Friday, February 1, 2013

A Day in the Life

Here's a snapshot of a day in our life... Will at 2 1/2 years old. This is one of my "at-home" days (i.e. I don't have to work). This particular day was a Wednesday...

6:50 AM: I wake-up to Will chattering happily in his room. He's always in such a good mood in the mornings.

6:55 AM: Ben has been up for a while getting ready for work. He goes into Will's room to say good morning and change his clothes. I buy a couple extra minutes under the covers.

7:00 AM: Will runs into our room and climbs into bed with me. "Mama, do you want to get up?" We head into the kitchen to have breakfast.

7:05 AM: After perusing the cereal selection in his cabinet, Will selects Crispex (his favorite). He helps me pour cereal into a bowl and requests milk and a banana. I get him all set and make myself some coffee. I decide on oatmeal this morning, which Will wants to sample as well. "Mama, will you please share?"

7:15 AM: Ben leaves for work. Will runs to his room to watch Daddy drive away. He then comes back to the kitchen to finish his breakfast.

7:30 AM: I'm still sipping coffee, but Will is done eating. He hops out of his chair and plays in the living room while I listen to NPR (Morning Edition) and clean the kitchen.

7:40 AM: I join him in the living room and we play trains. His favorite game right now is pretending to load and unload cargo. He likes to tell me what's just arrived. "This is apples, Mama. And this is milk."

8:00 AM: I need to shower and get ready for the day. In a perfect world, this would happen before Will gets up, but I'm pregnant and like need to sleep. So we head into the bathroom together. I recently found a short video about trains on YouTube that he loves, so I put that on for him while I shower.

8:12 AM: Video's over and I'm out of the shower. He asks to watch it again, but I say no (we try and limit his screen time to an hour or less a day). He helps me pick out my clothes ("Mama, that shirt is cute") and I get dressed.

8:20 AM: I'm doing my hair and makeup. Will is playing in the living room with his puzzles. When he hears the blow dryer, he runs into the bathroom so I can blow dry his hair too.

8:40 AM: We brush our teeth in his bathroom. He likes to start the electric toothbrush for me. While helping him with his teeth, I notice he has another molar. This may explain some of especially cranky behavior lately. Only one molar to go!

8:42 AM: Tooth brushing is over. He asks to fill up his cup with some water from the sink. He takes a drink, puts his tooth brush in the cup, and says "OK, bye!" on his way to his next adventure.

8:45 AM: I pry him away from his trains, and we start the "heading out the door" process. We put on his shoes, coat, hat and mittens. He helps me button my coat. I grab his backpack and my wallet. We head out to the car and get buckled up.

8:55 AM: We leave for swim class. We'd normally have another 10 minutes at home, but it's really snowy and slippery today so I want some extra travel time.

9:10 AM: We arrive at swim lessons. There's an especially "jumpy" (i.e. upbeat) song on the radio, so Will asks to listen to the rest before we get out of the car.

9:12 AM: Song is over. I get out of the car and start to unbuckle Will from his car seat. He starts crying because "it's too windy" (which it is). I try to soothe him and explain that it's a quick walk to the door, but he's very upset to have to go out in the blizzard. He buries his head in my shoulder as we make our way through the snow drifts to the door.

9:15 AM: We've made it inside and and to the locker room. Will doesn't want to get undressed. Sigh. I'm trying to be patient, but lessons start in less than 15 minutes. I end up peeling his clothes off of him while he cries and protests. Eventually he's undressed and has his swimsuit on. He's no longer upset, in fact, he's now excited to go swimming. We head out of the locker room and wait for the teacher.

9:28 AM: Will names all the letters and colors he can find in the waiting area. He gets shy when the other little boy in his class arrives, and he buries his face in my legs.

9:30 AM: Class time! Will and Everett head into the pool with Ms. Alina for their swim lesson.

9:31 AM: I take a seat in the viewing area. I discuss local preschools with Everett's mom. The boys are the only class at this time, so it's nice at quiet at swim school. I love that he gets so much individual instruction and undivided attention from the teacher.

10:00 AM: Class is over. I remind Will to say "thank you" to Ms. Alina and we head into the locker room to shower and change.

10:02 AM: Will rinses off in the shower. He LOVES the shower. I think this is half the reason he enjoys swimming class so much.

