Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Finding the new normal

Little Cherub is ten months old.
Grandma is settled in her new home and (almost) everything is unpacked.
We are all fit and healthy (thank God!) and my energy levels are pretty good.

After an eighteen month run of crises and survival mode, life is finally getting back to normal. But ... what is normal? In many ways we are having to make a fresh start, with completely new daily routines. Over Easter Tevye and I tried to pin down a routine we think will work. It looks something like this ...

Morning routine
7.15 Get up. Change and dress Little Cherub.
7.30 Exercise (I'm trying out exercise videos) while Tevye gets showered and dressed if he is home. Little Cherub can either watch my efforts or snuggle with a big sister if one is awake.
8.00 Shower and dress while Tevye looks after Little Cherub (on days when Tevye is at the office a big sister gets the job). Make breakfast.
8.30 Eat and clear up breakfast. Angel and Star dress and get ready for the day. Play with Little Cherub.
9.15 Prayers and start schoolwork.

Late afternoon and evening routine
In the days of the "old normal" Angel and Star were either in bed or well on the way there by 8, leaving Tevye and I with two or three hours to ourselves in the evenings. As the girls get older, that time is disappearing fast, so we are now trying to fit in time together earlier so that we can give the girls the time and attention they need later in the evening. Although it will vary according to the older girls' various outside activities our evenings should look something like this ...

5.00 (on office days Tevye usually gets in around this time) Sit down together for a drink and a chat. If possible go out for a walk together with Little Cherub - this depends on the weather, the dinner and the girls' schedule.
6.00 to 6.30 (again depending on the day's schedule) dinner and clean up. Bath Little Cherub.
7.00 Family time for whoever is in and wants it - time to play with Little Cherub, play a board game, watch TV or a DVD together, and so on.
8.00 Bedtime for Little Cherub (in theory at least!). Star gets ready for bed.
8.30 Bedtime for Star.
9.00 Bedtime for Angel (who can be relied on to get herself organised and ready for bed).

The morning routine is looking good so far, after all of two days. The evening routine will be trial and error, as Angel and Star have so many evening activities that no two evenings are quite the same. This week we are still on our Easter break, and I'm not sure yet quite how our schooldays will work. Again, I think it will be trial and error to start with. I definitely need to plan it around meal and snack times, as if the girls (or myself!) get hungry things tend to fall apart.

It all looks far more structured than I expect it to be in practice - it really is routine we are looking for, not a regimented timetable, but I know from experience that I need to start off with something specific and detailed to work towards or everything will just collapse back into muddle and chaos. I also have to write it down to get myself focused and to see that I have a realistic plan. Having the self-discipline to stick to it is the hard part.

1 comment:

Faith said...

I know what you mean about having to carve out time with one's spouse. I miss having all the kids in bed by 9 p.m. With my teens, they are prowling about the house until 11 or 12 midnight. However, one of the benefits of having older children is that they can watch the younger ones. So we are going out more, instead of staying in. This isn't quite as satisfactory as the early bedtime, but it'll do. Your oldest isn't quite old enough, plus your Little Cherub is so young! So I guess you aren't quite in the same place.

Anyway, I enjoyed reading your schedule. I am always trying to restart things too. Good luck to you!