I sometimes feel as if parenting has its own timezone.
It’s like a strange ol’ Doctor Who type timewarping situation, operating within a completely different time concept compared to everything else.
When I heard that old parenting adage ‘the days are long but the years are short’ for the first time, I wanted to both sob uncontrollably and jump out of the nearest window.
It was in the midst of Ted’s Colic Hell – which I might have mentioned just once or twice, ho ho.
The long, long days were killing me, yet I was already feeling sentimental about the fact that they would soon be over, aware of them passing in the blink of an eye.
I was already missing them, even though I wasn’t exactly enjoying them, and yet they were still happening, right there!
And there’s a second time-related parenting conundrum, too: how hours, days, weeks can pass without particularly doing or achieving anything.
I still panic some mornings about exactly how me ‘n’ Ted are going to fill the day that is stretching out before us.
Especially if it’s a day that has started at 5.30am or earlier (!), or one that is forecast to be relentlessly wet and cold and dull.
Will we go to the park and go up and down the same slope 54327 times? Will we trudge to town so Ted can look at buses on the way? Will we stay in and play with coat hangers? How will any of those things fill 11 hours or so???
And then before I know it, Graham’s walked through the door and is asking what we’ve done all day and he might as well be asking me to name all the kings of England in chronological order.
Therefore I’ve written down just that! (What we do all day, not the kings of England.)
So, here we have a typical day in the life of Ted, aged 18 months.
5am – 6am
Ted wakes up.
I wonder if my eyelids have been superglued together and how quickly I can get those first, delicious life-saving sips of tea down my throat.
(This depends on whether I can distract Ted from feeding for long enough to make the tea and get to taste those first slurps of sweet nectar before he starts clambering all over me.
It always feels like I’m starting the day with a small but very important victory if I can.)
6am – 8am
Graham leaves for work before 6.30, so then it’s just me ‘n’ T.
CBeebies plays a big part in our early morning routine. I used to feel guilty about this but – like millions of other parents before me, I’m sure – have since told myself it’s educational.
It’s usually on for that first hour – Something Special, Baby Jake, Yakka Dee…. perhaps the CBeebies early morning schedule and accompanying theme tunes could be my specialist subject on Mastermind.
We don’t sit glued to the TV, however. That would be much too easy and comfortable. Ted flits between playing with his cars and trains and StickleBricks, to going into the kitchen to empty the cupboards, to going upstairs to play with coat hangers.
(I am supervising him while all this is going on, FYI, just to be clear.)
Ted doesn’t feed much, these days, yet on the mornings when it’s just me and him, it can feel like he wants to be attached to me permanently, like a newborn. Agh.
I try to distract him but it doesn’t always work, and I give in to prevent tears. Agh.
8am – 9.30am
We have breakfast and get ready for the day.
I am always amazed whenever we get out of the house before 9.30am, before realising that we’ve often already been up more than four hours by this point.
(See point above re: disappearing time.)
Rest of the morning
Unless the weather is particularly awful, I like to get out of the house immediately once we’re ready.
I’m sure that Ted is perfectly happy to while away yet more hours with his cars/coat hangers/cupboard contents, but I am not.
Although at this age, we’re almost on the brink of him being able to tell me what he wants to do, which I think I’ll prefer.
Much better having a boss who can bark orders at you, rather than one who grunts every now and again leaving you to second guess his dis/satisfaction with your work, eh?
(Cue every parent in history who has been through the advanced toddler stage shaking their head at my naive stupidity. “JUST YOU WAIT!” “BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, YOU UTTER LOON” etc etc.)
Ted’s just starting to get to the age where he might soon begin taking an interest in drawing, baking, craft things… which I’m really looking forward to. But he’s not at that stage yet, so trudging to the park it is.
Alternatives to the park: a wander or drive into town, a coffee meet-up with my sister/friends. Sometimes a play group, although this gives me the fear slightly, as I am incapable of making small talk with strangers – as is required at play group – before midday.
Ted normally has a nap of about 45 mins somewhere between 11am and 1pm.
If we’re at home, this gives me just enough time to have a cup of tea and think about all of the things I’m going to do while he’s asleep. And then he wakes up again before I actually get around to doing any of the things, obviously.
If we’re at home, we eat cheese on toast and look out of the window and talk about the cat.
What else does one need from a lunchtime, I ask you?
1pm – 4.30pm
Depending on what we’ve been up to in the morning, our afternoon activity usually consists of the park or town again (thrilling, eh?), swimming and then the shops, or a meet-up with a mum friend, or a walk to Aldi, and on Thursday afternoons we go to a church play group.
4.30pm – 6pm
We’re very lucky that Graham usually gets home from work before 4.30pm. He normally plays with Ted while I make tea, and then we eat and play and then it’s bath time. Already???!
But also, it feels about midnight.
6pm – 7pm
Bath, feed, bed.
And we’re done.
Or rather, I’m done.
Night night x
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