10:05 AM: Will doesn't want to get dressed. He's stalling by packing and unpacking his duffel bag. I ask him to help me put his clothes on, but he refuses. So I've got to wrestle them on him. He's crying and complaining and thrashing around, but what can I do? I can't take him outside naked and I need to follow-through. I said it's time to get dressed, so we're going to get dressed. He fights me every step of the way (diaper, shirt, pants, socks, shoes, etc). This is particularly trying in the small locker room space where his tantrums disrupt the other parents/children.

Note: Cooperation is our biggest struggle right now. He knows the routine and what's coming next, but simply doesn't want to do it. We try and engage him in the process by offering choices ("It's time to get dressed. Do you want to put on your shirt or pants first?"), but rather than making a choice, he just ignores us or refuses to answer. I understand he's exerting his independence, but this can be SO FRUSTRATING.

10:23 AM: He's finally dressed. Despite fighting me the entire time, he's now in a great mood. I smile apologetically to the other mothers, pack up his bag, and get him bundled up to head outside.

10:25 AM: We leave swim school. The roads are TERRIBLE. I wanted to take him to the library today, but it looks like we have to go straight home. It takes me twice as long as normal, but we chat about the weather, look for snow plows, and sing songs on the radio.

10:48 AM: We're home. Will takes off his coat and shoes, then bounds into the living room to play.

11:13 AM: Will starts exhibiting some signals that he has to go #2 (asking for space, tugging on his bottom, etc.). I ask him if he wants to sit on the potty, but he declines. After a few minutes, he asks me to change his diaper, but it's still clean. He's all clenched up and telling me his bottom hurts, which are pretty clear indicators. We go into the bathroom together and I gently encourage him to sit on the potty. He cries and says that he can't, but eventually sits. He goes almost immediately. He's so proud and excited. I make a mental note that we're probably ready to seriously potty train. I help him get cleaned up and wash his hands.

Note: We've been casually potty training since the fall, basically offering the potty as an option and letting him decide if he wants to or not. He goes #1 almost every night before bed, and #2 when we manage to catch his signals. He still wears diapers 100% of the time, but I think he's ready to make the move to underwear.

11:45 AM: Lunch time. Today we're having a peanut butter sandwich, carrots, yogurt and grapes. Pretty standard.

12:05 PM: Will's done eating. He asks if we can paint, but I need to clean up from lunch, so he settles for crayons (which require less supervision).

12:10 PM: Coloring was short lived. Will's back in the living room playing with puzzles.

12:20 PM: I'm done cleaning the kitchen, so I join Will for some playtime. He's working on his new 25-piece animal puzzles (there are four puzzles total). His favorite is the elephant.

12:55 PM: It's nearly nap time. We head into Will's room to change his diaper and read some books ("Mama, do you want to read my stories?").

1:15 PM: I leave Will's room. He goes down for naps so easily. I hear him talking to Barkley (his stuffed dog) in bed, but he's sound asleep within 10 minutes. He usually naps 2-3 hours in the afternoon. I use this time to work, catch-up on emails, check Facebook, read, etc.

4:04 PM: I fell asleep (yay, pregnancy!), but I wake-up to Will chattering happily in his room. I lay in bed for a minute, then swoop in to give him a kiss. I change his diaper and ask him what he wants to do next. He elects to play with his trucks in baby sister's room. We sit down together to "dig and scoop and dump" with the trucks.

4:40 PM: Will hears the back door open ("Oh! Daddy's home!"). He runs into the kitchen to give Ben a big bear hug and drags him back to baby sister's room to play. "Daddy, this is the big, big yellow wheel loader! It has a big black bucket for lifting dirt." Ben and I catch up on the day while playing with Will.

5:20 PM: I leave Daddy and Will to play while I start dinner. We're having pan seared rosemary chicken and wilted balsamic kale for dinner.

5:50 PM: Will is a very picky eater, so I prepare something for him too. We put whatever we're having on his plate, but he typically won't eat it. Tonight he has pasta with marinara, string cheese and blueberries, in addition to a small portion of our chicken and kale.

6:00 PM: Dinner time! We sit down at the table to eat together. Will gobbles up his pasta, cheese and fruit. He tries the kale, but doesn't touch the chicken. Child still won't eat meat. I keep expecting him to grow out of it, but who knows.

6:22 PM: Will is done eating. Ben and I are still dining and conversing. Will brings his trains into the dining room and plays under the table.

