Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Routine Worry

It must be Christmas, because we've just found out it's Party Time next week at Trinty Tots. Instead of the normal Wednesday morning session there's a two hour Christmas knees up starting at 11a.m and finishing at 1 o'clock. And that's the problem. Charlie's never one to miss a party (nor am I) but this is precisely the time he has his daily nap. I should point out we don't really 'do' routine (in the Gina Ford sense). I’ve had enough of following daily timetables to last for years. But life does follow something of a pattern: breakfast, lunch and tea (obviously) interspersed with milk and sleep; the school run (sometimes literally) and 'wind-down' time before a bath and bed. I have to have my own routine to get things done as well. After breakfast, it's prepare the bottles and sort lunch; after lunch (while Charlie has a play) prepare his tea and supper for the rest of us, that sort of thing. But the timings, quantities and duration of each activity varies. And Charlie’s day-to-day needs vary, too. He seems to have a pattern which repeats itself over about a week: there's at least one grumpy day when he can’t settle easily to anything and finds it hard to smile; a sleepy day, when his mid-day nap will last an hour or more longer; a busy day when he has boundless energy and won’t (or rather, can’t) sit still. And there are quiet days when he will sit and ‘read’ (or chew) his books and look out of the window at the trees. It all seems perfectly normal, and it does recur in an irregular sort of way. Thankfully, we never seem to get more than one grumpy day a week. But each day is different, and one of the most rewarding pleasures is watching closely for the signs of what’s to come. But I've found his middle-of-the-day sleep so useful personally, that I'm loathe to break the cycle. Irrationally, I'm worried that he'll think he's missing out on something and I'll never be able to get him to have a nap again. Sally was always reluctant to go to bed (and still is) - she seemed to think we had a party every night once she was tucked up and asleep (and she was right, of course!). I've said we'll go next week; we'll have a great time, and I'll tell you all about it. But if Charlie thinks it's all balloons and carols and jelly when he's fast asleep in future, I'll regret it.


  1. Good luck - I'm sure it will be fine.

    The silly season is upon us. My children suddenly have a social calendarfar superior to mine and I will be merely a chauffer for the most part.

    Come January, exhaustion will set in and we will slump on the sofa to recover ... for as long as possible.

  2. A somewhat naive friend of mine was told that she had to feed her baby every fours hours. So she did. Every day and night for six months. Regardless of whether the baby was hungry. Not surprisingly, her offspring never, ever developed a sleep habit, and mum suffered accordingly.

    Not in anyway relevant other than, sometimes routines should be broken and damn the consequences!

  3. Sometimes I can get stuck in a routine, which results in a rather stressful time if the routine is broken. Even more so with children, but some routines need to be broken otherwise life can be rather painful.
    Ok my daughter is a extreme example but I shall tell anyway...if she gets stuck in a routine such as watching the first 3 mins of In the Night Garden over and over and over it can be as stressful as not letting her watch it over and over and over if you see what i mean. Also she has an extreme fear of moving out of the front room and will only tolerate going down stairs out of the front door. This is because we spend a lot of the time in the kitchen and living room area...shes got stuck in this routine and as a result it's very very hard to get her out of it. But as i said she is extreme due to her autism.
    Visual cues do help partly and this may help with your son too, as they can work with 'normal developing' children as well as autistic children.
    Routines can be good but as long as there is room flexibility too.
    (please excuse any spelling mistakes, as im trying to type and prevent L from flooding the kitchen - shes in the sink!)

  4. I can so remember these dilemas with my two!

    I loved reading about your routine, it brings back memories that, at the time, you think you'll never forget, but those days seem very distant now.

    Enjoy whatever you choose to do :)

  5. You're right about working parents of babies/toddlers. They miss SO much. Most fathers don't even know what they're missing! You're very lucky to be sharing this time in your daughter's life. (Just read the start of your blog.)

    Routine - can't be set in stone. Has to be ignored sometimes, eg sickness, essential appointments and...parties. Enjoy - both of you!

  6. A routine is more important, believe me!

    Stay safe and warm.

    Mal :)

  7. I never did Gina Ford either, but my two found their own routine. Meanwhile all my friends desperately rushed around trying to get home by 5pm for the feed - but I don't think their children are any better sleepers now...

    Have tagged you by the way, over at mine!

  8. If Charlie is very young routine is important, but so is interaction. It is a hard one to call, but kids are like puppies and I don't think an hour or two will change things. You don't have to spend long there and if he gets tetchy you can take him home.

  9. Little ones do like routine, don't they? I remember when the clocks went back for the first time after No.1 was born - it took her almost a month to get settled again! :-O I'm sure you'll be able to tell if Charlie is suffering at the party. If he's all grizzly and needs a nap, that'll be time to head home? Have a great time, anyway! x

  10. I agree with Moannie - kids are like puppies :) bichon frise puppies - cute and loveable :p

  11. The events we look forward to least are usually those we most enjoy. Routines can slip slightly for a dish of jelly and ice cream.

    CJ xx

  12. Be brave...go to the party. The thing about routines, they are constantly evolving just as our children are. He's going to give up that nap time sooner or later. He might even sleep through the festivities, in which case you won't miss out. It's a win - win. Good Luck!

  13. Oh the routines - so know where you're coming from. I think the routines are more of a comfort thing for me than our little boy: a way to structure the day to give the illusion that we're in control and it's not all chaos!

  14. I find that they have their own routines...if not we enforce it! Little boy likes his sleep per day but somtimes we do miss it out...he seems to be able to do it without any ill effect. Whatever you do - have a great time - there is always next year when he's that bit older?

  15. Let's hope that the party coincides with Charlie's busy day. I am sure that everything will be fine and you will both enjoy yourselves.

  16. I know, I know Laura - welcome to the winter taxi-service. (I've given up my own social life!)

    Sounds like a Gina Ford routine, NB. I'm sure I've read somewhere that you should wake 'em up regardless. (Needless to say, not advice we've taken.)

    Thanks for that, Halo. But what was L doing in the sink?

    We will, Sub and '...', don't worry!

    Staying warm would be a useful trick to perfect at present TG. Have you any idea how cold it is over here?

    Thanks, NVG. That means I'm back to being 'two-tags' (not two-jags) behind!!

    Charlie certainly behaves like a puppy, moanie. He's even taken to crawling round the house carrying things in his mouth!

    Oh, the clocks Kitty! Why can't they just leave them alone?

    He's certainly very cute and lovable, FF.

    You're right, CJ. We'll enjoy it whatever happens.

    And I like the win-win analysis, Sweet Cheeks. Hadn't thought of it like that!

    We are in control, aren't we Steve? Aren't we?!

    Older, and wiser - he'll know all about it in a year's time Hadriana. I'll have no choice in the matter!

    If only I could schedule it, CW. That would be wonderful!

  17. have fun! they don't happen everyday.

  18. Hello Mr Dotts, I wish I had a routine and chewing books is playing havoc with my teeth...

  19. I have those days just like Charlie does. Increasingly there's "pissed days" as well, but don't tell him this, let him wait until he's older to find out why these are necessary.

  20. And they are, Mr Dilo, they are - and with increasing regularity!

    Why are you chewing books, Scarlett? In need of food for thought?


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