Monday, December 29, 2008

Tips both advisory and monetarily are appreciated.

The older I get, the more I feel like the mother in A Christmas Story. ("My mother had not cooked a hot meal - for herself - in ten years.") It's 9 pm and I just got done eating because someone has decided that his second nap is no longer to be taken in the early afternoon and is instead retiring to the crib bleary and blubbering around 3:30 pm which means bedtime is now pushed to 8 pm which feels awfully late for a just-turned-1-year-old, ESPECIALLY when that 1-year-old continues to wake at 6 am. I must admit I envy those schedule parents, even if I can't bring myself to follow in their perfectly modulated footsteps. If the boy wakes up from his nap 30 minutes early, I can't just let him scream. (I also refuse to wake him if a nap goes long. If the kid wants to sleep for 3 hours, hey, by all means!) That said, I sure would like more than an hour between dinner and bedtime.

I would also like someone to explain how to pull off a family meal. I'm sure you've heard about this mythical creature - the nutritious, consistently-scheduled mealtime where everyone sits down together to eat the same food. Maybe you've even managed it! Frankly, between heating frozen cubes of pre-prepared rice and beans/chicken soup/____(insert blandly healthy, mother sanctioned grub), scrubbing smooshed pancake off the food tray, digging fossilized chicken pieces out from under the high chair seat, sweeping flung food off the floor, washing the boy's dishes (crusty and forgotten), and making sure the kid doesn't crawl into the Christmas tree and kill his fool self, preparing a meal for mother and child seems akin to a trip to Paree. It sounds so simple - just make food for you and cut it up but somehow that never seems to happen. Not to mention the fact that feeding the boy requires two hands, constant vigilance, and a broom. If you've managed to wrangle this, I'm all ears.

Oh, and bottle weaning? NO WAY. We've managed to get rid of the afternoon bottle but those morning/evening buggers? Please. At 6 am I can barely manage to shove a bottle his yap. Preparing an actual breakfast? Never, never, nuh-uh, no. I keep reminding myself that he is sleeping later (anything beyond 4:30 am is an improvement) and that eventually it'll be easier to seguay from the crib to the breakfast table but right now it feels a little daunting. Still, it has to work out. Either that or he'll be the first college freshman sponsored by Born Free.


Fraulicious said...

It seems the only time we eat together is when we go out for an early dinner. We take food for our daughter and between that and being fed bits and pieces from my and the hubby's plates it actually goes quite well. Other than that, Vivian often has left-overs from our evening meal (which we have after she went to bed) the next day.

Fraulicious said...

Hm. My response really doesn't help you figure out a dinner together option, does it? Maybe it'll make you feel better instead :)

elisava said...

prep... as racheal ray has wisely said, it's all about the prep. i will get everything chopped, thawed, and in the proper cooking pots or dishes while they are either occupied or "napping". if i am chopping three sticks of celery for a meal, i'll wash and chop ALL the celery and store the rest. then, say you're planning to eat at six, take all the pots or whatever out of the refrig with the stuff already in 'em around five, add the water or combine the ingredients and cook 'em.

make more than you need, refrig and circulate the leftovers.

variety may be the spice of life, but i refuse to be in the kitchen five hours a day making some new and fabulous every night. maybe i'll try something new and fabulous once a week instead, and make twice as much! besides, it seems my family could care less about constant fabulous.

as far as dinner clean up, hubby and i have a sort of unspoken rule.. one cleans the kitchen/dishes, the other does baths (we have two children).

during the day i'm on my own, and as you have seen yourself, it seems like you just get the kitchen cleaned up before it's time to cook again. nature of the beast, i guess. i've gotten to the point where i'll wipe off the highchairs/tables/floor, from breakfast, but leave the dishes until after lunch and then just do them all together during my super happy fun prep post-lunch "napping" time, since i'm in the kitchen anyway.

whew! sorry it's kind of wordy, hope this makes sense.

elisava said...

okay.... i gotta make a nap comment. just this... he'll never learn if you don't teach him. uncommon is the baby who learns to nap on a schedule on his own. you'll be following his sleep schedule whims until college. in my experience. i'm just sayin.

Ali said...

F - glad I'm not the only one who doesn't manage the family sit-down, although I'm impressed with your ability to eat out! I'm sad to say we've never even tried.

E - Great tips, but what do you do with the critters when you're kitchen bound?