6:35 PM: Ben and I clear the table. We elect to clean the kitchen after Will goes to bed, so we can get some more playtime in now.

7:00 PM: I draw Will's bath. Will helps Daddy clean up his toys, then heads into his room to pick out his jammies. Tonight he selects his airplane jammies. We set his jammies, socks, slipper and diaper on his bed.

7:08 PM: It's time to get in the bath. Will requests a parade into the bathroom. We all line up and march through the house singing, "I love a parade!"

7:12 PM: We end up in the bathroom. Door shuts and it's time to get undressed. Will doesn't want to get undressed and tries to bargain for another activity. I try to keep him focused, but he doesn't respond to choices ("Do you want to take off your shirt of pants first?"). He's deliberately ignoring me, so after asking him three times I choose for him ("Since you are unable to share your preference, Mama chooses shirt"). This upsets him ("No, Mama, pants! Pants, please!"), but we're trying to work with him on cooperating and listening the first time he's asked. One of our consequences is "when you do not listen, you loose your choices." Since he could not offer a choice when asked, it becomes my decision.

7:16 PM: He's upset and refusing to cooperate, so I literally have to wrestle him out of his shirt. Seriously, this kid has the strength of 10 grown men. It would be way easier just to give in and do his pants first, but we're trying to follow-through on the limits and consequences we set. He can't refuse to answer until a consequence is delivered. So shirt it is.

7:20 PM: I eventually get his shirt off and he cries in my lap for awhile. I empathize with his emotion ("I'm sorry you're feeling frustrated, buddy") and explain the context ("That's why it's important to listen the first time Mama asks. Next time, please tell me your choice when I ask you"). We have lots of snuggles and hugs. He takes a deep breath ("I'm all better!") and I ask him if he'd like to do his pants or socks next. He chooses pants. After the initial battle, the rest of the choices go very smoothly.

7:25 PM: He's totally undressed. I ask him if he'd like to sit on the potty or get in the bathtub. He chooses potty. He goes #1 almost immediately. This is pretty routine for him now. He flushes the toilet and washes his hands.

7:27 PM: He "jumps" in the tub (with my assistance). We play with his bath letters, practice the back float from swim class, blow bubbles, and listen for fish. In between all that fun, I manage to also wash his hair and scrub him down with the wash cloth. He helps me pull up the drain and "swims" on his belly while the water is draining out.

7:38 PM: He gets dried off and steps up to the sink to brush his teeth. He insists on unscrewing the cap on the toddler toothpaste. He brushes by himself for a bit, then I help.

7:40 PM: Teeth are brushed. He asks for drink of water before bed, then it's off to his bedroom to put on jammies.

7:41 PM: He went into his room willingly, but he doesn't want to put his diaper on. He's running around his room acting silly. I ask him several times to come over and put his diaper on, but he doesn't respond. This results in me picking him up, setting him down on his bed, and wrestling a diaper on him. Again, consequences and follow-through. I'm remarkably zen through these episodes, but they exhaust me.

7:45 PM: Diaper is on. He's upset again, so we snuggle on the bed and talk about it. Again, after the initial battle, the rest of the process (jammies, socks, slippers) goes very smoothly.

Note: In writing down the day, I'm realizing that most of his tantrums are directly related to getting dressed/undressed. Interesting...

7:50 AM: It's time to read stories. Since I did bath and jammies tonight, Ben does stories and songs. I give Will a big kiss and leave him snuggled up with Daddy in bed.

8:00 PM: Ben leaves Will's room. Will is singing in bed.

8:05 PM: I hear Will get up and lay by his door. He talks under the door "Mama, where are you? Daddy, where are you? Are you guys in the kitchen?" I listen (and laugh) for a few minutes, then head into his room. The minute I open the door he gets up and runs straight back to bed. I cover him up and give him another kiss.

8:06 PM: He stays put, but is still talking/singing in bed.

8:10 PM: Things are getting quieter in his room.

8:16 PM: Will's sound asleep. Ben and I clean the kitchen and pick up the house a bit.

9:00 PM: I'm in bed, usually working, reading or catching up on TV shows (I watch almost everything online these days).

10:30 PM: Ben comes to bed. By this point, I've typically fallen asleep doing whatever I was doing, so Ben puts my computer/book away and removes my glasses for me. I stir, mumble something incoherently to him, and drift back off to sleep.

Whew! It's amazing all we do in a day. A day with a toddler is never dull, that's for sure!

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