Friday, July 25, 2014

Toddler Schedules and Daydreams

   We are daydreaming a lot lately, of creating a more permanent home and moving the studio there. The stress of operating a retail space and the back and forths and restrictions of doing it with a kid in tow gets to us. The extra rent doesn't help either. I am not gonna lie, its not easy. We get overwhelmed. and tired.
Caleb "helping" me in the herb garden 
   The reality is that we have 3 more years on our lease, and sometime soon, will start trying for another baby. With those things in mind, I have to start adjusting, make peace, and take a deep breath.
   With a rambunctious 18 month old, a work day is full of interruptions. I am about half as productive as I used to be, and our lives are full of his wonderful messes and our half finished work. The stress bubbles to the surface quicker when you are tired and stretched to thin, so I am just checking in and turning more focus on what is best for Caleb and us versus the business at this point. Making room for all of us so that when we add one more, we have already carved out some room.
Painting with edible finger paints I made. 
    Tuning into Caleb and what he needs has helped me along in this process of slowing down. He needs a bit more focused time & attention from us throughout the day, more activity and engagement. I try really hard to rotate activities for him to do independently, and have now started to introduce things as a "together" activity and then let him explore things independently over a few days. This helps, but also, I am making it a more concrete schedule - more for our benefit than his - so that we look at making room in the day for toddler time as a non negotiable instead of getting swept up in the stress of the day. He does so much better when we are "tuned in" and 100% in the parenting game through our typical days, I am always so surprised how easily it can get lost and how much I have to check us back in and get everything back in line.
    The best weapon I have is to go through my pinterest and pick a few activities for the week and set them up on Monday night so they are ready. This has resulted in some weird rainbow colored projects left forgotten in the fridge, but for the most part, it works well and helps me stay focused on being "Mom" even when we are at work. I can set him up in the high chair next to me with some homemade playdoh, or set him loose in his play yard with a bin full of rainbow colored spaghetti, or introduce stickers with pictures of his favorite animals.
I make popsicles with extra green smoothies from breakfast, they keep him busy for about 30 minutes.
    We split his time now with the independent activities and then at least one period of physical activity with one of us - play ball, go on a walk, blow bubbles, that kind of thing - which as my wise mother pointed out - wears him out and ensures a better nap - which is when we get the most done.
   The schedule I have made up is below. Mike and I are a solid team, and it is a rotation, so that one of us gets a half day of no interruptions, Caleb gets some quality time every morning, and during his morning nap, the person at home can get some personal things taken care of - or in my case yoga and dreaded computer work.

Caleb's Day

 7:30 Nurse, Wake up, get ready for the day
 8:15 play independently
 8:30 activity: go on a walk, out to breakfast, yoga with mommy, play in the garden
 9:00 Breakfast
 9:30 - 11:30 Nap
12:00 Go to work
12:30 Lunch time with parent that has been at work all morning
1:00 activity with above parent
1:30 independent play
2:30 - 4:30(or 5) Nap
4:30 snack
4:45 independent play
5:00 home with parent that came to work first
5:30 playtime/activity
6:00 dinner
6:30 bath, bed time routine
7:00 bed

    This makes my work schedule as follows: (in theory)

AM- home with Caleb                                            
yoga or walk with Caleb                                
9:30-11:30 Nap time Office work                                      
12:00 -8:00  studio                                                                  
8:00 home

8:00 - 12:00 Studio Heaven
12:00 - 1:00 lunch & activity with Caleb
1:00 - 5:00 Studio
5:00 home with Caleb

9:00 everybody to work
5:00 Family Date