest time, my son had a way more random schedule than my daughter ever did because of the nature of who he was as a small baby.  But for months now, we’ve had a set schedule.  I can expect him to wake around 8:30 a.m., go down for a nap around 10:45 a.m., have lunch at 12:30 p.m., have another nap from 4 to about 6 p.m., have dinner and then to bed by 9 p.m.  This schedule worked best for him.  It has often made getting out of the house a challenge, but we’ve worked around it.  However, that is changing in the last week as he’s weaning down to one nap.  That one nap will now fall right in the time of day which before was our ideal time to be out and about.  I’m going to have to shift my way of thinking.

This nap change combines with a change in my daughter’s schedule this week as well.  She attends the afternoon class at preschool, but for her Monday and Wednesday classes this week, she goes at the morning class time instead to practice for their graduation on Saturday.  And then next week after a special picnic lunch at school on Monday, she’ll have no preschool at all for a couple of weeks before heading back in June for three days a week in the mornings for a reading class (a new addition that I hadn’t really planned for either).  It’s all changing.  I was in my pattern.  We had our routine and it’s all changing up on me.

But, it’s not all bad.  I’m getting a chance to write this blog post on a Monday afternoon while both kids are napping.  Say what?!  I know!  My 4-year-old never naps but she didn’t sleep well and I had to wake her up about two hours early on Monday morning to get to school on time, so I made her lie down when her brother did.  And they both went off to dreamland.  You know what I did?  I read my book.  In the middle of the day!  I ate one of the Kit-Kats my parents gave me for my birthday (my favorite candy bar).  I enjoyed silence.  I even left off the radio.  It was nice.  It was nothing like my usual schedule in the afternoon.  Usually this is my errand-running time of day.  But, I did that in the morning after having picked the kiddo up from preschool.  We stopped at the store for the fresh food we needed for the week.

And I’m working things in my head as to how to adjust our schedule and how this is going to go.  It will make Sundays easier because the baby boy won’t be missing his morning nap during church time.  I’ll be able to make plans for lunch or dinner with others without worrying whether the baby will be awake before we have to leave.  It will make cooking dinner more challenging since Drake will no longer be napping while I cook.  He’s one impatient dude when it comes to food prep and now that he knows what I’m doing in the kitchen he thinks he ought to be eating almost as soon as I set foot in the kitchen.  It will make showering a bit more challenging since some days I didn’t get a chance to shower until his morning nap.

But, you know what I’ve also learned in going through similar things with my daughter is that it will all work out.  It will take some adjusting for our family, but it will be fine.  Because in the end, my kids are going to grow and change and need different things at different times whether I’m ready for that change or not.  They’re going to do what they need to do without warning and without fail because that’s how it’s supposed to be.  It is up to me to adjust with them and join them on the ride.  It goes against my nature to embrace change.  It goes against who I am as a planner, but it’s OK.  It’s life.  It’s part of the journey.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go spend 15 more minutes reading my book until I do need to wake up the preschooler if I have any hope of having her fall asleep close to her actual bedtime tonight.

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