Thursday, February 26, 2015

Our Routines

Can we talk about routines for a minute? I know it's the everyday details that I won't be able to recall even a few months from now, so I want to make a little record of what we're doing these days.

Our work day week days are actually running pretty smoothly (as long as I get up on time!), but it's because we're doing the super boring and responsible thing of getting things organized and laid out the night before.

(I don't like doing this. I would rather be watching television and checking Instagram and reading blogs and texting people and eating popcorn and RELAXING the night before work. Instead, I'm packing diapers and prepping bottles and I really can't even bitch about it because I'm saying "I" but David does a lot of it.)

I'm also doing the pick out clothes for the whole week thing. I'm in charge of everyone's clothes--I pick out and iron David's outfits as well as the girls and myself. For some reason it's easier for me to do this for everyone in my family than it is for me to do this for myself--especially right now since I'm six months postpartum and still things don't quite fit me right. My favorite leggings are so stretched out that they sag by the end of the day, but my regular pants are still snug and often give me the dreaded muffin top, my boobs are still total milk maids so I don't want to wear anything fitted, nursing puts dresses mostly out of the equation and I usually love wearing dresses, I am intolerant of any fabric that's not totally soft and comfortable since there will be babies rutting around on me, I am hating anything that holds static cling, and if it can't hide a little bit of spit-up, that's a problem...

And then there's shoes. I usually like to teach in heels because they make me feel put together, but you try carrying a pumpkin seat, a purse, a school bag of papers and books, Coco's bag of bottles and diapers, the bag that holds my pumping stuff, and then walk in heels out the back door, down five steps, and to the car. It's exhausting. Plus there's the fact that shoes aren't allowed in the infant room at our daycare (a policy I fully support), so I need something I can slip on and off fairly easily (they do provide hospital booties you can put on over your shoes, but that's another trick when your arms are full of baby and baby accessories). I've taken to wearing my moccasin slippers and then changing into boots once I get to the parking lot at work, but I dread the day I forget to bring my change of shoes with me and have to teach in moccasins all day! (Oh, who am I kidding--my students probably wouldn't even notice)

Mostly I am trying to wear simple outfits and throw on a scarf. I love scarves right now for three main reasons:

(1) They make me feel French.
(2) They dress up any outfit.
(3) They hide my boobs and any potential outfit malfunction related to nursing/pumping.

All this to say, I spent some time ironing on Sunday afternoon. It is not my least favorite chore by any means--I love little kid clothes and I sort of enjoy the ironing process (the effects of my labor are so visible and pleasing to the eye!) but it is one more thing that has to happen when I'd really rather be lounging.

And I guess the real issue is that I'd rather be lounging than doing a lot of things. Like pretty much everything, really.

Anyway, here's my current routine: My alarm goes off at 6:15am. I am almost always already half-awake when it goes off, which I find frustrating. Coco has started this thing where she wakes and wants to nurse at 5:44 am, which is obviously the WORST time possible, given that I'm supposed to be up for the day in just half an hour. So occasionally I will hit snooze, which I ALWAYS regret, because then I don't have enough time up and awake by myself before Zuzu is up.

Zuzu wakes up and says to me EVERY SINGLE MORNING: "Where my daddy?"

I say, "Daddy's at work."

And then two out of three mornings, she bursts into a dramatic fake cry and throws herself in a heap on the ground. (She's kind of a daddy's girl lately.)

You can imagine how this gets my day off to a fantastic start.

I generally ignore her for a few minutes while I finish slapping on some make up.

My make up routine these days: primer (because it really does make an enormous difference), BB creme, cheek stain, eyeliner, mascara, done. I wash my hair at night because ain't nobody got time for that. I hate washing my hair at night because that means it never really looks good. I also wash my hair every other day because it's winter and dry and my hairdresser says it's better not to wash it everyday and I love that because I'm lazy and I can always put it in a ponytail.

So once I've finished putting on make up and frowning at my hair, I pick up the pitiful toddler who only wants her daddy and sweet talk her into getting her diaper changed and I let her choose from two outfits I've laid out the night before.

Then I go get Coco, who is usually awake and looking around by this point, and I change her and dress her while Zuzu whines incessantly for breakfast. I end up saying, "We are GOING to have breakfast in JUST A MINUTE. I just need to get your sister dressed," at least seventeen times.

We all go downstairs for breakfast and I make Zuzu either silver dollar pancakes (microwave) with dollops of Greek yogurt on top and a side of fruit or a bagel with cream cheese and a side of fruit. She whines for whatever I'm fixing the entire THIRTY SECONDS it takes to fix it and sometimes screams at me that she wants her bagel COLD, not toasted. She also reminds me that she wants, "CHEESE, PLEASE" as though I might forget and serve her a cold, plain bagel.

Once she has food in front of her, she is generally MUCH more pleasant. Coco sits in the high chair next to Zuzu at the table and they chatter and entertain each other while I fix something for myself to eat (usually a bagel or peanutbutter on an English muffin), sometimes make a cup of decaf coffee or hot tea, and sip on a smoothie that David leaves in the fridge for me each morning.

I also make at least four additional trips upstairs for something that we've forgotten in spite of our organizational efforts--a hair bow, a blanky, my coat, Coco's hat, etc. Zuzu and I talk about school and about who will pick her up that day and about how we don't hit or push our friends and about how she should pee on the potty. She is usually quite agreeable to all of this, but I feel good about reinforcing basic expectations of human interaction.

I usually make a trip out to the car to start it and load it with at least half our stuff before I buckle Coco into her carseat and get Zuzu into her coat and shoes. She can put her shoes on the right feet now all by herself, so even though she always chooses the same pair, I'm celebrating that milestone!