Once I got over the knee-jerk reaction to your gentle, kindhearted nap advice (sorry, leftover anxiety from too many sleep books) I realized that he is on a schedule, it just has wiggle room. Some days I'm comfortable with that room (when I have to drag him to an audition with me I'm mighty glad he's not programmed to get tired at 1:00 on the dot) and other days I'm not (when he sleeps 40 minutes instead of 2 hours). But he always goes down at roughly the same times - naps at 9:30 and 2:30, bed at 7:30. In my hyperbolic state I gave the impression that it's a total free for all, instead of our barely controlled (but still somewhat controlled) usual routine.

Now if you two could advise me about bottle weaning...

elisava said...

i have sacrficed the 14 month old's morning nap to coordinate it with my 3.5 year old's "nap time" (sometimes it's just lie in bed with a book quiet time.) so, in theory, they are both down in the mid afternoon for an hour or so. this is when i try to get shit done.

sorry if i came off bossy on the sleep stuff. i just know how i let my first babies sleep whims run my life and how miserable it made me!

no weaning luck here either!

julie said...

I have no weaning luck either.....but you already know that about us. And we're 3. It's my shameful that I plan on lying about at our next doctor's visit in a couple weeks. Bottle? Um, we drink out of cups and sippies. Which is true. Except when it's milk. But she doesn't need to know that.

As for the sleep stuff....we're still struggling with that at times and yes, it sounds like you're on a loose schedule which is good. The only other thing I would recommend is to figure out how many hours of sleep your little guy needs in a 24 hour can find that information on babycenter, you can also find it in Weissbluth's book (I think the two actually are aligned on the general numbers for kids of certain ages) or you could just watch your guy for a week and see if you see any patterns emerging (not for me b/c that takes way too long and the creation of charts). Then figure out how much he's getting and how much is night sleep and day sleep and see if you can tweak some things to extend the night sleep. I hate to break it to you, but sometimes I have to wake Alex up from his nap because if I don't, he won't go to bed until 10 PM OR he'll wake up at 4:30 AM because his 11 hours are in the can. Luckily you have a few naps you can fiddle with still.

Family meal? Nope. Can't pull it off. Some of it is laziness on my part, some of it is food pickiness and timing on his part, and the rest of it is selfishness on our parts b/c we enjoy eating and watching TV. Which usually occurs after he goes to bed. Good luck. It sucks. I know he'd be a better eater if we modeled more for him. I KNOW this and yet.....can't seem to get my shit together. But I"m working on it.

Ali said...

E - NOT BOSSY AT ALL! I was trying to make a joke about how insane the baby books made me. When even gentle guidance comes my way I start heaving my way into a minor panic attack.

And from what I remember from nannying, getting a 3.5 year old to stay in bed with a book is a might big accomplishment indeed. (I used to go in after the appointed "nap" time was over, only to find my charge wedged against the bottom of the door, peeking through the crack to watch what I was doing.)

J - I'm pretty sure we're the same person which I find rather reassuring.

Mamalang said...

I'm not really much help, as my kids are spread so far apart (approx 5 years each) that the older ones helped. For me, a family meal was a must, and at a year the baby got pretty much whatever we had mushed or cut up. It is hard. You have to decide what is most important for your family.

Mama Cass said...

This sounds exactly like my life. Except I have an older toddler to take care of as well, and my baby is not yet 1, and is still doing the 4:30 did you get to 6:00am anyway?

Mama Cass said...

OH, and weaning. I think it happens naturally. With my first born, I breast fed for the first year, but still served whole milk in a bottle when we made the switch, rather than going to a cup, because it was more soothing for her, and allowed some cuddle time early in the morning and before bed. Eventually (around 18 months), she just didn't want it any more, and it wasn't a big deal. She still drinks a cup of milk before bed a lot, and we just brush afterwards. At a year old, I think you are doing great if you aren't doing a bottle in the middle of the night any more, and the rest will fall into place, so just don't stress.

Ali said...

Mamalang - First off, Welcome! Glad you're here! Second, I hear you about the family meal. We're trying. So far we're managing to get husband and baby eating at the same time. Two outta three ain't bad?

MamaCass - First off, Welcome! Glad you're here too! Second, older toddler AND baby?! I need to go to your blog and find out about that life... And the reassurances that we're doing okay are always, always appreciated. Always. As far as getting the kid to 6 am, I wish I had some words of wisdom but he just started sleeping later. He's also going to bed later - 7:30 (at least that's what we aim for) instead of 6:30, which didn't help at first but eventually he adjusted his wake up time to reflect it. And the 6 am is recent - he inched slowly from 4:30 to 5 to 5:30... For the record, he often still wakes up at 4-ish but either he puts himself back to sleep or we rock him back down if he's riled.