Sunday, July 1, 2007

On Time for What?

Our son has learned how to sleep at night. Though not perfect every night, he sleeps for approximately nine hours, usually from 8:00 PM until 5:00 AM. Every morning, he wakes up needing a fresh diaper, then will join my wife and I in our bed and usually sleep for another hour. It is a system we are happy with, though all systems should be improved over time.

He requires two naps during the day. Ideally, he naps from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM, then from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. Our days have obstacles that impair the perfect timing of our day.

At-home parents are not just parents, but household managers. We have to make sure that clothes are recovered from the cleaners, that clothes are purchased for the child, spouse, and self, while returning things that don't fit; that food is purchased, that food is prepared for meals that day and future days, and with proper nutrition and variety in mind; that the house is kept clean, that bills are paid, that finances are audited, that financial positioning is monitored, that the social schedule is remembered and responded to, and that there is time in the week for fun for everyone.

Many parents adhere to a strict schedule. I am far too selfish for that. I have to be honest: accomplishing the day's tasks from 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM is not very realistic, even allowing for some in-house tasks to be done during nap times. Not only that, but going out only at those times make tasks the most time consuming, as that is shopping rush hour.

Our son and I compromise. There are times when I'll have to shop the next day. There are times when he has to bite the bullet and get his nap in the car or in the Bjorn.

He is a good shopping partner and deals with my inconsistencies well and I am grateful for his understanding nature. There are a few things that he does, telling me that I'm doing a good job. He smiles at me when I take him out of his car seat. He smiles at consumers and employees. He rarely cries. In turn, I make sure his diaper stays fresh and that meals are kept to reasonable intervals. There are times when I make mistakes in time judgment, but overall his needs are met before I hear excessive complaining.

And at the end of the day, after dinner, he sits with us until he rubs his eyes. We know it is time for bed. He is ready and appreciates some structure in his day, the time when it's time for bed. He goes down with no complaints, but rather with gratitude that his need was recognized and met.

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