Then we head out to the car together. I often have to coax Cooper back inside with treats, and sometimes Coco is fussy about getting in the carseat, and sometimes Zuzu chooses to wander the backyard instead of follow me to the car, but generally we get loaded up with little fanfare.

Then we head to school, unload everything, and stagger inside. Zuzu is usually more than happy to kiss me good-bye out in the hallway and stroll into her classroom with her bag on her arm, but it always seems that any morning I'm running late or in a rush (and especially if her teacher is occupied and can't drop everything to lavish attention on Zuzu when she walks in the door), she needs me to come in her classroom with her and hang up her coat and get her seated for Second Breakfast that she eats as soon as she gets to school. Weirdly, she does not enjoy being greeted enthusiastically by her friends when she first arrives. If they run up to her at the door, she gets really clingy. She kind of needs to ease her way into the day. (I can relate to this, so maybe she has some introverted tendencies.)

Coco is occasionally asleep in her carseat by the time we get to school, but more often she's awake and smiley. She goes happily to her teachers in the infant room (they call her "Sunshine"), and I chat with them about when she last ate while I load up her diaper bin and put her bottles and a puree in the fridge. Then I smooch her cheeks one last time and say good-bye. I like to peek in the window to Zuzu's classroom before I leave, and she's always sitting up with perfect posture at the table, happily snacking on her second breakfast.

It never fails that I feel a weird twinge of regret and relief as I head out for the day--my job has its stressors, but I enjoy it. Staying home all day is hard and not always fun, and yet it's equally hard to leave the girls, even when they are perfectly content at school.

I listen to NPR or a podcast as I drive the twenty-five minutes to work from daycare (I keep thinking I need to get another audiobook, but podcasts are so entertaining), and I arrive by 9am and then head up to my office for an hour of class prep and responding to e-mail and making photocopies and pumping before I teach back to back classes of World Literature II (Hamlet to the present day). I have an hour for lunch and then I teach British Literature II (eighteenth century to present day). Then I have a couple of office hours for meeting, grading, reading, e-mailing, and more pumping before I head home. I try to get out of there by 4pm each day, but I'm always having to leave stuff undone, which drives me kind of crazy. Being there five days a week makes it much easier to get out of there earlier, but of course I feel really fortunate to have stay-at-home days this semester.

On stay-at-home days, we sleep in a little later (usually until about 7:30) and typically both of the girls end up in my bed. I have one stay-at-home day with just Coco and the other with both girls. On the days it's just Coco, I usually try to run errands in the morning and I can get work done while she's napping in the afternoon. On the days I have both girls, it's a little trickier.

Breakfast is a little more elaborate (by which I mean I fixed oatmeal and eggs this morning). Some days we head to the library in the morning (we'll hit the park when the weather warms up) and sometimes (like today) we don't change out of our pajamas all day long. Between nap times and the girls keeping each other entertained, I managed to prep for class and get a few exams graded today, as well as staying on top of e-mail, so today felt like a pretty productive day. (I've had much worse.) I also do a load of diapers on every stay at home day, and I try to throw in an extra load or two of laundry when those are finished.

So that's our deal these days. It feels like it's been like this forever, even though it's only been a few months. And it feels like there's no end in sight, but obviously summer break will be here eventually. And then we'll get in a new routine. What's that saying, "The days are long but the years are short"? Totally feeling that right about now.


  1. Questions: is a pumpkin an infant carseat? I'm assuming it is?
    Does giving Zuzu the choice between two outfits make her more agreeable to wearing the one outfit? I've started giving G the choice as well and she seems to like it but we still get dressed in stages. It saves time that we don't have to worry about hair bows since we have such little hair quantities.

    We BATTLE to get into the carseats. Piper screams her face off and them promptly nods off, while G desperately wants to sit on the actual car seat between the two carseats but clearly she is not allowed.

    With heading back to work next week, I'm interested to know how this is going to go for us. Scott will be doing most of the drop offs in the morning and I'm doing the pick-ups. G will be at daycare Tues-Friday and Piper Wed-Friday. It's bound to get interesting. I'm not stressed at all… :O

  2. @Laura Jane - yes; I call the car seat that you take out of the car and snap into the base in the car a "pumpkin seat." I'm not sure why? I guess to differentiate it from a regular car seat. Zuzu also pulls the stunt where she wants to sit between the carseats on the regular bench seat of the car. Drives me BONKERS since she's difficult to reach in that spot. She hasn't done it too much lately, mostly because she's obsessed with taking a purse or lunch box to school, so she's really preoccupied with trying to hang on to it (read: waving it my face) as I buckle her in the carseat. I have no advice for getting out the door in the morning, but it will happen!

  3. We are so right there with you on the whining for food while the toddler watches its (30-second) preparation, and then Second Breakfast at "school" (i.e daycare at the Y). Unfortunately for my husband his day sometimes starts at 5:30--5:30!!--because somehow that has become an acceptable wake-up time? But because I am up 3 times per night with the baby--3 times!!--I get to sleep until 7:30 and even 8 some days. The rest of the day is no sort of routine, unless you count "getting to work late and leaving early."

  4. Found you from thirdstory(ies)...I'm a friend of K's from undergrad, and I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog and the way you can pour out your thoughts in this place to the point where I feel like you are also inside my head because I've had similar thoughts on most of the topics you write about, strangely's socking and comforting at the same time. (And that was a massive run-on sentence in the guise of gushing.). So thank you for writing seemingly ordinary posts like this one that make me keep coming back for more. Also, you are funny.

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